“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, KJV)
Life presents us with choices each day—some small, some major. With so many options before us, how do we know which to pursue? As Christians, we can look to eternal principles to guide our decisions. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
President Oakes taught that when faced with choices, we should first consider “the good.” These are positive options that move us in the right direction. Though not always the ideal, choosing the good over lesser alternatives keeps us aligned with godly principles. “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:14) Doing good brings light into the world and into our souls.
For example, we may choose to donate to charity rather than indulging in selfish pursuits. Or we could pick a wholesome movie over crude entertainment. In relationships, we can opt to be kind even when we differ. Choosing the good brings us closer to the kingdom of God. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) Persevering in good choices builds godly character.
Yet if we only aim for the good, we limit our potential. President Oakes urged us to also consider “the better”—superior choices that lift and inspire. Selecting the better requires effort but brings greater light to our lives. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Aspiring to better aligns us with God’s will.
Making time for family and spiritual growth is better than just completing each busy day. Investing in education and skills surpasses passive entertainment. In all we do, we can seek ways to serve others, not just meet our own needs. Choosing the better leads to a more abundant life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God desires greater things for us.
Finally, President Oakes directed us to choose “the best”—those options perfectly aligned with Christ’s example and God’s will for us. This highest path brings us back to our Heavenly Father. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Choosing the best requires dedication but leads to eternal rewards.
But recognizing the best choice isn’t always easy amid life’s complexity. We must diligently seek God’s guidance through scripture study and prayer. The Holy Spirit will prompt us to know the right way. As we walk by faith, we can feel confident embracing what is best. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Scripture illuminates the wise path.
Choosing the good, seeking the better, finding the best—these principles apply to all life’s decisions, big and small. They lead us to choices that carry eternal significance. Our daily actions determine who we become. Each step along the upward way brings us closer to the kingdom of God. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1) Keeping our focus upward propels our spiritual growth.
Let us open our eyes to see the eternal significance in our daily choices. With God’s help, may we have the wisdom to choose the good, strive for the better, and align our will with what is best. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Relying on God gives perspective on the best path forward.
The above blog post is an adaptation, tailored to the specified requirements and may not capture every nuance from President Dallin H. Oakes’s original talk. For a full grasp, it’s recommended to explore the original source directly. Link to the original: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2007/10/good-better-best?lang=eng
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