Sunday, December 30, 2018

President Ezra Taft Benson on personal growth through goal-setting

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals. A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. Some will be continuing goals. Each week when we partake of the sacrament we commit ourselves to the goals of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ, of always remembering him and keeping his commandments. Of Jesus' preparations for his mission, the scripture states that he 'increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man' (Luke 2:52). This encompasses four main areas for goals: spiritual, mental, physical, and social. 'Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?' asked the Master, and he answered, 'Verily I say unto you, even as I am' (3 Ne. 27:27). Now, there is a lifetime goal—to walk in his steps, to perfect ourselves in every virtue as he has done, to seek his face, and to work to make our calling and election sure....
"Let your minds be filled with the goal of being like the Lord, and you will crowd out depressing thoughts as you anxiously seek to know him and do his will. 'Let this mind be in you,' said Paul. (Philip. 2:5.) 'Look unto me in every thought,' said Jesus. (D&C 6:36.) And what will follow if we do? 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.' (Isa. 26:3.)"
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Do Not Despair," Ensign, Oct. 1986, 5
Click here to read the full article

President Benson suggests an interesting benefit to goal-setting: when we are actively "pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals" in our life, we will overcome despondency, and depressing thoughts will be crowded out of our life:

Many others have noted the Savior's example as described by Luke, growing in categories that are mental, physical, spiritual, and social. Those are all worthy areas of consideration for us as we evaluate our life and try to grow and improve.

Ultimately, our goal is to follow the Lord's example and strive to become like Him in every way. As we actively pursue that goal, we will be blessed in many ways, every step of the way!

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

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