Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Transforming Power of Faith and Character

A consistent, righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression.

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.

President Hugh B. Brown said: “Wherever in life great spiritual values await man’s appropriation, only faith can appropriate them. Man cannot live without faith, because in life’s adventure the central problem is character-building—which is not a product of logic, but of faith in ideals and sacrificial devotion to them”

Neither Satan nor any other power can destroy or undermine your growing character. Only you could do that through disobedience. A sterling character is converted into worthless ashes when eroded by deceit or transgression.

What are some of the empowering principles upon which faith is based?
-Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
-Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.
-Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.
-Courageous implementation of that prompting.
-Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.

As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.

The bedrock of character is integrity.

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.

Material things do not of themselves produce happiness and satisfaction and the joy of attainment on earth. Nor do they lead us to exaltation. It is nobility of character, that fabric of inner strength and conviction woven from countless righteous decisions, that gives life its direction. A consistent, righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression. Your faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments will strengthen your character. Your character is a measure of what you are becoming. It is the evidence of how well you are using your time on earth in this period of mortal probation.

You cannot be passive in life, or in time the natural man will undermine your efforts to live worthily. You become what you do and what you think about. Lack of character leads one under pressure to satisfy appetite or seek personal gain. You cannot successfully bolster a weak character with the cloak of pretense.

Despite how carefully a transgressor seeks to keep the violation of commandments hidden, in time they nearly always become publicly known. Satan himself sees to that. He and his minions are determined to cause the greatest possible harm to each of Father in Heaven’s children. One serious act of disobedience or violation of trust invariably raises questions of whether or not there are others. The faith and confidence of others in that individual’s character is undermined.

This mortal life is a proving ground. How well you meet its challenges determines how strong your character will be. Your faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings fortifies your character.

Your testimony will be made strong through willing obedience to the law of tithing and by giving fast offerings, and the Lord will bless you richly for it. As your testimony is fortified, Satan will try harder to tempt you. Resist his efforts. You will become stronger and his influence on you weaker.

To summarize:
-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.

May I share four principles which have brought the deepest feelings of peace and happiness into my own life? The Lord has established these cornerstones in His eternal plan, and each one is essential. All work together in harmony and reinforce one another. When they are applied with diligence and consistency, they produce strength of character, increasing ability to convert the challenges of life into stepping-stones of happiness now and forever.

They are:
-Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His program to acquire the power to achieve.
-Repentance to rectify the consequences of mistakes of omission or commission.
-Obedience to the commandments of the Lord to provide strength and direction in our lives.
-Selfless service to enrich the lives of others.

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.

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