- We need to tighten our grip on the rod that leads us back to Him. Now is the “day of choosing” for all of us.
He starts by sharing that we need to have a focus of looking forward in our lives and not backwards. The future is bright and we should focus on the future and not the past.
- You are living through a critical period of your life. The choices you make—mission, education, marriage, career, and service in the Church—will shape your eternal destiny. This means you will always be looking ahead—looking to the future.
We are responsible for making opportunities in our lives that will put us on the right path. Making right choices will help us get and stay on the path back to eternal life.
- I want to help you “fly right” in the gathering storms of the last days. You are the pilots. You are responsible to think about the consequences of every choice you make. Ask yourself, “If I make this choice, what is the worst thing that could happen?” Your righteous choices will keep you from getting off course.
Concerning temptation, he says that we will be on the right path if we read the scriptures and follow the living prophets.
- One of the purposes of the scriptures is to show us how righteous people respond to temptation and evil. In short, they avoid it! Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife. Lehi took his family and left Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt to escape Herod’s wicked plot. In every instance, Heavenly Father warned these believers. Similarly, He will help us know whether to fight, flee, or go with the flow of our unfolding circumstances. He will speak to us through prayer, and when we pray, we will have the Holy Ghost, who will guide us. We have the scriptures, the teachings of living prophets, patriarchal blessings, the counsel of inspired parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and, above all, the still, small voice of the Spirit. The Lord will always keep His promise: “I will lead you along.” The only question is, will we let ourselves be led? Will we hear His voice and the voice of His servants?
He encourages us to stay out of debt.
- Many of your generation are facing crushing debt. When I was a young adult, my stake president was an investment banker on Wall Street. He taught me, “You are rich if you can live happily within your means.” How can you do it? Pay your tithing and then save! When you earn more, save more. Don’t compete with others to have expensive toys. Don’t buy what you can’t afford.
He gives advice about dating and marriage.
- None of us marry perfection; we marry potential. The right marriage is not only about what I want; it’s also about what she—who’s going to be my companion—wants and needs me to be.
- If you want to marry a wholesome, attractive, honest, happy, hardworking, spiritual person, be that kind of person. If you are that person and you are not married, be patient. Wait upon the Lord. I testify that the Lord knows your desires and loves you for your faithful devotion to Him.
He encourages us to start to live by faith. We need to exercise our faith in the Savior and that will bring us closer to God.
- Begin exercising your faith in every area of your life. If you don’t, you will suffer what I would call “faith atrophy.” The very strength needed to exercise your faith will be diminished. So exercise your faith every day, and you will “wax stronger and stronger … and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ.”
These bits of advice are things that we have to do personally in our lives. No one can do them for us. We must exercise our faith personally.
- Remember, no one can reach upward on your behalf. Only your faith and prayers will cause you to lift yourself and have the mighty change of heart. Only your resolve to be obedient can change your life. Because of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice for you, the power is in you. You have your agency, you have strong testimonies if you are obedient, and you can follow the Spirit that guides you.
But we are not alone. We have people to support us and help strengthen us along the way. But we should never forget that these choices are ours to make and no one can do it for us.
- In the Church, when important decisions must be made, we often hold council meetings. Family councils serve a similar purpose. You may want to conduct what I’ll call a “personal council.” After praying, spend some time alone. Think about what is ahead. Ask yourself: “What areas of my life do I want to strengthen so that I can strengthen others? Where do I want to be a year from now? two years from now? What choices do I need to make to get there?” Just remember, you are a pilot, and you are in charge. I testify that as you come to yourself, your Heavenly Father will come to you. By the comforting hand of His Holy Spirit, He will help you along.
Elder Hales gives great advice to each of us wherever we are in life. He speaks to the young adults since they have many things to look forward to. But those that are older can be benefited by heeding his advice about debt, temptation, and reaching up to the Savior in faith. It is a great idea to have a personal council with ourselves and determine how we can make the right decisions in our lives that will give us the best chance of having the spirit with us continually.