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Foster the Desire to Do Good

Can our efforts ever be good enough when we are imperfect at best? Do our desires and our less-than-perfect efforts count for anything?

Road on the curve with a cliff on the right side

Photo by Joshua Sortino

I desire to do good and to improve myself, yet I frequently fall short of my expectations. I feel edified and motivated one day, yet find myself struggling the next. It’s an up-and-down cycle that easily becomes discouraging to me.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gives specific counsel on this cycle in his talk “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You.”  He encourages us to foster our desires to do good: “The great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.” There is merit to desiring and trying; though we may not appear to succeed, the process still changes our hearts. When we turn to Jesus Christ and strive to become better with his help, we are improving.

In Doctrine and Covenants 11:8, the Lord states, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.” The phrase “if you desire” particularly stands out to me. When we try to strengthen others despite our imperfections, the Lord can magnify our efforts such that we can become “the means of doing much good” in the lives of those around us.

If we look beyond our shortcomings, desire to follow the Savior, and focus on him instead of on ourselves, “then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such.”

Read or watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Emma Snow, Mormon Insights contributor

feature image by emma simpson

Find more insights

For more about overcoming personal weakness, read Allie Bowen’s Mormon Insights article “Strong in Spite of My Weakness.”

Read or watch Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s talk “Notwithstanding My Weakness” on feeling confidence despite shortcomings.

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  1. I’m glad you picked up on that phrase: “…if you desire” because I believe that it’s so important to not only believe in Christ’s doctrine, but also have a sincere desire to follow it. When we encounter temptation or trials, we can, at the very least, rely on our desire to do what’s right.

  2. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that asking for Heavenly Father’s help is actually a big step. That means that 1) we have a genuine desire to do good, and 2) we’re actively doing something about it.

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