Dear Brothers and Sisters as we all press forward to accomplish the Area Vision in our personal lives, striving to become self-reliant, to honor the Sabbath, to preach the Gospel, do our family history and attend the Temple, to visit the sick and afflicted, we soon realize that it can be challenging. King Benjamin in his address to the Saints of his days said “see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.”(1)
- Goal setting: Setting Goals and reaching out to accomplish them is an essential part of our progression in life. When Goals are set we can communicate them with our Heavenly Father, with our family and some peer partners to help us accomplish them. A home teacher or visiting teacher can help us stay on task. A goal to be a goal must be written and reviewed regularly. Choose your goals so that they can help you stretch, but be attainable. You should be able to measure progress and render account to someone you trust.
- Exercise Faith in Christ: Your best partners are your Heavenly Father and the Savior. As you set meaningful and righteous goals, they will help you accomplish them if you involve them, by asking regularly for counsel and help and support for the realization of the desired blessings. I have been amazed at how involved my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ become in Goals that I set that might seem trivial: I desired to run a Triathlon, but all were on Sundays and so I started to train but could never find one to participate in. I kept my Goal and stayed faithful to the Sabbath; eventually one day after three years I was offered a ticket to fly to a Triathlon that was organized on Saturday. It was a miracle to me!!! I realized that Heavenly Father was mindful of many details of my life and had seen both my determination and my faithfulness. He said “I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.”(2) All things are His and he will bless his Saints with all they need and more. Dare to believe, dare to dream, Heavenly Father has usually greater dreams than you have. None of us can comprehend the magnitude of his promises of immortality and eternal lives. It is greater that all the dreams we can collectively have, but it is what He intends to give us as a result of our diligence and faith. I enjoy the saying “If you think you can or you can’t you are right”. With Heavenly Father, all things are possible with patience, perseverance and inspiration.
- Seek to understand the will of God: Enos, after receiving the remission of his sins, wanted to pray for the Lamanites to be converted. After many prayers and attempts to bring them to the fold of God, he received the promise that his records would be preserved and that at a later time the Lamanites would be brought to the knowledge of God. Enos rejoiced in the future blessing understanding the Plan of God and the need for more time for the Lamanites’ conversion. If one can understand the mind and will of God as he sets his goals then “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.”(3) Asking in the name of Christ, then, means to be aligned with the Will of God, not just to end our petition in the name of Christ.
- Your Faith will be tested: The Lord stated the purpose of this life when He said: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. “(4) The blessings always come after the trial of your faith. Perseverance, resilience, positive attitude, and holding on to the promises you received by the Holy Ghost will help you endure the needed test. The test are there to make you grow, to enlarge your abilities, to strengthen you for greater blessings that can only be received after a greater trial of your faith. I believe the Lord uses all aspects of our lives to increase our perseverance: sport, work, relationships, family—all are part of what he can use to test our faithfulness. Hold on to what you know to be right and true. Seek the Lord in the depth of your trials and rejoice with each answer you receive.
- Renew your covenants every week to be renewed in your strength: While I was running the earlier mentioned Triathlon, the heat was unbearable both on bike and even worse while running. Each time I reached out for a cup of water, I would carefully manage to grab it and drink of it, looking forward to the next one. I realized that the Sacrament is very much like this: As I set goals I need to be renewed and refreshed by partaking of the Sacrament and this until I can reach the desired blessings. This might be why the Lord said regarding the blessings that comes from keeping the Sabbath day Holy: “Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards.”(5) Those blessings will come to those that set Goals in the name of Christ and persevere in renewing their covenants.
May the Lord bless us in the establishment of his Kingdom that his will be done on earth as it is in Heaven as we seek to set Goals in the name of Christ and persevere in the renewing of our covenants.
References: (1) Mosiah 4:27, (2) D&C 104:14-15, (3) Enos 1:15, (4) Abraham 3:25, (5) D&C 59:16-17