“Leo Tolstoy wrote once of a priest who was criticized by one of his congregants for not living as resolutely as he should, the critic concluding that the principles the erring preacher taught must therefore also be erroneous. In response to that criticism, the priest says: “Look at my life now and compare it to my former life. You will see that I am trying to live out the truth I proclaim.” Unable to live up to the high ideals he taught, the priest admits he has failed. But he cries: Attack me, [if you wish,] I do this myself, but [don’t] attack … the path I follow. … If I know the way home [but] am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering from side to side?… Do not gleefully shout, ‘Look at him! … There he is crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat, but give … your help [to anyone trying to walk the road back to God.”
“If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty: To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not. So with all the gifts of the Gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, ‘Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.’ He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them.”
We’re not going to survive in this world, temporally or spiritually, without increased faith in the Lord – and I don’t mean a positive mental attitude – I mean downright solid faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the one thing that gives vitality and power to otherwise rather weak individuals.
“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” [Ether 12:27] There are interesting things about that scripture, one is that the Lord gives us weaknesses – not sin, but weaknesses – so that we may be humble. Think about that for a moment. If we were perfect in every respect, it would be hard to be humble. Even in specific things, humility comes harder to those who are very strong in one area or another. The woman or man who is remarkably beautiful or handsome can easily become proud of her or his appearance. A brilliant scholar may look down in condescension on those less intellectually blessed. Our weaknesses help us to be humble.
“If we are striving to overcome our weaknesses, we are in the straight and narrow path.”
“In the gospel race there are no losers, only quitters.”
“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but that absence of courage.”
“To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in your character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the plan of salvation. You are not cast in stone. You not only can change but you do change all of the time. You are a dynamic, changing, evolving being. You are always changing. You never stay the same. You cannot stand still.”
“The Atonement was designed to do more than restore us to the ‘starting line’—more than just wipe the slate clean. [Its] crowning purpose [is] to endow us with power so that we might overcome each of our weaknesses and acquire the divine traits that would make us like God.”