Monday, March 28, 2016

Henry B. Eyring on help in today's challenges

President Henry B. Eyring (1933- ) served in the Presiding Bishopric from 1985-1992, as a Seventy from 1992-1995, then was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He has served in the First Presidency since 2007.
"As the challenges around us increase, we must commit to do more to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Casual prayer won't be enough. Reading a few verses of the scripture won't be enough. Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks of us won't be enough. Hoping that we will have the Atonement work in our lives and that we will perhaps sometimes feel the influence of the Holy Ghost won't be enough. And one great burst of effort won't be enough. Only a steady, ever-increasing effort will allow the Lord to take us to higher ground....
"More is possible spiritually for you and for me. And more is necessary. Set the bar a little higher for yourself. And then set it a little higher. In spiritual things you have a heavenly power lifting you beyond where you are now....
"You can set the bar higher for yourself to get more power of faith to pray for the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can set it higher for yourself to have the scriptures opened so that you will come to know the Savior's voice. You can set it higher for yourself to be obedient in the things He asks of you. And you can set the bar higher in your expectation for peace in this life and your hope, even your assurance of eternal life in the world to come. You can set your expectations for yourself a little higher and then a little higher, with confidence that a loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son will send you the Holy Ghost and lift you higher and higher, toward Them."
- Henry B. Eyring, "Raise the Bar," Devotional, Brigham Young University-Idaho, January 25, 2005
Click here to read the full talk

I think this is one of President Eyring's more challenging, yet inspiring, messages. He points out that the world is becoming more complicated in ways that require us to make greater efforts to compensate. President Eyring emphasizes the need for us to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost in confronting those growing challenges. But he points out that the efforts we often make to try to obtain and retain that companionship will not be enough as the challenges of our time increase:

President Eyring's list of the half-hearted efforts we sometimes make in our spiritual progress is telling and thought-provoking:

  • Casual prayer
  • Minimal scripture study
  • Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks
  • Hoping that the Atonement is working for us
  • Perhaps sometimes feeling the help of the Holy Ghost
  • Sporadic bursts of effort

The summary in the last sentence says it all: we need a "steady, ever-increasing effort" in order to claim the Lord's help and blessings.

And so President Eyring challenges us to "set the bar a little higher" in our personal lives, challenging ourselves to improve our performance and faithfulness. And then set it higher again. That's what is involved in "steady, ever-increasing effort." Such wonderful counsel.

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