Elder Carl B. Cook, General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, invited listeners to put off the natural man and become saints of God at this week’s devotional.
Harking back to his roots as a Utah cowboy, Elder Cook shared a story of the transformation of one of his most stubborn, strong-willed horses: Stubby. When Elder Cook tried to turn right, Stubby purposefully chose to turn left. When Elder Cook wanted Stubby to gallop, he would buck.
Much to Elder Cook’s surprise, however, Stubby began to soften after many rides and much discipline and eventually became Elder Cook’s horse of choice. In fact, Stubby’s change was so transformative, Elder Cook’s family changed his name to Spinner.
“Spinner underwent a major change or transformation, but it took time, patience, and a lot of work. Through this process of change, Spinner’s life improved immensely, and so did mine,” Elder Cook said. “In a similar, though much more meaningful, way, we are invited to change, to submit ourselves to God, who is our Master.”
Elder Cook promised when individuals submit their will to Heavenly Father, by following the enticings from the Holy Spirit, the blessing most needed will come. He reminded those in attendance to follow the Savior’s command to lose themselves in order to find their true identity.
“Using a cowboy’s words,” Elder Cook said, “I would say that God asks us ‘to give up a penny in order to receive a dollar,’ and a dollar has some obvious advantages over a penny!”
Elder Cook recommended humility as the antidote for both resisting the enticements of the adversary and pride.
“One challenging aspect of replacing pride with humility is recognizing pride for what it is,” said Elder Cook.
In a world filled with public scrutiny, Elder Cook counseled listeners to look to God and let him communicate their worth and value, rather than through digital means.
“Let God be the audience that we look to please, not those in the great, shapeless, black hole of cyberspace,” Elder Cook said. “Let us pray to Him and check for His inspiring messages. Let us look to Him, our Creator and our Eternal Father, in all things.”
Even though the journey is difficult, Elder Cook tells listeners improvement can happen with faith and the Spirit.
“Discipleship can at times be challenging,” Elder Cook said. “But if we have faith and cultivate the Spirit, we can cowboy up, and learn to put off the natural man or woman without becoming irritated, frustrated, or discouraged. It can be a joyful process.”
Next Devotional: Carolyn Billings, Director of Sports Medicine at BYU Athletics
The next BYU Devotional will be on October 17 at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center. Carolyn Billings will deliver the Devotional address.