BYU Devotional: Elder Renlund on constructing spiritual stability

Elder Dale G. Redlund of the First Quorum of the Seventy speaks at the first Fall 2014 Semester Devotional. (Ari Davis)
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the First Quorum of the Seventy speaks at the first Fall 2014 Semester Devotional. (Ari Davis)

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the First Quorum of the Seventy addressed students about constructing spiritual stability at the first Tuesday Devotional of the Fall 2014 Semester on Sept. 16.

Elder Renlund likened the little-known tragic story of the Swedish ship “Vasa to the ability to live a spiritually stable life that will enable one to successfully navigate his or her way home to Heavenly Father.

The Vasa was designed to be a magnificent oak warship, but sank due to poor construction. The King’s orders that it be made taller and longer without increasing the width, caused it to tip from strong winds outside of the harbor. Shipwrights who knew better than to build against physics were too afraid to confront the desires of the king to save the ship.

“Despite Vasa’s magnificent appearance, the ship was not seaworthy … a ship that attempts to defy the laws of physics is simply a boat that won’t float,” Elder Renlund said.

Elder Renlund proceeded to outline four matters that can help build spiritual stability.

“The first is obeying God’s Commandments,” Elder Renlund said. “Just as the Vasa was subject to physical laws – even if it was designed by the king, we are all subject to spiritual laws.”

Elder Renlund explained that obedience preserves freedom, flexibility and ability to reach one’s potential. It will lead to increased spiritual stability and eternal happiness. “It is that simple. Settle it. Decide now to be exactly obedient. As we do so, our spiritual stability will be greatly enhanced,” Elder Renlund said.

Elder Renlund cautioned listeners against detours that look enticing but lead to misery, likening them to a technique used in fishing for crabs. Chicken necks, like alluring worldy traps, attract the crabs who grab hold and don’t let go until it is too late.

“If you were writing a pamphlet, ‘For the Strength of Young Crabs,’ it would be pretty short, wouldn’t it? It would say, ‘Lay off the chicken necks! They’re a trap. Don’t be fooled,'” Elder Renlund said.

The second way to increase spiritual stability is to humbly listen to and heed trusted council and determine to become life-long learners. “If we wish to increase our spiritual stability, we will be willing to learn and we will be sufficiently humble to accept guidance no matter our age and experience,” Elder Renlund said.

Elder Renlund illustrated this point with his personal experiences observing President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Neal A. Maxwell. Both church leaders chose to learn from whomever they came in contact with, humbly welcoming counsel and instruction.

Serving others is the third way to increase spiritual stability. Elder Renlund said that beginning to serve one’s fellowman now will help him or her remain converted, making it easier to focus on eternity and instantly improve spiritual stability.

“We flunk a significant test of mortality if we do not choose to help those in need,” Elder Renlund said. “Serving others allows us to express that fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.”

Elder Renlund said the fourth and most important way to increase spiritual stability is to make Jesus Christ one’s foundation. Elder Renlund said without Christ, one has no power, stability nor direction.

“If we wish to avoid navigating through life in a long, skinny, top-heavy ship, we must make Christ our foundation and seek His counsel,” Elder Renlund said.

Next Tuesday, the Constitution Day Forum will be broadcast from the Marriott Center with Mickey Edwards as guest speaker.

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