I woke early this morning and wanted to get some weeding done. It was deliciously cool, and I felt renewed in my solitude and desire to clean up an eye sore. When I do yard work in the heat of the day, I hate it and resent it so much! Instead, in the quiet and refreshing air of the early morning, I listened to conference talks and could feel how right is was to be working hard, making order out of chaos and feeling the weight of the words I was listening to.
This morning I heard Elder Scott give a talk from October 2010 General Conference on “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character.” I have never personally heard those two words together. We talk about faith and repentance, faith and hope, faith and charity, but faith and character? I love character. It is what attracts us to people. It is how authentic and true they are, if they do what they say they will do. Webster’s dictionary lists is as “moral excellence and firmness.”
This talk is really The Why. Why go to church? Why be a believer? What is the benefit? There are so many benefits that Elder Scott talks about when he convincingly talks about how faith affects our character. The biggest benefit I could see, after listening, is simple. When we are faithful and keeping God’s commandments, He rewards us by helping us form a stronger character that can endure the storms of life. The more faithful we become, the stronger our character and our fortitude. I have taken of few of my favorite paragraphs to share with you.
“Faith and character are intimately related. Faith in the power of obedience to the commandments of God will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is intended to be used. Your exercise of faith in true principles builds character; fortified character expands your capacity to exercise more faith. As a result, your capacity and confidence to conquer the trials of life is enhanced. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to benefit from exercising the power of faith. You will discover how faith and character interact to strengthen one another. Character is woven patiently from threads of applied principle, doctrine, and obedience.’
“…We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming. Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality.’
“…Your happiness on earth as well as your eternal salvation require many correct decisions, none of which is difficult to make. Together those decisions forge a character resistant to the eroding influences of sin and transgression. Noble character is like a treasured porcelain made of select raw materials, formed with faith, carefully crafted by consistent righteous acts, and fired in the furnace of uplifting experience. It is an object of great beauty and priceless worth. Yet it can be damaged in a moment through transgression, requiring painful, prolonged effort to be rebuilt. When protected by self-control, righteous character will endure for eternity.’
“Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves. While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and the Resurrection. The devil will not triumph. Even now he must operate within the bounds set by the Lord. He cannot take away any blessing that has been earned. He cannot alter character that has been woven from righteous decisions. He has no power to destroy the eternal bonds forged in a holy temple between a husband, wife, and children. He cannot quench true faith. He cannot take away your testimony. Yes, these things can be lost by succumbing to his temptations. But he has no power in and of himself to destroy them.’
God uses your faith to mold your character.
Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming.
Strong character results from consistent correct choices.
The bedrock of character is integrity.
The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith.’
“…If you have determined to live righteously, don’t become discouraged. Life may seem difficult now, but hold on tightly to that iron rod of truth. You are making better progress than you realize. Your struggles are defining character, discipline, and confidence in the promises of your Father in Heaven and the Savior as you consistently obey Their commandments. May the Holy Ghost prompt you to always make decisions that fortify your character and yield much joy and happiness. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
These are three of my favorite lines of his talk:
- “You will discover how faith and character interact to strengthen one another.”
- “Your happiness on earth as well as your eternal salvation require many correct decisions, none of which is difficult to make.”
- “Strong character results from consistent correct choices.”
Consistent, correct choices are like my weeding. I haven’t weeded that section for 4 years. The roots were deep and the weeds were tall. Over and over, Elder Scott stresses consistency and to be righteous “each day.” “Weeding” ourselves each day would take care of small roots before they became big roots. That could be an honest prayer at the end of the night. Elder Bednar said:
“We notice during this particular day that there are occasions where normally we would have a tendency to speak harshly, and we do not; or we might be inclined to anger, but we are not. We discern heavenly help and strength and humbly recognize answers to our prayer. Even in that moment of recognition, we offer a silent prayer of gratitude.’
“At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow. Thus our evening prayer builds upon and is a continuation of our morning prayer. And our evening prayer also is a preparation for meaningful morning prayer.” (“Pray Always”, Ocotber 2008)
I love the idea of my daily internal weeding through prayer.