Read feedback like this (below), and you can get some extra courage to test the Rare Faith principles in even more areas of your life than you might have previously considered. Check out this case study. Crystal writes:
I’ve struggled with the idea of money in this way, that if you choose a profession that makes a lot of money, you get it. If your passion is in a field that doesn’t make money, then you make do. That’s life, that’s how society works.
We live in a very affluent part of town… and so my neighbors, church friends, etc. are all medical or legal professionals. When we built our small home in the most expensive neighborhood (thanks to purchasing family land) I struggled with the idea that because my husband prefers not to work in the medical or legal profession, we were stuck.
So my inner battle began with why the Lord would make it so. Why do we have precious metals, diamonds, and luxury if all we were meant to do was survive and endure. My family growing up did ok, but not great. I felt a huge void and frustration, feeling the ‘piety mentality’ of our religious culture. I didn’t feel like anyone that did well was terrible, in fact, I believed all those I knew that had wealth were great and wonderful people. But somehow there was a disconnect with me, that I wouldn’t be a good person anymore if I had wealth. And then there was the guilt of feeling ungrateful that what my husband brought home wasn’t good enough. I am always grateful. We make double now than when we were in school, but we’d still be considered below poverty level on the national level.
In comes the game changer. We built our home in 2014, and it was a miracle of miracles on how that happened. In so doing, we had deferred loans from friends/family that would come due in 2015 that would be beyond our budget. In August 2015, my Stake President gave a challenge to get out of debt. He said to be out of consumer debt in 2 years and then completely out of debt in 5 years, because we can’t help others when we are in bondage.
We came home and immediately realized my husband’s income would need to double if we were going to make it. So logically, it would be impossible. And then I got REALLY excited! Because if this is a challenge from the Lord, HE would create the miracle and the means to accomplish it.
That same month, my mom called and handed over the family business. It immediately brought a little in that would pay the extra we needed for the family loans. Because of the family business, we were able to pay off $65,000 in 2 years. Completely unfathomable to our circumstances.
Then in April 2017, I found the missing piece to my puzzle. Both my husband and I are ‘number nerds’. Finance has always been easy for me to understand, and I found a platform and company that followed the same core values and interest in helping people. I had flexible hours, and could even work with my kids with me, and it has been an amazing journey. That was my first introduction to mentor-ship and leadership that cared. I felt like I was seeing in color for the first time, and everything in my life improved. My family relationships improved, my desire to be closer to God improved, and I was making money doing what I LOVED. The only hang up was that I was still struggling internally with the ‘piety mentality’.
I felt the abundance mindset take over [some] and that helped a lot … [but] I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I just needed to deal with it; however, I [also] knew [the piety mindset]… would be a major setback. …
Then a new entrepreneur friend talked to me, and she had been using a vision board for years and had success with her different businesses … We talked one day and she mentioned she just learned about a book called the Jackrabbit Factor. She had just started reading it with her daughter and thought it was pretty good. So I looked it up and lo and behold, I can access it immediately through a free download! WOW!
…I read it in two days and sent a huge thank you to my friend. She laughed and said ‘Wow, I’m still only halfway through, now I really want to get through it!’
Soon after I learned about the other books and read them. They filled in the void! They answered all my questions and silenced my fears / doubts / concerns. When 3 different sources explained the idea of the camel going through the eye of the needle and rich man scripture, I knew that the Lord answered my unspoken prayers through your work. I will be forever grateful that you followed through with the process and writing and sacrificing to share what you learned. And it’s a miracle to see how the Lord works through your efforts to bless SO many! Now with 2 years left, we know that we’ll be able to become debt free!!!
My mom came home from her mission to Brazil at the end of June and spent the rest of the summer with me. She is an incredible woman, but has dealt with a lot of hardship. She is my best friend, and when I read your works, I shared them with her. She is trying to reinvent herself (as most do in retirement) and I’ve seen a strength come through that hasn’t been there before. It’s beautiful to behold. The way you explain concepts, it resonates with her and gives her confidence to not give up and to continue to develop and create an impact in her new stage of life.
After learning the principles and laws, it was fun to reflect on past blessings / miracles / experiences and recognize that they followed the principles. For example, I have 4 brothers, no sisters, and I’m in the middle. I always dreamed of having a sister, but always wanted an older one named Catherine. That’s a tall order to give your mom! In 2012, my younger brother married a beautiful woman named Catherine, and she happens to be 5 years old than him, making her 3 years older than me! WOW!
Then we always wanted a play house growing up, but never got one. Then we have a house of our own, 4 young kids that would love one, but because we have goals to get out of debt, it’s not even close to the top of our list. It almost became one of those things that we didn’t think we would ever buy because there would always be something else that we’d spend our money on. Then our sweet old neighbors call me up one day and says ‘I saw the cutest playhouse, so I got one for your kids, it’s coming in a couple weeks’. I since learned her friend actually ordered it online because she doesn’t use a computer and didn’t know what our house looked like. I’m thinking its a plastic one. It shows up as a couple boxes of lumber, we get it put together, and it completely matches our house color, down to the same red door and color of our mailbox. My kids LOVE it and it’s better than anything I would have imagined.
Now I truly believe that we have miracles and blessings, I talk a lot about the Lord knowing the desires of my heart, even the unspoken ones, and fulfilling them. I really appreciate what I’ve learned from your books, podcast, and overall content. We are looking forward to doing your e-course and someday I plan to attend a 3-day course with my husband. I feel so empowered, and I see that in my mother.
I know I’ve written you a novel, but I wanted to thank you for working SO hard those years long ago, as you went through your own struggles and breakthroughs. I love to see how we can still bless others through our trials, it’s incredible. We also enjoyed the event your son hosted, it was wonderful. I feel a sense of urgency to figure out everything the Lord needs me to do, so that I can create the springboard for the intense positive influence our children will have in the world. Leslie, thank you for being you! All the best! – Crystal C.
I’d like to share a powerful example of how this work (of learning to live by Rare Faith) can impact the family. The following is shared with permission, from one of our Mindset Mastery Program participants. Wendy writes:
I would like to share a significant A-ha moment about money and marriage that has been percolating over the past year.
For 3 years I’ve been trying to turn my side-hustle hobby into one full-time, highly lucrative business. I knew I had emotional baggage around money and especially around my husband+money.
Money and Marriage has been a toxic mix for nearly 20 years now. A year ago I started working with a mindset coach for my biz but it extended into my family relationships, etc, because that’s where a lot of my baggage was centered.
Last summer I had an assignment from her to emotionally and mentally “unplug” myself from needing my husband to provide for me. Yes, that might sound obvious to some of you, but it was a deeply ingrained message from when I was a tiny girl. That message had set me up to create a co-dependent relationship with my spouse and left me feeling crippled every time I tried to create financial income for myself.
Instead I would manipulate, hen-peck, and try to “coach” my husband into being the financial fixer/savior for me and our children. It says a lot about his character that he still loves/likes me after all of that ^. *Ugh*
Anyway, shortly after that unplugging assignment I started listening to the Rare Faith podcasts, introduced my husband to them, and we both started to change.
When we joined the Mindset Mastery program I was still wrapped up in the idea that he had to make more money than me, that it was too hard and too stressful for me to be a mom and a financial provider, etc.
When I hit Modules 7, 8, 9 things started to look different. It was like I was waking up from my own life and now I saw myself, my husband, and my children as if I was a completely different person. That old story from that little girl I had been was displaced and I no longer felt those fears that were such a part of me. I finished Phase 1 with flying colors. I even achieved a significant goal because I knew I could.
When I was in Module 14 my husband hit his own terror barrier and instead of trying to “rescue” him (because I felt I had to as he was my financial life-preserver), I heard him out but asked myself: “What is my part that I should be contributing to my goal? He has his own goals. But mine are mine. So what is my part?”
I got a genius idea within 24 hours. Over the subsequent two weeks I continued working through lesson after lesson, fine-tuning my plan, working through my own terror barriers with his and my coach’s help, and saying my goal statement a zillion times.
One of the lessons in Module 17 talks about being grateful for the paper sacks. My husband has worked in the same company for a while now. I had a lot of resentment, pain, and fear around his employment because I saw them as contributing to our financial hardships. I had tried to forgive them, but it wasn’t really working. Through that Module I was able to change my vibration and become neutral about any further income from them. Instead of needing them to save me too, I unplugged myself from them, knowing that all I needed to achieve my worthy goals would come from whatever source was most efficient. I could identify and receive it from wherever God sent it.
Within 2 days of that ^^ shift, I had an experience with my husband that showed me how far my subconscious has shifted. I looked at him and instead of feeling that instinctive, gut-jerking need for him to do more and make more money, I just saw my sweetheart. There was no co-dependency or disappointment. Just affection. I no longer needed him, or his company, to provide for me.
AND within 2 days of that ^^ shift, he received a significant promotion and raise at his job that made whatever income I made in my biz unnecessary to support our family’s current lifestyle. (He can tell more details about his own “rabbit” if he chooses.)
AND (here’s the clincher guys…) I. DIDN’T. NEED. IT.
I was completely indifferent to it. I was EXCITED for him of course! Because that’s really cool for him! But I didn’t need the income to accomplish my goal.
I was already chasing my rabbit.
After thinking on this for a few days, I wonder if God has just been waiting to unleash blessings that he knew I wanted, only because I was trying to make someone else do the work for me. He knew I needed to understand this first before I could receive it without sabotaging it.
This is just really cool and I can’t thank Leslie enough for inspired teaching that helped this little girl, now grown woman, heal very old wounds that were ruining her life and her family’s.
I hope this helps someone else stick with it. Keep going through the lessons, one after another. Line upon line, our minds and hearts ARE changing. – Wendy B., Mindset Mastery Program participant
Thank you for sharing, Wendy. I’ve had similar experiences with Rare Faith (read the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to write), and what you described is a true principle in action. I’m sure there are others who have experienced the same phenomenon, and I hope they’ll share in the comments below.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set goals using the principles, and things seemed to fall apart before they got better. In fact, in my 18+ years of studying the principles, I’ve learned that this phenomenon is completely normal and, in fact, sometimes necessary.
To help explain why, let me borrow an analogy from Price Pritchett’s book, You2 (“You Squared”):
Major undertakings often get messy in the middle.
If you have an internal injury or ailment that requires surgery, then before you can become well, the doctors have to cut you open. Take a snapshot in time of you laying on the table, unconscious, with an incision in your torso, and it would appear that there has been a murder in the room.
Are you well yet? No. Are you worse off than you began? Well, that’s debatable. After all, it appears that things have only gotten worse.
But when it comes to surgery, you know that’s not the case. While you’re laying there, in most cases, the situation is completely under control, and you’re entirely right on track to the goal of wellness.
Changing your life is no different; it is like undergoing major surgery. Take a snapshot at any given moment in time during the process, and it may appear that things have only gotten worse. But the success you seek requires determination and a focus on the end result, with the understanding that if things appear messy in the middle, it’s all just part of the process.
You have not gone backwards; rather, you’re probably right on track.
It’s easy to think positive when things are going well. It’s when things appear bad that you have a golden opportunity to think truth in spite of the appearances. And when you do, you initiate an instantaneous response of unseen help, continued support, alignment of resources, and the orchestration of solutions preparing their way before you.
The challenge is an opportunity that most people overlook, resist, or outright fight. But now you know that it is actually a gift. When you choose to see it with excitement for the hidden benefit it must contain, your world begins to shift very rapidly. Test it. Prove me wrong!
Life has a way of bringing opportunities disguised as challenges. If you refuse to give emotional energy to the setbacks (yes, deal with them, but do it unemotionally), and instead maintain emotional enthusiasm and expectancy for the good hiding in it (no matter how long it takes to find it), then you pass the test, and enjoy the reward.
I guarantee that all who enjoy true success, those people you admire, have endured the same process. You see their success but are seldom aware of the internal struggles they overcame.
The process is predictable and unchanging. Most people start on this path, face challenges, and conclude that this “law of attraction” thing is a hoax. Those who experience the breakthrough they’re looking for, in hindsight, will attest to this process.
So when you face opposition, see it for what it is, and realize that it wouldn’t be there if you weren’t on your way to somewhere fabulous. Say it out loud: “This is GREAT!” and keep going.
Remember: The adversity IS the opportunity. The reward is literally a product of adversity, mental toughness, and tenacity. Mental toughness and tenacity without adversity has no meaning. Without adversity, the formula is incomplete and there can be no success.
So start calling the adversity in your life good instead of bad, and you will begin to find the solutions you need. Resources will open up. Unseen help will come to your aid.
I thank my Father in Heaven for teaching me this – I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand why there really is no need to fear. Everything we need is as His command, and as we choose to believe, choose to have faith in Him, and choose to let go of our love affair with fear, drama, and worry, we discover that there really was never anything to be fearful about. Lack is an illusion.
It’s not a question of whether resources and help is available, it’s a question of whether we’ll muster the courage to put these principles to the test.
I dare you. Try it for a week – and let me know what happens!
For 43 years, Householder children have been determined to get to the presents without waking the parents.
But for the last two generations, Dad has gone to great lengths to prevent it.
What do booby traps have to do with the true meaning of Christmas?
It’s a tradition too well established to throw away, so instead I’ve thought about what spiritual metaphor can be drawn from it. Turns out, I didn’t have to think very long:
Life is like these traps – nobody gets through it without making mistakes.
Nevertheless, we can be grateful that all of God’s blessings can still be ours (the presents are still under the tree waiting) if we keep moving, keep trying, and keep trusting in his grace.
Enjoy the video (above), and have a Merry Christmas!
Now for those who want to go deeper…
I’ve been studying success principles for 25 years and writing about them for 18 years. I’ve been impressed that they can make a person more effective at anything they do, whether it be sports, finances, relationships, health, or spirituality.
The principles are dependable and sure. They bring peace of mind. They increase our capacity for happiness. They turn disaster into good fortune and heartache into healing. They are constant and reliable.
If success principles are this powerful and effective, what, then, is the purpose of religion? (Why, Leslie, do you still hold fast to yours?)
The short answer is because truth fits. Additional truth doesn’t replace the truth I’ve already found. On the contrary, it expands, magnifies, and amplifies everything I learned and believed before.
The reason I hold fast to my religion is because I believe the real power behind healing and true happiness is the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that the reason for being on this earth is to learn, grow, be tried, tested, taught and changed into someone who will be fit for his Kingdom in Heaven. With that as the overarching purpose, our daily struggles make more sense, and the more we learn, the more we discover that pain may be inevitable but suffering is optional.
As we learn and apply scripturally sound success principles (no matter where we learned them), we gain access to his power of healing and gift of peace. His blessings are predicated upon our obedience to the laws that govern his universe. We can learn obedience to law, practice it, and experience the rewards for it, even if we don’t understand exactly what it is or where the rewards come from.
For example, I don’t understand the electrical workings behind the wall of the light switch I flip, but I know that if I flip it, the light will turn on. I don’t know who manufactured the wires and connectors, or who placed them properly behind the sheetrock that make lighting my room possible, but I still use them effectively every day.
It’s the same with success principles. Believers and non-believers alike use them every day, and experience the power. But if you have an understanding of that which remains unseen, it’s easy to give the credit to God, because he is the creator and organizer behind the “wall”.
I hold fast to my religion because I cling to truth no matter where I find it. I add to it as quickly as I’m able to comprehend more. As Brigham Young, one of the early presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also revered as a prophet) explained:
The gospel of Jesus Christ embraces all truth.
“All truth is for the salvation of the children of men—for the benefit and learning—for their furtherance in the principles of divine knowledge; and divine knowledge is any matter of fact—truth; and all truth pertains to divinity.
“Be willing to receive the truth, let it come from whom it may; no difference, not a particle…
“‘Mormonism,’ …embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to ‘Mormonism.’ The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church… All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. ‘Mormonism’ includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel. It is life, eternal life; it is bliss; it is the fulness of all things…
“I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it.
“[The gospel] embraces all morality, all virtue, all light, all intelligence, all greatness, and all goodness. It introduces a system of laws and ordinances.
“Such a plan incorporates every system of true doctrine on the earth, whether it be ecclesiastical, moral, philosophical, or civil; it incorporates all good laws that have been made from the days of Adam until now; it swallows up the laws of nations, for it exceeds them all in knowledge and purity, it circumscribes the doctrines of the day, and takes from the right and the left, and brings all truth together in one system, and leaves the chaff to be scattered hither and thither.
“It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion…
“Our religion measures, weighs, and circumscribes all the wisdom in the world—all that God has ever revealed to man. God has revealed all the truth that is now in the possession of the world, whether it be scientific or religious. The whole world are under obligation to him for what they know and enjoy; they are indebted to him for it all, and I acknowledge him in all things…
“Truth will abide when error passes away. Life will remain when they who have rejected the words of eternal life are swallowed up in death. I like the truth because it is true, because it is lovely and delightful, because it is so glorious in its nature, and so worthy the admiration, faith and consideration of all intelligent beings in heaven or on the earth.
“I delight in this, because truth is calculated to sustain itself; it is based upon eternal facts and will endure, while all else will, sooner or later, perish.
“Every individual that lives according to the laws that the Lord has given to his people, and has received the blessings that he has in store for the faithful, should be able to know the things of God from the things which are not of God, the light from the darkness, that which comes from heaven and that which comes from somewhere else. This is the satisfaction and the consolation that the Latter-day Saints enjoy by living their religion; this is the knowledge which every one who thus lives possesses.
This is why I have held fast to my religion, and also embraced the success principles, which I learned from other sources. They have contributed to my life, helping me solve many of my temporal problems and making this earthly sojourn a little more bearable. Even gloriously enjoyable.
As we look a little farther down the road, there is an even greater purpose for learning and understanding the principles:
“When we can grasp the ideas that Christ is the Master Teacher, the universe is His classroom, and the curriculum is the Atonement, we will never read the scriptures the same way again.
“I believe you can find types of Christ in events, travels, topography, seasons, people, names, and so forth. …Israel’s journey typifies our journey toward eternal life. Israel left Canaan, went to Egypt, and fell into bondage. They were led from bondage by Moses, were purified in the desert, and then returned to their home in Canaan. Likewise, we leave God’s presence, enter a fallen telestial world, are delivered from spiritual bondage by Jesus, pass through a purifying terrestrial millennium, and return to God’s celestial presence.
“Let’s look at Moses as a symbol or type of Christ… Moses was Israel’s physical deliverer. Jesus is our spiritual deliverer. Moses’s first plague to get Israel out of Egypt was turning water into blood. Jesus’s first miracle in His ministry was turning water into wine. Moses’s last plague was the death of the firstborn. Jesus’s last miracle was the resurrection of the Firstborn.
“…Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:1–2 that Israel passing through the Red Sea was a symbol of a baptism by water and a baptism by fire. Israel was saved by water. That is why there had to be a wall of water on each side. …The fire held the Egyptians back. Hence Israel was also saved by fire. It is the same with each of us. We need to be saved through a baptism of water and a baptism of fire…
“When Israel went into the promised land, they went through the Jordan River. Why go through a river? You have to be ‘born again’ (see John 3:1–5). Who led them through the river? It was Joshua. Joshua is the Hebrew name for the Greek word Jesus. It was ‘Jesus’ who caused them to be born again and led them through the Jordan River back home to the land of their fathers. …All things testify of Christ…
“The sun itself is a type of Christ. It comes from the east. Christ will also come from the east. The sun gives light and life to all things. Its heat can also consume all things. …The Light of Christ gives ‘life to all things’ (D&C 88:13). Christ’s glory will also consume the wicked at His Second Coming (see D&C 5:19). People whose lives are filled with darkness will be destroyed by the light. People whose lives are full of light will be saved by that light—’as by fire,’ to use Nephi’s words (1 Nephi 22:17). Doctrine and Covenants 88:25 states that ‘the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom.’ Well, what does the earth do? The earth revolves around the sun (s-u-n). What should we do if we are to abide by the law of a celestial kingdom? Our lives should also revolve around the Son (s-o-n).
“The universe was designed to testify of Christ. Consider hibernation. Every creature—every squirrel, insect, snake, or bear—that hibernates and lies dormant during the winter appears to be dead. Each one that comes alive again in the spring testifies of Christ and His Resurrection. Every tree, every plant, every leaf that becomes green each spring—all testify of Christ. Do you think it was by chance that all of these things come to life after appearing to be dead at the same time of year when Jesus came alive again? I don’t think so. All things testify of Christ.
“Why do you go to bed at night? Because you are tired? No. You symbolically die every night. Why do you get up in the morning? To go to school? No. You symbolically resurrect every morning.” (Todd B. Parker, BYU professor of Ancient Scripture, given on 20 January 2015.)
Food for thought.
And I’m convinced now that even the principles of success are a “type” (symbol) for Christ. As I said before, the principles are dependable and sure. They bring peace of mind. They increase our capacity for happiness. They turn disaster into good fortune and heartache into healing. They are constant and reliable.
Do they make you think of him as I believe they are intended to? Or you they make you think you don’t need him because you’ve got the power within yourself to make anything happen that you need?
Where some may see the principles as a replacement for Christ, I think it is wise to see the principles as a “type” or symbol that helps us learn of Christ, understand him, and experience his power in our life.
Some rejected Christ because they didn’t recognize Moses as a “type” (symbol) of things yet to come. Let’s be careful with success principles. They can take us away from Christ, or they can bring us closer to him.
This is why I hold fast to my religion.
I’ve always tried to keep my studies of the success principles inside the context of eternal, spiritual truths. To always remember that Christ is at the center, remembering that no earthly success could ever compensate for what would be lost by forgetting him. I believe that true happiness, the kind that lasts forever, cannot be achieved in any other way.
How I Apply Success Principles to my Faith Practice
I cannot achieve seemingly impossible goals without faith, and I cannot achieve the ultimate goal of eternal life with God without faith. In practicing faith in the little things, I gain experience and understanding that helps me understand how to apply faith in the Ultimate Thing.
When my children are old enough, I explain that we keep Santa alive so young children can practice believing in something they cannot see. It builds the faith muscle. It teaches them to love something they cannot hold, and to trust something about which they have only scant evidence. In practicing faith in Santa, they gain experience, understanding, and neuro-pathways that helps them understand how to apply faith in Jesus Christ. I also tell them that as long as they keep believing, Santa will keep coming, so if you ask them if they believe, they will always say yes. And some of them are in college now. 😉 We can choose to believe.
Santa is a “type” (symbol) that points us to Christ.
How it’s done
To achieve seemingly impossible goals, we must first imagine how it will feel to experience the success we seek. If we can see it in our mind, and feel it as though it is accomplished, then something in the world around us shifts, and all things combine to help us achieve it. The resources we need are there when we need them. The inspiration we need for overcoming the obstacles becomes easier to detect. The tenacity we need to see it through becomes a more instinctive part of us.
We must test it, and prove it to ourselves. By doing this, we build the faith muscle until faith is replaced with knowledge.
The same goes with the ultimate goal of eternal life with God. I never thought of it before studying success principles, but I am convinced that achieving that Ultimate Goal must also begin with imagining how it will feel. Testing, practicing, and eventually figuring out how to successfully apply the principles caused me to consider that.
So it should make us wonder: What would it be like?
Imagine meeting your Maker and hearing him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
What would that feel like? Can you imagine it?
If you can, and if you let yourself FEEL it, I’m convinced that you shift something in the world around you, and his holy angels gather to help you achieve it. The resources you need to do his will are there when you need them.
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you must remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed…
“‘And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. … I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left … and mine angels (shall be) round about you, to bear you up. … The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.’ (D&C 78:17–18; D&C 84:88; D&C 78:18.)”(For Times of Trouble, Jeffrey R. Holland)
If you allow yourself to imagine and feel that victorious day, the inspiration you need for overcoming the obstacles becomes easier to detect. The tenacity you need to endure faithfully to the end becomes a more instinctive part of you. You begin to love and serve as Christ did. You become the kind of person who would feel comfortable in the presence of God.
Jesus taught us by his example to believe in the impossible. He turned water into wine. He fed the five thousand with just a few loaves and fishes. He healed the sick. And it wasn’t just for show—it wasn’t just to impress us. It was to show us what faith can do.
It was also to show us what man can do:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14:12)
When Peter tried to walk on the water but was overcome by fear and began to sink, Jesus caught him and asked, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28)
We practice faith in our daily challenges, so that one day we may have enough faith to believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in spite of how terribly short we fall in our life’s performance. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
Talk about believing in the impossible.
So if we struggle to believe that faith can help us pay our $200 bill, where will we find the faith to believe that Jesus can save us in the kingdom of heaven after we messed up so often and so badly throughout our life? A price far greater than a measly $200.
“And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom,” (3 Nephi 27:19)
The good news of the gospel is that He provided a way. Truly, if the dream (faith) is big enough, then the facts (even our worst sins) don’t have to count.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
As we practice faith, optimism, hope, and belief, relying on the Lord for our daily bread, and acknowledge God’s hand in all things, we develop that muscle of faith, and our confidence grows in our ability to rely on him also for the saving of our very soul:
“…let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; …The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion…” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46)
THIS is what I hope to remember at Christmastime, and always: that with God, nothing is impossible, even my salvation.
Faith is a muscle that is strengthened with practice, but it can also atrophy when neglected. It must continually be exercised. So thank heavens if you have a daily struggle to make ends meet. You get to have lots of practice exercising faith, and it very well may become your salvation. You can’t get to heaven without a strong faith muscle.
So practice the principles of success—faith, hope, optimism, eager anticipation—and alway believing that something wonderful is about to happen!
If you are comfortable, set goals that stretch you. Keep your heart and desires centered in Christ, and always give thanks for that which you receive—the good and the bad.
And never lose sight of the ultimate goal—returning to your Father in Heaven in a joyful, victorious reunion.
It is because of this potential victory, this incomparabletriumph, that we celebrate Christ’s birth, because without his birth, life and sacrifice, the possibility wouldn’t even exist.
Let’s remember that the reason for the season is Christ, but also that we celebrate it for the hope and possibility of that glorious moment when we return to our heavenly home with honor. For the hope and possibility of the embrace, the joy, the tears, and the exclamations of praise to God that he showed us the way.
So think on it. Imagine it. Honor Christ by longing for it (after what he went through, it’s the least we can do), and then take whatever next step comes to mind for putting your life on to the straight and narrow path toward it.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Bonus: by putting him first, you demonstrate obedience to another law connected to yet another blessing:
“And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:19)
“…and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means [without forcing it] it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46)
So there is much to celebrate. There is much to hope for. And it’s all because Christ was born, lived, ministered, taught, forgave, comforted, healed, loved, atoned, and died for all of us.