“We should not have fear even in a dangerous and troubled world. The scriptures assure us that we can have complete joy because of the Savior (see D&C 101:35–38).” —Elder Quentin L. Cook
What can we do to “fear not”?
Opposition is a necessary part of mortality, agency, and our eternal progress, Elder Cook taught. While physical, spiritual, and other challenges unique to our day often “destroy our peace and tranquility,” he promised that we will be blessed and protected when we:
- Seek righteous, worthwhile goals.
- Use the internet and social media for good.
- Rely on and focus on faith, repentance, saving ordinances, and the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.
“I am particularly concerned about how many young adults fail to set righteous goals or have a plan to achieve them,” said Elder Cook. “I am also concerned that many underestimate and devalue their own talents and capabilities. Resolving these two issues will bring much joy into your life.”
You can do hard things, he assured us. “You can meet many of your righteous goals with planning, grit, and determination,” especially if we eliminate the distractions from our worthwhile goals, what his family refers to as the “Saturday morning cartoons of life.”
“My challenge to you tonight is to examine your goals and determine which ones will allow you to fulfill family obligations and keep you on your covenant pathway and allow you to have the joy the Lord wants for you,” he said.
Elder Cook said the internet and social media contribute much good to modern society but can also distract people from accomplishing their true calling in mortal life.
“My earnest plea is that all of us will evaluate how and when we use the internet and social media,” he said.
We should ask ourselves:
Does it assist our other worthy and important goals, or does it seriously impede our progress?
Are we obsessed with social media for fear of missing out if we don’t check it constantly?
Does the self-promotion of some social media cause us to have self-doubt and feel inadequate?
Worse yet, does the internet lead us to images and content that is impure, inappropriate, or contains half-truths that destroy faith?
Do we ever hide our identity and subject others to unkind comments or opinions?
Does social media interfere with the time we would normally spend with religious observance in the home or quality family time?
Is the amount of time spent on the internet with games and trivia preventing us from effectively pursuing serious goals?
“These are decisions I challenge each of us to contemplate, make adjustments, and repent where necessary to bless our lives,” he said.
“We hear a lot about being authentic in social media,” he concluded. “Being sincerely Christlike is an even more important goal than being authentic.”
One of the most vital responsibilities in this life is to make and keep sacred covenants with God, said Elder Cook. “This requires that we examine unworthy desires and separate ourselves from them.
“Some seem to say, ‘Wouldn’t a loving Father in Heaven be satisfied if I am less than I ought to be? Would He really deny me blessings just because I like to drink alcohol and coffee?’
“Unfortunately,” said Elder Cook, “that is the wrong question and displays a lack of understanding of the Father’s plan. The real question is ‘How can I be the righteous, loving person my Father and the Savior would want me to be?’”
In a world where “rewards and trophies are often received for merely participating,” standards and expectations may seem unfair or even cruel, he said.
“Many justify sinful conduct and use as their defense ‘Jesus taught us to love everyone.’ This of course is true, but often those who advocate this position seem inclined to ignore His equally important admonition, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ It is not appropriate for us to negotiate the terms of our relationship with the Godhead.”
Challenges can be difficult, and some can even be unfair, he said. “They cause our hearts to ache and our sympathies to be extended. …
“What is our response? We must be kind and compassionate and treat everyone with respect even when they choose a path that we know is not consistent with the Father’s plan and the Savior’s teachings. But if we really want to be kind, we must also teach repentance.”
Repentance is vital to the Father’s plan, Elder Cook said. “Please know that you can become clean. You can find the joy you desire in this life. No one should leave this devotional and assume you are beyond redemption. You are not. At your core, you are a child of God. You can have hope and joy. You can change your heart and repent. You can forgive and be forgiven.”