Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Elder Gary E. Stevenson on overcoming impediments to spiritual progress

Elder Gary E. Stevenson (b. August 5, 1955) was called as a Seventy in 2008, then as Presiding Bishop in 2012. He was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
"Perhaps you’re aware of things in your life that are threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress. If so, follow this scriptural counsel: 'Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.' (Hebrews 12:1.)
"It is not yet too late to repent. But it soon may be, because no one really knows when your four minutes will be over.
"Now, you may be thinking to yourself, 'I already blew it. My four minutes are already a disaster. I may as well give up.' If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught:
"'To those of you … who may still be hanging back, … I testify of the renewing power of God’s love and the miracle of His grace....
"'...It is never too late so long as the Master... says there is time.... Don’t delay.' (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign, May 2012, 33.)
"Remember, you are not alone. The Savior has promised that He will not leave you comfortless. (See John 14:18.) You also have family, friends, and leaders who are cheering you on."
- Gary E. Stevenson, "Your Four Minutes," General Conference April 2014
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It's good to examine our life now and then, and as Elder Stevenson suggests, try to identify things that might be "threatening to slow or stop your spiritual progress." We should never allow that to happen! When it does, we should take the steps necessary to remove the weight holding us down.

This talk was given shortly after a Winter Olympics game was held, and Elder Stevenson discussed the reality that sometimes years of preparation and training precede a 4-minute effort in competition. He likened our mortal life, in the broad scheme of eternity, to those four minutes; in reality, our chance to perform and prove ourselves is a tiny portion of our eternal life. We should do whatever is necessary to make sure we are taking the best advantage of the opportunity! And one of the most important of those things is the occasional need for repentance, for removing of burdens and correcting the course we are following.

This encouraging reminder should help to give us all hope. We are never alone. There is always help and support available in our efforts to remove burdens and to move forward in the best way possible!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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