In order to be a successful basketball player, one must be disciplined, focused and have intensity, Ken Jackson, BYU-Idaho's financial aid director said at BYU-Idaho’s devotional.

Thirty-four years ago, he played basketball for Ricks College and said he appreciates the lessons he learned about conquering difficult things while playing on the hardwood floor.

“Basketball is only a game, but life is, in many ways, like playing on the hardwood floor,” he said. “The difference is that in life we are not just playing for a trophy or a good win/loss record, we are battling for our spiritual and eternal lives.”

He related our trials and hardships to opponents we have in sports. They try to dominate and destroy us. Everyone has the choice to either fight back or let them win. The adversary wants people to think they are not capable of winning.

Jackson shared one of his favorite scriptures in 1 Corinthians 10: 13 that gives him hope to overcome.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

He asked the students to think about what they want to overcome and conquer.

“Overcoming the odds is never easy and takes effort and hard work. But victory feels a little better when we know that we are in the right and that we’ve put in great effort to make it happen,” he said.

In devotional he shared a video clip by President Thomas S. Monson who said the gospel of Jesus Christ is what will pull us through in difficult times.

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Jackson said reading the scriptures, praying and going to church adds up and has given him power and blessed him every day.

He shared a story about an experience he had in New Mexico with his horse named Red. The two of them were trying to get across a stream and the horse ended up getting stuck in the mud. Jackson had no way of getting help and soon became desperate. He prayed for help and soon felt calm in the situation he was in. As he continued to work on pulling the reigns, Red had the strength to jump out of the mud.

He was grateful that God was aware of him. He then shared a quote by Sister Wendy Nelson who talked about desperation being a motivating factor for change.

“If we know who we are, then everything else falls into place,” he said.

He hoped those who listen to his devotional address will learn they can make it. The Lord wants us to succeed. Students don’t need to be afraid of that chemistry class or that accounting class.

“The Lord wants you and I to succeed in life, and He’ll make it possible,” he said.