True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives — that is, our time and choices — to God’s purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.
Father in Heaven knew that you would face challenges and be required to make some decisions that would be beyond your own ability to decide correctly. In His plan of happiness, He included a provision for you to receive help with such challenges and decisions during your mortal life. That assistance will come to you through the Holy Ghost as spiritual guidance. It is a power, beyond your own capability, that a loving Heavenly Father wants you to use consistently for your peace and happiness.
"It requires courage to make good choices, even when others around us choose differently. As we make righteous choices day by day in little things, the Lord will strengthen us and help us choose the right during more difficult times."
"The choices we make determine our destiny."
It is our choices... that show who we are, far more than our abilities.
Throughout our lives we will be required to choose between duty, or obligation, and other more-or-less attractive alternatives. Should we watch television or go visiting teaching? Should we spend time with the family or with friends? Do we read the scriptures or a novel? Do we leave our children home or take them with us? Do we go into debt or do without? Each of these choices, when made, excludes others. Otherwise, there could be no real probation. The designer of the plan of salvation made it that way. By allowing us to discover where our hearts are as the result of the free choices we make, he helps us learn who and what we really are.
Laman and Lemuel did not partake of the tree of life, which is the love of God (see 1 Ne. 11:25). The love of God for His children is most profoundly expressed in His gift of Jesus as our Redeemer: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). To partake of the love of God is to partake of Jesus' Atonement and the emancipations and joys which it can bring. Clearly, however, Laman and Lemuel did not have such faith--especially in a Christ yet to come! (see Jarom 1:11).
In contrast, Nephi, "had a great knowledge of the goodness . . . of God," hence Nephi's firm declaration: "I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1 Ne. 1:1; 11:17). If we have a love of God and know His goodness, we will trust Him, even when we are puzzled or perplexed.
Thus Laman and Lemuel did not understand the relationship of mortals with God, and, worse still, they did not really want to understand. They sought to keep their distance from God. Furthermore, being intellectually lazy, they did not count their blessings, when gratitude could have lessened the distance. But it was never inventory time for Laman and Lemuel.
Laman and Lemuel also displayed little lasting spiritual curiosity. Once, true, they asked straightforward questions about the meaning of a vision of the tree, the river, and the rod of iron. Yet their questions were really more like trying to connect doctrinal dots rather than connecting themselves with God and His purposes for them. They certainly did not "liken" the answers to themselves (see 1 Ne. 19:23).
As we make these choices, we might consider that the glitter and excitement of festive, fun-filled projects are interesting, but the shut-ins, the lonely, the handicapped, the homeless, the latchkey kids, and the abandoned aged are important.
Worldly magazines, tabloids, and much of the multi-mass media mess of fast-track information we are receiving is interesting and enticing, but the scriptures are important.
The RVs and the TVs and retirement ease make it interesting to wander and play, but people’s needs for selfless deeds are important. There is concern that “wander and play” have replaced “ponder and pray.”
A focus on fashion and getting and spending and the accumulation of things for our enjoyment and comfort is interesting and enticing, but a focus on devoting one’s means and time and one’s very self to the cause of proclaiming the gospel is important.
The meetings and materials and planning are all interesting, but the doing is important.
With the constant exhortation to come unto Christ is the promise that we can be perfected in him. If we do all that we can do by loving and serving God with all of our might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for us. By his grace, after all that we can do, we may become perfect in Christ. Shall we not then strive for the recognition of that Almighty God who is our Father, through our selfless service?
“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
“Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:34–37).