Courage to Live Righteously (David O. McKay Lesson 18)

The Savior is the supreme example of courage.

As we look at what the scriptures tell us about the Savior's life, we see a personage of many facets. One side of his behavior is the side that is most often represented in verse, in music, and in paintings—the gentle side of Christ. He could shed tears, he could bless little children, he could be kind to someone who had been rejected by every other person. He rejected the worldly notions of dominion, power, and bosshood. On the other hand, no one who has ever lived has shown more strength, more courage, more perseverance, more willingness to stand up for truth or rebuke wrong, even at tremendous cost, than has the Savior. He spoke up for unpopular causes. He was willing to speak the truth, even when it cost him his life. If his inner inspiration told him something was right, he did it. That confirmation was all he needed. He didn't need an okay from any of his friends. He had the strength to stand alone. He had absolute confidence in himself and in his Father--confidence to lead out in what was right.
It is this side of the Savior's character—the side that grows, helps others to grow, leads, speaks out, and seeks first and foremost the approval of his Father—that too many... ignore. Many... assume, without really thinking about it, that this part of the Savior's example really has nothing to do with them.
(Karen Lynn Davidson, Woman to Woman: Selected Talks from the BYU Women's Conferences)

We must fix our eyes on the Savior to overcome the waves of unbelief. It is my firm belief that if as individual people, as families, communities, and nations, we could, like Peter, fix our eyes on Jesus, we too might walk triumphantly over "the swelling waves of disbelief" and remain "unterrified amid the rising winds of doubt" (see Matthew 14:22-33). But if we turn away our eyes from him in whom we must believe, as it is so easy to do and the world is so much tempted to do, if we look to the power and fury of those terrible and destructive elements around us rather than to him who can help and save us, then we shall inevitably sink in a sea of conflict and sorrow and despair.
At such times when we feel the floods are threatening to drown us and the deep is going to swallow up the tossed vessel of our faith, I pray we may always hear amid the storm and the darkness that sweet utterance of the Savior of the world: "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid" (Matthew 14:27).
(Howard W. Hunter, Teachings of Howard W. Hunter)

Courage springs from faith and hope.

A basic principle of Latter-day Saint doctrine is that in order to go forward, we have to know that God is just. Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith give a basic list of attributes God must have (which we know he does have) in order for us to have faith in him, principles that give us the courage to believe that it will be well with us if we obey his commandments. One of those Godly attributes is justice. We would not have the faith to live righteously or to love better or to repent more readily if we did not think that justice would count for us, if we thought that God would change his mind midstream and tell us there was another set of rules in force. Because we know that God is just and would cease to be God if he were unjust, we have the faith to go forward knowing we will not be the victims of whimsy or caprice or a bad day or a bad joke.
(Jeffrey R. Holland, However Long and Hard the Road)

I hope that we will keep ever burning in our hearts the spirit of this great work which we represent. If we do so, we'll have no anxiety. We'll have no fear. We'll not worry about the future because the Lord has given us the assurance that if we live righteously, if we keep his commandments, if we humble ourselves before him, all will be well. I turn to two passages of scripture today which I'd like to read: "Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9.) This was the Lord's admonition to his son, Joshua, encouraging him to trust in God. Joshua answered that admonition in counsel to his people in these words: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Ibid., 24:15.)
Embodied in these two passages of scripture are the two principal essentials for security and peace. First, trust in God and secondly, a determination to keep the commandments, to serve the Lord, to do that which is right. Latter-day Saints who live according to these two admonitions—trust in God and keep the commandments—have nothing to fear.
(Ezra Taft Benson, So Shall Ye Reap)

Young people must develop courage to maintain spiritual values.

No group of youth in the whole history of the world ever had the advantages that you have... There come into your homes from day to day more of culture and uplift than ever came to us who lived three quarters of a century ago. But there also come into your homes, and by the same route, more of filth, more of moronic alleged entertainment, more influences to break down your morals than we dreamed of, and you must take in this life of yours with all of its opportunities, the burden along with the blessing, and you will be perfectly safe in this duality which is yours if all the time you will remember to pray to the Lord and to live righteously.
(J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Improvement Era, 1946)

Live righteously. You can't teach the youth if you don't live the principles you teach. If you are not genuine, they can see through your facade. They recognize and want the real thing. You can fool some of your leaders, but you cannot fool the young people.
(Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection)

With moral courage, we can overcome life's adversities.

In righteousness there is great simplicity. In every case that confronts us in life there is either a right way or a wrong way to proceed. If we choose the right way, we are sustained in our actions by the principles of righteousness, in the which there is power from the heavens. If we choose the wrong way and act on that choice, there is no such heavenly promise or power...
(William R. Bradford, Ensign, Nov. 1999)

Courage is one of the characteristics of effective shepherds. The need for courage in shepherds is constant. None can succeed without it. Shepherds are required to make decisions daily, often in the face of uncertainty and even of opposition. To make them wisely and righteously requires courage. Sometimes it will be the courage to say no that is needed; at other times, the courage to say yes. To listen to the whisperings of the Spirit and then to follow them in faith, even if the reasons for the Spirit-directed call to action are not yet clear, requires courage of a high order. Many times in the service of every shepherd, human wisdom simply does not suffice, and the courage of the day melts away in the dark night of uncertainty. Then, all one can do is turn to God and lean on Him, drawing from His divine strength.
(Alexander B. Morrison, Feed My Sheep)

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