Life's quizzes: 'Learn, listen and walk'
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Life is full of quizzes and exams and individuals must learn, listen and walk to pass the different tests, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Seventy said during the Brigham Young University-Idaho devotional Nov. 16.
"You are young people with a promising and challenging future ahead," he said. "You have so many dreams, and that is a great thing. Dreams can become reality. You are here to get an education and that is important. It is important for you, it is important for your family, it is important for the community and it is very important for the Church.
Getting an education, Elder Gonzalez said, is an important gospel principle.
"As you strive to get an education here at BYU-Idaho, you are also getting what we may call the ultimate education," he said. "It is the most relevant of all the educations. Whether you realize it or not, you are working to achieve much more than a college degree. You are working to become like Christ. …
"Each of us is in this school called life to show our God that we will be faithful in all things. In this process we go through life taking quizzes and exams. We know some of them are coming because they are like midterms. Most, however, are like pop quizzes. They are given without previous notice. Often we call those quizzes and exams the tests of life. As we pass these different tests, we advance in the curriculum of becoming Christ-like."
Elder Gonzalez gave three specific activities to help individuals in the test of life.
'Learn of Him'
"There are many ways to learn of Him and each of us may have our own way of doing so," he said. "One way is by observing the life of the Savior. … We can learn a lot simply by observing Him and acting accordingly."
Elder Gonzalez gave examples of the Savior's life and how individual's can emulate Him in their own lives. One way individuals can look to the Savior is through caring for the one, Elder Gonzalez said.
"The Lord commanded us to do those things that He did. Are we taking time then, to stop and look around to find that one person who needs our help? Are we looking for the one individual in the campus hall, in the store, in the ward, in your family? If you look around, you will find roommates, family members, friends, and others who are in need of comfort."
It is by looking out for others that individuals are more able to evade self-centeredness by focusing more on the needs of others.
"If you learn from the life and teachings of the Savior, you will realize that service to others is always one solution to any self-centered spree," said Elder Gonzalez. "In that spirit, I encourage you to analyze what you are doing with your spare time. You might find yourself in a chat room or spending many hours in online social networks. Social networks are a good way to keep in contact with friends and family but don't let them be a substitute for face-to-face contact. Don't let social networks or video games consume too much time. You could more wisely use that time in helping someone in need."
'Listen to my words'
"One way we listen to His words is by searching the scriptures," Elder Gonzalez said. "Another way to listen and hear His voice is to hear the voice of His servants. For, it is the same. ... In these latter days we are uniquely blessed to be able to listen to the words of living prophets, live, every six months. ... I like listening to the teachings that are given. When I do that, I specifically enjoy paying attention to the promises that are given. They fill my soul with hope. They are very relevant, no matter what our station in the school of life may be."
As individuals listen to the words of the Lord through His prophets, they are more able to see themselves as a precious daughter or son of God, burdens are made light, and they are able to avoid the rush and feeling of being overwhelmed, Elder Gonzalez said.
"The messages from the living oracles of the Lord will always help us to listen to His words and will contribute to our becoming Christ-like," he said.
'Walk in the meekness of His spirit'
"The operative word here is 'walk.' We are to learn, listen and then walk," Elder Gonzalez said. "When the Savior says 'Walk in the meekness of my spirit,' He is giving us a call to action. It is a call to walk as He walked."
As individuals follow the Savior by learning, listening and walking, they are able to be successful in the curriculum of the school of life and do what their Father in Heaven wants them to do, Elder Gonzalez taught. Because the Savior always does the will of the Father, it is his desire for individuals to do the same.
"The Father will not leave us alone during the quizzes and tests of life if we do what pleases Him. If you take time — even today — to think of the things that please the Father and walk accordingly, I promise you will not be left alone. You will be moving in the right direction in your process to become Christ-like. It is in the doing that you will get to know the Lord in an even more profound way."