Throughout his service in the Church, President Nelson's teachings have brought hope, direction, and a deeper commitment to the Savior. Here are a few uplifting teachings that will inspire you as you prepare for a new year, excerpted from the new book Teachings of Russell M. Nelson.
This is part of an ongoing series where we highlight the teachings of our prophet weekly.
1. Ascending to New Heights, No Matter Where We Currently Are
The River Jordan was the site Jesus chose for His baptism by John to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15; 2 Nephi 31:5–6). Is it significant that this sacred ordinance was performed in virtually the lowest body of fresh water on the planet? Could He have selected a lower place to symbolize the humble depths to which He went and from which He rose? By example, He wanted to teach us that He literally descended beneath all things to rise above all things. Surely this would signify that through our obedience and effort we, too, can come from our deepest depths to ascend to lofty heights of our own destiny. (“Why Palestine?” Missionary Training Center, October 11, 1994)
2. Setting Goals to Become Who God Wants Us to Become
We recognize the daring difference in striving to do what we do—compared to striving to become whom we ought to be.
Thus our goals are great and greater. Great goals I relate to temporal attainments. Greater goals I relate to attributes of personal character. Goals to do can be incremental; goals to be can be monumental. Such attributes of character are worthy of our attention as we strive to be whom we ought to be. (“Goals Great and Greater,” Rebild Festival, Denmark, July 4, 2000)
3. Each Day Brings Opportunity for Decisions for Eternity
The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions for eternity. (“Decisions for Eternity,” Ensign, November 2013)
4. Accessing the Power of the Atonement Each Day
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we are not. Each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ, and our families. For these powers, privileges, and gospel gifts, thanks be to God! (“Thanks Be to God,” Ensign, May 2012)
5. Preparing to Stand in the Savior’s Presence
In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior. You will be overwhelmed to the point of tears to be in His presence. You will struggle to find words to thank Him for paying for your sins, for forgiving you of any unkindness toward others, for healing you from the injuries and injustices of this life.
You will thank Him for strengthening you to do the impossible, for turning your weaknesses into strengths, and for making it possible for you to live with Him and your family forever. His identity, His Atonement, and His attributes will become personal and real to you.
But you don’t have to wait until then. Choose to be one of His true disciples now. Be one who truly loves Him, who truly wants to serve and lead as He did. (“Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, January 8, 2017)
6. Men Are That They Might Have Joy, Not Guilt Trips
If I were to ask which of the Lord’s commandments is most difficult to keep, many of us might cite Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” . . . When comparing one’s personal performance with the supreme standard of the Lord’s expectation, the reality of imperfection can at times be depressing. My heart goes out to conscientious Saints who, because of their shortcomings, allow feelings of depression to rob them of happiness in life.
We all need to remember: men are that they might have joy—not guilt trips! We also need to remember that the Lord gives no commandments that are impossible to obey. But sometimes we fail to comprehend them fully. (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, November 1995)