Changing personal weaknesses into strengths is challenging for all individuals, but it is possible because of Christ’s grace, according to a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Bishop Gérald Caussé, first counselor of the presiding bishopric of the LDS Church, shared his address on overcoming personal challenges at Tuesday’s BYU Devotional. Caussé said the students on BYU campus and the youth of the LDS Church are a marked generation who have responded enthusiastically to the call given by Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church, to hasten the Lord’s work.
“The scriptures are filled with stories of young and modest people who, having great faith and being magnified by the power of God, accomplished exceptional things,” Caussé said. “These great young people had pure and humble hearts. Yet the Lord made them powerful in words and deeds to accomplish His designs.”
Caussé said there is no shame in having a fear of challenges because the Lord promises His power to His children.
“I assure you, the Lord has the power to transform your weaknesses into strengths,” Caussé said. “The promise made by the Lord to the Apostle Paul is valid for each of you: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ And later Paul added, ‘For when I am weak, then am I strong.’”
Bishop Caussé offered four principles to help individuals receive strength when overcoming life’s challenges. First, Caussé suggested to build on strength.
“One of the most comforting teachings of the gospel is that each son and daughter of God — everyone of us — is born with an inheritance of gifts, talents and abilities that can help us through our earthly mission,” Caussé said. “We cannot be happy and successful in life without gratefully acknowledging those gifts and doing all we can to develop them. Our problem is never that we have no strengths; the problem comes when we do not recognize our strengths and build upon them.”
Second, he said each person needs the ability to recognize personal limitations. Caussé said pride is connected to this issue because rather than accepting personal limits, people try to be and do more than they are capable of.
“One reason we may not want to acknowledge our personal limitations is that weakness is perceived by society as a fault or a failure,” Caussé said. “God is not the God of superheroes, nor of people without weaknesses — such beings do not exist! He helps people like you and me, those who recognize their limits and the weakness of their condition and seek His help and guidance. Failing to recognize our limitations will block our progression. On the other hand, accepting them humbly lays the foundation for eternal progression.”
Third, Caussé said relying on the Lord can help overcome challenges.
“If we rely only on our personal abilities, our progress is and always will remain limited,” Caussé said. “However, when we move forward ‘in the strength of the Lord,’ our potential for progress knows no bounds.”
Caussé also said when obstacles seem insurmountable, living by faith and not fear will aid in overcoming trials.
“In this manner (when obstacles seem insurmountable), He pushes us to humble ourselves and to rely solely on His strength,” Caussé said. “He makes us instruments of His miracles and the manifestation of His power and compassion.”
Fourth, he said individually qualifying to receive the grace of the Savior will aid in making weak things strong.
“The power that allows us to raise ourselves above our mortal condition and our human abilities is called the grace of the Savior,” Caussé said. “Each one of us can access it on condition of receiving the ordinances of the gospel.”
Caussé shared a promise during his closing remarks at Devotional. He said having the Spirit of the Lord can aid as individuals make decisions and overcome weakness in their lives.
“As you build upon these strengths, humbly recognize your personal limitations, remain faithful to your covenants, and put your confidence in the Lord, you will see your weaknesses transformed into strengths through the power and grace of His Atonement,” Caussé said. “You will have the ability to meet the challenges you will face in your life.”