Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
From what sources, then, can we borrow strength without building weakness? Only from the sources that build the internal capacity to deal with whatever the situation calls for. For instance, a surgeon borrows strength fro his developed skill and knowledge; a mile runner from his disciplined body, strong legs, powerful lungs; a missionary from his developed capacity to love and teach and testify.
In other words, we ask the question: What is it that the situation demands? What strength, what skill, what knowledge, what attitude? Obviously the possessions, the appearances, or the credentials of the surgeon, the athlete, or the missionary are only symbols of what is needed and are therefore worthless and deceiving without the substance.
But when we borrow strenth from divine sources and eternal principals, the very nature of the borrowing demands our living better, and we thus build strength inside.
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life..." (John 6:27.)
Indeed, it may be our own capacity to give love that makes us most lovable. The greater our own personal substance is and the deeper our own mental, emotional, and spiritual reserves are, the greater will be our capacity to nurture and love others, especially our companion. President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency posed a question that puts our ability to genuinely care about others in perspective: “How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, p. 93).
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