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Finish the Course, Keep the Faith

“Finish the Course, Keep the Faith”

Lawrence E. Corbridge

February 17, 2022

Getting to the End

People say, “Life is a journey; enjoy the journey,” but life is really about getting to the end. It’s about finishing, getting to the destination to receive God’s greatest gifts—the gifts of His Son, His Spirit, and His life—and help others do the same and thereby realize your divine potential.

The course is the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it doesn’t matter how far you go, how faithful you once were, or how many roses you smell along the way if you don’t get to the end. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.”[1] Fighting the good fight is not enough if you don’t finish the course and keep the faith.

To get to the end presupposes knowing what the end is, how to get there, and mustering the will to do it without quitting; without backing off, away, or out; giving up, in, or out; without pulling back or out; stepping aside or back; without retreating, relenting, or surrendering. Life is about getting to the end.

At a BYU devotional, I spoke about how to navigate the sea of disbelief and doubt in a talk entitled “Stand Forever.” My remarks today overlay and amplify that message. The primary assertions of “Stand Forever” are critical pieces to a larger puzzle. My intent today is to piece together the larger puzzle.

The big picture is a big deal. Few things provide greater comfort, confidence, and clarity than looking beyond present cares to see and remember the big picture. With the exception of the Holy Spirit, there may be nothing more helpful to brave life’s perils than seeing and remembering the big picture—the whole map. You may live life in the weeds, but if you don’t see beyond them, you will think life is only weeds. When we stand back, the big picture looks like this:

  • The essential problem in life is separation from God our Father.
    • Without God, chaos, darkness, and death prevail.
  • Jesus Christ bridges the gap if we will believe and follow Him to the end and help others do the same.
    • He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
  • Therefore, cross the bridge and close the gap. Believe and follow Christ to the end and help others do the same.

The Essential Problem in Life is Separation from God Our Father.

Without God, Chaos, Darkness and Death Prevail.

Never are the limitations of our faculties more evident and never are words more inadequate than attempting to comprehend and describe the majesty of God and His endless creations. And His greatest creation is you.

God is not only your Father, He is not only the Creator, but also the source of order, light, life, and every good thing. You come from the security of a heavenly home but now you are away from home, separated from Heavenly Father physically, spiritually, and in character, knowledge, and power. That separation is the essential problem in life. One might say it is the central or biggest problem, but it is essential in the sense that it is necessary to our development.

Our separation from God is simply the reality that, as His children, we have much to learn and do to become like our Heavenly Parents and much of that must transpire away from home. Like children leaving home and family to make their way in life, we have left our heavenly home and family to make our way here.

Separation from God is the hardest part of Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. As a result, there is a hole in every heart. There is a longing, yearning, an emptiness, and sense of something missing like a faint hum we constantly hear but rarely fully recognize because it is always there.

Many try to fill the void with money, titles, social status, possessions, career success, vacations, entertainment, web wandering, social media, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and promiscuity. Much of what we do is touched by a hazy, almost unconscious desire to fill the void. The best we can do on our own is with family, friends, and selfless service, but even still it is not enough. On our own, nothing is enough because the void is separation from God, and only God’s presence can fill it again.

The essential problem in life is separation from God our Father, and without God, chaos, darkness, and death prevail. They are the natural state of things.


Without intervention, all things trend toward disorder and chaos. That trend is broadly defined as “entropy.” Left alone, all things are continually breaking down, trending toward disorder spiritually, as well as physically.

God offsets entropy and creates order out of chaos. God edifies while Satan tears down. God inspires faith and belief. Satan sows doubt and disbelief. God’s house “is a house of order.”[2] Satan’s realm is confusion and chaos. While God is the Creator, Satan is the destroyer.[3]

You may wrongly think much of what you do is unimportant. After all, how much difference does it make in the world and in the grand scheme of things if you pick up your clothes, make your bed, clean your room, brush your teeth, organize a closet, do the laundry, sweep the floor, or pull the weeds in the garden? The answer is it makes a big difference. Each one of those tasks and a thousand others like them are evidence of divine instincts. They are godly acts pushing back against chaos that otherwise quickly prevails around us. Constant prayer, treasuring up continually the words of life,[4] and worthily receiving sacred ordinances[5] push back against the chaos that otherwise quickly prevails within us.

Disobedience to God’s commandments leads to broken homes, broken hearts, broken trust, broken spirits, and broken souls. The absence of God, His Son, and His Spirit leads to chaos. As surely as a truck parked in a field will eventually rust and turn to junk, we also trend toward spiritual decay and disorder without intentional divine intervention.

Only God can offset spiritual decay, disorder, and chaos, and also edify, build up, and organize man in His image spiritually as He did physically. Only He can bless us. Without God, Chaos prevails. The essential problem in life is separation from God our Father.


The natural state of the universe is also darkness. Except for the tree of life, Lehi’s dream is a dark dream. Darkness is a dominant feature.[6] Even for those who found the path and the rod of iron there arose a great mist of darkness to obscure their way to the tree of life.[7]

“Light proceedeth forth from the presence of God.”[8] Without God, there is no light, and darkness prevails spiritually and physically. Deception and disobedience to the word of God end in darkness. Following a scuffle with his wife, a man said he was horrified by the darkness that followed. He said, “I was alone and afraid. . . . I despaired. I was very depressed . . . and felt totally overcome with dark feelings and thoughts. The room I was in felt enveloped in darkness. I felt lost.”

Worse yet, when we “cover our sins” we are left unto ourselves,[9] which is darker than sin alone. It is a place we should never want to be.

Ignorance and unbelief are darkness,[10] but disbelief, the rejection of truth once revealed, is the blackhole of darkness. Unbelief is a vacuum, but disbelief is a choice; it is rejection, and of the two, disbelief is far, far more devastating,[11] even more than a life of wild abandon.

The natural state is darkness. On our own, we don’t see far ahead, we don’t know where to go or what to do. On our own we are easily deceived, easily lose our way, and become lost in the dark. Without God, darkness prevails. The essential problem in life is separation from God our Father.


Life begins with God, and without God, death prevails. Whether we believe it or not, whether we acknowledge Him or not, we live and breathe by the grace of God with each beat of our heart.[12]

The worst of all human conditions in this life is also the most common; it is to die. It is to be separated from our body, and worse yet, separated from the presence of God. And in this life, His presence is His Spirit or power.

A man who renounced his membership in the Church later said: “When the Spirit of the Lord leaves your soul it’s the most empty, sad, and depressing feeling a person can ever go through.” Another who lost his membership in the Church added, “I felt the immediate withdrawal of what little I had left of the Spirit. I will never forget the void.”

We are punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression,[13] and “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”[14] We all make mistakes. We all fall short, and “the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”[15] And there we are.

Alone, we are cut off from the presence of God, and our only and inevitable conclusion is ever increasing chaos, darkness, and irredeemable death. That universal condition is what King Benjamin called our “awful situation.”[16] It is awful because to be cut off from the presence and power of God is both the worst and most common of all human conditions, and there is no way out on our own.

Jesus Christ Bridges the Gap if We Will Believe and Follow Him to the End.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

And then Jesus came, and when He came everything changed forevermore. Jesus Christ bridges the gap if we will believe and follow Him to the end. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


Imagine a world with no purpose—a world created by nothing, for nothing, and out of nothing. Imagine a world in which there is no standard to measure human conduct and no lofty ideal to which the human soul, heart, and mind may aspire. Imagine a world without law except for survival of the fittest. Imagine a world without conscience, a world in which right and wrong do not exist. Imagine a world without truth, a world in which there is no precept, principle, teaching, no knowledge, nary even a thought, and certainly no power to elevate mankind above selfish, animalistic behavior; a world in which no one is ever better when he leaves it than when he came into it.

Imagine a world in which the teeming masses are individually and collectively, utterly alone, scratching, clawing, and crawling over one another in a desperate struggle to survive; a world in which only the fittest do survive. Imagine a world without love, kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, or caring, no compassion, empathy, or sympathy; a world governed only by selfish indulgence, a world in which everyone is alone, no one is valued, and no one is ever safe. Imagine a world of relentless, overwhelming, wild fear that ravages everyone everywhere, especially the weak and vulnerable.

Imagine a world in which life flickers only briefly until the cold breath of death mercifully blows it out, never to flame again; a world in which death is always the ultimate and absolute end, and always better than living. Imagine a world without hope for a brighter and better tomorrow—no expectation or even a thought of anything better because there isn’t. There is only despair. Imagine a world in which no one is ever free, everyone a slave; there is no freedom because there is no knowledge of anything other than the desperate struggle to survive. Imagine a world without joy, only unrelenting, all-pervasive misery.

Imagine a world without beauty, a barren and desolate world without nature—no birds, animals, insects, or fish; a world without vegetation—no tree, no shrub, not a flower, or a single blade of grass; a world without rivers, lakes, and streams. Imagine a world without light—only darkness. Imagine that world and you imagine a world without Christ.

He is the reason for living. He is the standard by which all mankind will be judged and the ideal to which every human heart and mind should aspire. He is the Way. He is the Law. He is the Word. His Spirit is given to everyone to know good from evil. He is the Truth, and He will make us free. He is perfect love who casts out all fear. He is hope. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He came that we might live and have life more abundantly. He died that we might live and have life eternally. His words are life. His Spirit is life. He is life. He is the Creator. All things bear record of Him. He is the Light that shineth in the darkness. He is the Lord and the Redeemer. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end and every good thing in between. He is the Christ.[17] And He alone bridges the gap of our separation from God our Father.

He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[18] He is the Way, offsetting chaos; He is the Truth, offsetting darkness; and He is the Life, offsetting death.

Jesus Christ is the Way (Destination/Purpose).

Jesus Christ is the Way. Nothing is more important in all eternity than the Atonement of Jesus Christ, except for possibly obedience in the first place. Christ as the Redeemer reconciles the past, but as the Way, He reveals what to do here and now. Few things are more important to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing than purpose and direction.[19] They change the natural state of things creating order out of chaos. It is much easier to randomly sail the seas wherever the wind blows than to set and keep a course, but no one drifts into heaven. The currents of life don’t flow and the winds don’t blow in that direction.

Purpose is the destination, the “why,” and if you don’t understand the why, all the “whats” make little difference. Jesus Christ is the why. He is purpose and direction.

A man talking about overcoming addictions after a failed marriage and years of trying said: “Progress was slow at first as I did not fully understand what was required of me to fully repent. I was merely trying to avoid sin [the what] rather than fighting to change my heart and become a new creature in Christ [the why].”

The astounding accomplishment of putting man on the moon was not the result of manning a spaceship, lighting the fuse, and randomly launching it into space hoping perchance to transport its crew to some celestial body somewhere, safely land, and then bring them home again. Rather, the destination was clear; there was never a question, it was always the moon. The destination was fixed, it was always the moon, and the course was plotted to go there.

Our potential reaches beyond the moon, and while, thankfully, our life course is not nearly as complicated as a lunar landing, it still requires the same process: fix the destination, identify current location, and chart the course between the two. Great achievement is the result of having a clear destination (point B), getting a fix on where you are (point A), plotting the line in between, and staying on course.

While mountain biking, I have learned by sad experience you go where you look. If there is a big rock in the trail or a cliff over which you desperately hope to not sail, the likelihood of hitting the rock or launching into space is greater if you focus on the obstacle. It is counterintuitive; our instincts are to lock on the threat, but the more fixed you become on the obstacle or danger, the greater the likelihood of disaster. Focus is a big deal. Look where you want to go—not where you think you will fall. Look up beyond the obstacles to better things, bigger things. Expect more, much more than merely avoiding and solving problems. Expect to arrive at the destination.

It is one thing to focus on addiction, the obstacle or problem, but it is quite another to focus on pleasing God who alone can resolve it. Those are two different things. The first approach is foolish because it ignores God. Life’s problems are not overcome by hammering them into the ground. You can pummel a monster with your biggest stick until you think it dead, only for it to rise up and eat you alive when you turn your back to walk away. You can’t do it alone. The second approach taps into power beyond your own. You go where you look, so where are you looking? What is your purpose? What is (point B) the destination?

Life purpose is different from meaning or meaningfulness. Improving your golf game can give your life meaning, but that is different or should be different from purpose. The best question is not what purpose you choose, rather if life has a purpose independent of whatever you may individually ascribe to it. And if so, what is it, and do you align with it?

The Saddest Story Ever Told

There once was a good and very wise father who had many children. He loved his children more than anyone has ever loved children. Everything he did was for them. Because of his great love and wisdom, he gave them many marvelous and unique gifts masterfully prepared for their growth and development. All the father’s gifts were truly extraordinary, but three were the greatest.

Although the gifts were many, they all had one thing in common: they were designed to invariably endow his children with joy and power. But here the story takes an awful turn. What should have been the greatest story ever told became the most tragic because most of the children would not accept or appreciate their father’s marvelous gifts.

They were dazzled by tinsel and glitz rather than the priceless gifts from their amazing father. By rejecting his gifts, the children rejected him. The father was profoundly hurt, more than we can imagine, and his foolish children were miserable. And that may or may not be the end of the story.

Your Eternal Father loves you more than anyone has ever loved another. All He does is for you and His children. He offers you and all His children everywhere supernal gifts, but most of His children neither receive nor rejoice in His marvelous gifts, and as a result they languish and heaven weeps with them.

Can you imagine the sadness and disappointment of our Father if we do not accept His magnificent gifts, when His children ignore Him after all He has done? Enoch saw that not only Heavenly Father but the whole of the heavens weep when we refuse, ignore, or neglect His gifts.[20]

In light of the great gifts our Father offers and the immeasurably high price paid to make them available, some of the saddest words in all of scripture are these: “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.”[21]

Our purpose is to receive God’s greatest gifts (the gifts of His Son, His Spirit, and His life) and help others do the same and in that process become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s it. That’s the destination.

The Lord summed it up more succinctly. He simply posed what is sometimes viewed as a troubling question. He said, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” Then answering His own question, He said, “Even as I am.”[22] Equally troubling, Christ also said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”[23]

But to “become perfect,” to “become like Christ,” are words that stick in the throat, and we may cringe a bit when we hear them. For all their grandeur they also seem grandiose, especially if we clearly see where we are and how far we have yet to go. Nothing said by the Lord has created more angst than those statements. They are deemed by many to be socially insensitive, if not inexcusable, harmful to emotional health.

Who are we anyway to think, much less say such things? One answer might be, “Children of God; children of the Almighty, Eternal God.” And those words (“even as I am” and “I would that ye should be perfect”) aren’t our words anyway, they are His. Should we shun the words of God because they are not smooth and easy to swallow?

If you get discouraged, you’re not alone—not hardly. When the presence of God withdrew from Moses, when he was again separated from God, he said: “Now, for this cause I know man is nothing.”[24] When Job saw the Lord he cried out, “I abhor myself.”[25] When Isaiah saw the Lord he said, “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips.”[26] Nephi said, “O wretched man that I am.”[27] Ammon said, “I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things.”[28] King Benjamin said, “Remember . . . the greatness of God, and your own nothingness,”[29] meaning our utter dependence on God.

It is rather the foolish mantra of the self-esteem craze of the past forty years—“You’re okay just the way you are”—that is harmful more than the brightness of your potential. So, if you feel low when you see how far you have to go, don’t come crying to me; I have felt the same. Anyone earnest and honest about his or her discipleship feels the same. It is part of the process. Don’t be blinded by the brightness of your potential, rather, let it be the beacon that beckons you onward.

We might say, “Focus on repentance and not perfection,” but you can’t have one without the other. Repentance has no meaning without perfection. There must be a standard to measure human conduct, see the short-fall, and then work to close the gap, which is repentance. Without a standard, repentance is mushy human relativism; it is comfortable but aimless human development and without a standard it leads to chaos. Without God, chaos prevails.

If the standard be not Christ, then who in the world? Who? If the standard be not perfection, then what in the world? What? Christ is the standard against which we should measure ourselves but not break ourselves. And He is perfection. The fact that we do and will fall short does not mean the bar should be lowered to close the gap. There is a different plan for closing the gap.

The fact that we do and will fall short should place in perfect focus our desperate need for Jesus Christ, our need for the help and intervention only He, and He alone, can provide. The beginning of the process of becoming converted unto the Lord[30] is the recognition of our absolute need for Him.

In the same sermon as “I would that ye should be perfect,” Jesus also said, “Blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost,”[31] and “The light of the body is the eye: if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be filled with light.”[32]

I can’t live without making mistakes. I prove that every day. But I can and you can hunger and thirst after righteousness and be filled with the Holy Ghost in our weakness and imperfection. We will not live perfectly, but we can have an eye single to the glory of God, a singular focus, and be filled with light even in our weakness and imperfection.

Jesus Christ is the Truth (Course).

Jesus Christ is also the Truth. Of all Christ might have said to Pilate in summation of His life, He simply said, “I came into the world that I should bear witness unto the truth.”[33] And Pilate replied, “What is truth?”[34] as Truth stood before him, staring him in the face. “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man … that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.”[35]

The Lord also said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,”[36] and “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light growth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you.”[37]

Truth and light chase darkness away revealing where you are, where to go, and how to get there. We know the destination, but where are you now and what is the course?

It is easy to get a fix on where you are because there are only two places in the world: the course of the gospel of Jesus Christ and everywhere else. You are either on course or you’re not. The question is not so much where on the course you are, rather are you on the course? That’s the question.

Speaking of us, Nephi said, “They shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.”[38] The course is how to come unto Him and be saved. What is the course?

The Lord has repeatedly defined the course, detailing the primary points along the way. First, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, ordinances beginning with baptism for the remission of sins, receive the Holy Ghost, endure to the end building up the kingdom of God (as an active, contributing member of the Church of Jesus Christ), and help others do the same—that’s the course that leads to God’s Son, His Spirit, and His life.[39] It is the course of order out of chaos, light over darkness, and life over death. It is the course to fulfill your divine potential and become more like the Lord.

You’re either on it or not. If not, wherever you have been, whatever you have done, get on it and stay on it. Don’t quit and you will make it. The knowledge that the course you are pursuing is according to God’s will is far more important and fruitful than worrying about how well you measure up at any point along the way.[40] Stay the course, be honest, don’t cover sin, and that’s enough—you will make it. In the end, that’s all that really matters.

Jesus Christ is the Life (Conclusion).

The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the Way (destination), He is not only the Truth (how to get there), He is also the Life, the end result when you do. Speaking of Christ and spiritual life, John said, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”[41]Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”[42]

The worst of all human conditions is death: physical death (separation of spirit from body) and especially spiritual death (separation from God). Jesus Christ bridges that awful gap. He is the Resurrection (victory over physical death) for all mankind and He is the life (victory over spiritual death) for all who will follow Him.

Christ offered to redeem everyone by suffering alone for our sins that we might return to God’s presence again. If He succeeded, if He did not turn away and quit, if He did not break, if He was not crushed by the weight of the entire sinful world, and if He would take up His body again, He would vanquish death and open the door for us to live forevermore and be born again.

What did we know when He entered a garden called Gethsemane? Did we understand then no one else could do it? There was no ram in the thicket, not this time; no one else, no understudy, no plan B—only Him.

Never was there a night so dark, never was there rage so fearful as that night when all the dark forces of evil were summoned from the uttermost parts of the universe and marshalled to relentlessly converge at once on only one—just one who stood alone between death and life, between the wrath of justice and all mankind.[43] He was then, and ever will be, our only defense.

We can’t comprehend suffering so great as to cause blood to ooze from every pore. We can’t fathom the depths of His despair as He cried out three times for the bitter cup to pass Him by, three times yielding God’s will be done, three times denied.[44]

What did we know then? We might imagine all the saints and angels, all of God’s children not on earth, all of us in heaven holding our breath during those darkest of all dark hours. Was heaven silent then? The whole of the plan of salvation for everyone, all of our hopes and the best of our dreams, hung in the balance. The weight of the world on Him alone as we watched.

Imagine the anxiety, the apprehension we shared. Did we suffer and weep for Him as He suffered and wept for us? How could we not, if we knew? Did we cry out as well with Him for the bitter cup to pass Him by or did we pray all the more He would endure knowing the awful consequences if He didn’t?

Imagine the joy and rejoicing in heaven when His victory was complete and He finally said, “It is finished.”[45] Did we weep then rivers of grateful tears as the heavens roared and the earth shook? Were our tears the rain that fell then? Did we hear the words never before uttered by angels or men, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, [He] is risen”?[46] Imagine the well of unspeakable love and admiration we felt for Him, a well of healing waters that still flows deep within our souls today.

Speaking of His sheep, those who enter His fold, Christ said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it [life] more abundantly,”[47] not the abundant life, but more of life, God’s Spirit more abundantly.

There is a hole in every heart and try as we might, nothing is enough to fill it, because the void is separation from God, and only God’s presence can fill it again and in this life God’s presence is His Spirit.

In the grand scheme of things, eternal life is the greatest of the gifts of God, but in this life, His greatest gift is the gift of the Holy Ghost made possible by the gift of God’s Son. Nothing is as all-encompassing, all-inclusive as the gift of the Holy Ghost.[48] The Comforter is the truth of all things, quickens all things, makes alive all things, knows all things, reveals all things, bears record of all things, and has all power.

As evidence of its primary importance, Christ began and concluded His mortal ministry teaching about the gift of the Holy Ghost[49] and when He appeared on the American continent, He followed the same pattern.[50]

To be endowed with heavenly power is the primary purpose of ordinances[51] and the primary aim of obedience to God’s commandments.[52] Only God can bless us, not always in the way we want, but always with the power to persevere.

President Nelson said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”[53]

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Men ought—above all things in this world—to seek for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing as important as having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no price too high, no labor too onerous, no struggle too severe, no sacrifice too great, if out of it all, we receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost.”[54]

It is difficult to envision oneself like Christ or look forward through the broad expanse of time to eternal life. The Holy Ghost, however, makes life’s purpose immediate, simpler, and within reach. To fully realize your divine potential and receive eternal life is the ultimate consequence of simply receiving the truth and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit from day to day.[55]

The best choices, therefore, are those that invite the Spirit of God. We qualify initially for that Spirit by faith in Christ, repentance, and baptism,[56] but we retain a remission of sins and the companionship of the Holy Ghost as an active, contributing member of the Church striving to build up the kingdom of God until we die.[57] If you want to get close to God, if you want to be endowed with His power, engage in His work. Seek and keep the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Everything depends on that.

To scattered Israel the Lord said: Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. . . . I have set before you life and death blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”[58] Choose life. Choose Christ.

Cross the Bridge and Close the Gap

Believe and Follow Christ to the End and Help Others Do the Same.

The essential problem in life is separation from God our Father who alone can bless us. His supreme blessings are His Son, His Spirit, and His life. Without Him, chaos, darkness, and death prevail.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; He alone bridges the gap if we will believe and follow Him to the end and help others do the same. God will bless us, especially with His Spirit and His life if we receive the gift of His Son.

Therefore, cross the bridge and close the gap. Believe and follow Christ to the end and help others do the same.

To Follow Christ to the End is a Matter of Will.

There is a notion that during the Millennium people will have an advantage because the truth will be more widely known. The same notion is held for conditions on the other side of the veil, but I don’t think it isn’t necessarily true.

Why will not all join the Church and faithfully live the gospel during the Millennium? And what about on the other side of the veil? Doesn’t everyone get on course there? Why did a third of the hosts of heaven reject Heavenly Father’s plan in favor of Satan’s? Why do people fall away today? Why do we transgress God’s commandments knowing better?

In the end, it’s a matter of will. Jesus said to those who wished Him dead: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”[59] In the end that’s the problem—will.

They thought eternal life was theirs because of their knowledge of scriptural law, but the scriptures testify of Christ and yet they would not come unto Him, not because they could not, but because they would not. In the end, it is a matter of will.[60]

Great achievement is the result of having a destination (Point B) and getting a fix on where you are (Point A), plotting the line in between, and staying on course. But all the plans and plotting amount to nothing unless you finish the course and keep the faith, and that’s a matter of will.

Even God cannot save us from ourselves, against our will, for it is given to us to choose.[61] We must not only know and believe the truth but marshal the will to live it.

What are you willing to do, willing to sacrifice, willing to give, willing to suffer, willing to bear? What price are you willing to pay? The choice is yours.

The Big Picture

Puzzles always pose a challenge; that’s why we call them “puzzles.” But imagine a pile of puzzle pieces with no picture. You don’t know if you have all the pieces or what it’s supposed to look like when completed, if it ever is.

The big picture is a big deal—the whole map. Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Look beyond the worries of the day. See where you should go and deliberately move in that direction. Focus on better things than only problems. Lift your sights and want more, much more than merely freedom from problems.

Look to the destination, reunion with God, receiving the gift of God’s Son, His Spirit, and His life, and help others do the same and in that process realize your divine potential.

The course is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stay on course, keep on going, don’t quit, and that’s enough—you will make it. Finish the course and keep the faith. It’s that simple. And that’s my testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] 2 Timothy 4:7–8.
[2] Doctrine and Covenants 132:8.
[3] See “Destroyer,” Guide to the Scriptures; Exodus 12:23; Doctrine and Covenants 61:19; 101:51–54.
[4] Doctrine and Covenants 84:85.
[5] Doctrine and Covenants 84:20–21.
[6] 1 Nephi 8:7–8.
[7] 1 Nephi 8:23.
[8] Doctrine and Covenants 88:12–13.
[9] Doctrine and Covenants 121:37–38.
[10] See Moses 7:26; Alma 12:10–11.
[11] See Matthew 12:32; Ether 4:8; Alma 39:6; 2 Nephi 31:14; 2 Nephi 33:2; Alma 24:30; Jacob 6:6; 1 Nephi 14:7; Jacob 6:5–9.
[12] See Moses 3:7,9; Acts 17:24–25,28; Mosiah 2:21.
[13] Articles of Faith 1:2.
[14] Isaiah 53:6.
[15] Doctrine and Covenants 1:31; See also Alma 45:16
[16] Mosiah 2:40.
[17] See Lawrence E. Corbridge, “Imagine,” December 2, 2016.
[18] John 14:6.
[19] See Peter Jaret, “The Health Benefits of Life Purpose,” Health Central, Berkley University of California.
[20] See Moses 7:28–37.
[21] Doctrine and Covenants 88:33.
[22] 3 Nephi 27:27.
[23] 3 Nephi 12:38.
[24] Moses 1:10.
[25] Job 42:5–6.
[26] Isaiah 6:5.
[27] 2 Nephi 4:17.
[28] Alma 26:12.
[29] Mosiah 4:11­–12.
[30] See Alma 23:6.
[31] 3 Nephi 12:6.
[32] 3 Nephi 13:22–24; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:67.
[33] John 18:37.
[34] John 18:38.
[35] Doctrine and Covenants 84:45–46, emphasis added.
[36] John 8:12; see also John 1:4–5,9.
[37] Doctrine and Covenants 50:24–25, emphasis added.
[38] 1 Nephi 15:14, emphasis added.
[39] See 2 Nephi 31:5, 9–12, 15–16, 20–21; 3 Nephi 11:31–41; 3 Nephi 27:8–10,16–21; Doctrine and Covenants 19:31–32; Doctrine and Covenants 33:11–13; Doctrine and Covenants 39:5–6; Doctrine and Covenants 68:25.
[40]  See Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, Lecture 3:2–5.
[41] John 1:4, emphasis added.
[42] John 11:25.
[43] See Mosiah 15:9.
[44] See Matthew 26:37–44.
[45] John 19:30.
[46] Luke 24:5–6.
[47] John 10:10, emphasis added.
[48] See 1 Corinthians 2:9–10; 1 Nephi 22:2; Alma 7:13; 2 Nephi 32:5; Moroni 10:5; Doctrine and Covenants 18:18; Doctrine and Covenants 35:19; Doctrine and Covenants 39:6; Doctrine and Covenants 46:11; Doctrine and Covenants 76:53; Doctrine and Covenants 100:7–8; Doctrine and Covenants 124:97; Moses 8:24; Moses 6:61.
[49] See John 3:5–7; 14:16–17,25–27; 15:26; 16:7,13.
[50] See 3 Nephi 11:21–22, 32–33,35; 18:37; 19:9, 20–21; 27:20; 28:11.
[51] Doctrine and Covenants 84:20–21.
[52] 2 Nephi 1:20; see also 1 Nephi 2:20–21; 2 Nephi 4:4; Alma 9:13–14; Alma 50:20.
[53] Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,Ensign, May 2018. 
[54] Elder Bruce R. McConkie,  A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Deseret Book, 1985, p. 28.
[55] See Doctrine and Covenants 45:57.
[56] See 3 Nephi 27:19–20; Doctrine and Covenants 33:11–15.
[57] 1 Nephi 13:37; See also Doctrine and Covenants 4:2,4,7; 6:2–6; 11:2–6; 12:3–6; 15:6; 16:6; 31:5; 39:10–13; 60:7; 61:33–34; 62:3; 88:84.
[58] Deuteronomy 30:6, 19, emphasis added.
[59] John 5:16, 39–40, emphasis added.
[60] See Russell M. Nelson, “Let God Prevail,” Ensign, Nov. 2020; 3 Nephi 10:5; Matthew 23:37; Revelation 22:17; Doctrine and Covenants 29:43; Mosiah 26:4; Alma 5:37; Alma 12:31; Alma 33:17; Alma 35:3; Alma 41:5–8; 3 Nephi 28:34–35.
[61] See Moses 3:17; Helaman 14:31.