The Transforming Power of Faith and Character
Elder Richard G. Scott
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
I really liked this talk. Elder Scott discusses what faith is, why it is important, and how to build it. The reason this is so important? Elder Scott explains:
“When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual’s life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness.”
We want a life of happiness and joy. Many times, people are too quick to assume that is found through material things or even stations in life. Elder Scott teaches the correct source:
“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.”
What I thought was so fascinating with this talk is how he built everything around this idea of ‘character’. I have always heard it defined in a more secular way; character means you can trust someone to do what they say, whether they are in public or in private. If a person is of good character, they are honest, etc. I hadn’t ever heard this is a spiritual sense though, although after reading it, it makes sense.
Elder Scott explains:
“Faith and character are intimately related. Faith in the power of obedience to the commandments of God will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is intended to be used. Your exercise of faith in true principles builds character; fortified character expands your capacity to exercise more faith. As a result, your capacity and confidence to conquer the trials of life is enhanced. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to benefit from exercising the power of faith. You will discover how faith and character interact to strengthen one another. Character is woven patiently from threads of applied principle, doctrine, and obedience.”
Those that are baptized and those that have taken on additional covenants in the temple have made promises to live their lives in a certain way. Character is built by adhering to these promises that have been voluntarily made, just as if you made a promise to another person. If we take this in a business sense, you build character in the workplace as you complete assignments handed to you. The more you do and the more you stay good to your word, the more your boss trusts you. This may result in promotions, pay raises, a free day off, etc. But, the second at he finds out you’ve been lying about something, all your other work will come crashing down around you.
The relationship with the Lord is no different, with the exception that the blessings of the Lord for out weight anything a boss can give you.
Of course, when mistakes are made and character and integrity are shattered, it can be rebuilt. This occurs through repentance. The process begins again and you are able to build up your character and integrity once again.
The whole of this talk was fascinating. I encourage you to read it yourself and think about where you sit within the principles taught.
In the end, Elder Scott shares 4 principles that brought the deepest peace and happiness to his life:
” * 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.”
He also cautions that as we strive to take this journey, we be careful to not get discouraged. There is an expectation that we strive to be perfect, but we won’t attain it in the life. So, one of the key traits of good character is admitting your sins when appropriate and not hiding them. We will sin through this life, but one thing we can do perfectly is confess the sin to the appropriate party. That shows integrity and builds character. That strengthens faith in Christ. That will weaken the adversary. That will bring us closer to the Savior and strengthen our relationship with him.