Joy is the key to our spiritual survival in the trying times in which we live, as well as in the trying times that lie ahead of us.
Joy comes from exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, worthily receiving and faithfully honoring sacred ordinances and covenants, and striving to become deeply converted to the Savior and His purposes.
Part of the impression I want to leave with you today is that making inspired decisions and setting wise priorities is a matter to be considered at all stages of your life, particularly at the stage you are in now. Your priorities of today will be your joy and fulfillment of tomorrow.
We have all had and will continue to have significant opportunities to choose how we will respond to our situations. Hopefully we will choose to follow the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson: “Let us relish life as we live it [and] find joy in the journey.”
When you’re sitting there wondering if you can stand back up again, remember that sometimes the test is not about overcoming but about whether we will keep trying no matter how hard things seem to be. Never give up. Do all things cheerfully that lie in your power, and then stand still with the assurance that God will help you.
I still can vividly recall the time I realized that I should savor and treasure each day and be thankful for and appreciate life. I somehow realized that each day is a gift from a loving Heavenly Father and that if I did not view each day as such, I would be ungrateful.
God wants you to find and keep joy in this world and in the world to come. You have been specially endowed with a celestial nature that is to grow into a fullness of joy.
The message of the Atonement is a message of joy. Our Savior knows our suffering. He took upon Himself our suffering that we might have joy.
The joy is not in arriving, but in getting better each time a new challenge is thrown your way, each time you learn in a new situation.
Our happiness lies in following the gospel of Jesus Christ—in having faith in Him, believing Him, coming unto Him, and becoming more like Him.
The gospel offers us a feast fit for royalty, and we are immature and growing princes and princesses. But to receive the fullness offered to us—and think of that in the physical sense of being full when you eat—we must partake wholeheartedly, joyfully.
The joys of mission, of the senses, and of contemplation and anticipation help us to find happiness throughout mortality.
If we focus only on commandments, we miss recognizing the blessings and incredible joy that comes from living the gospel.
My message to you today is to “fear not, little flock.” It is to encourage you to rejoice in the great blessings of life. It is to invite you to feel the great thrill of gospel living and our Father in Heaven’s love.
Would I rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints? Not for one moment. Once one has felt the joy of the gospel there is no going back to a frivolous world. Try as we might, travel where we may, there is an emptiness all the laughter the world has to offer cannot fill. That emptiness can be filled only by placing ourselves in tune with eternal truths and living according to the prescribed laws of God.
Not all experiences in life will be easy or fun, but we can find joy regardless of our circumstances. Even when faced with a frustrating or discouraging challenge, we can choose to enjoy it and make the most of what we have been given.