Mat Miles, systems librarian at BYU-Idaho, gave the third devotional of the summer Tuesday in the Gordon B. Hinkley Chapel. Miles taught that having realistic expectations for church members, loved ones and yourself can strengthen your testimony.
Miles began his devotional by sharing verses from Luke 18:9-14, which describe a Pharisee and a publican that went into the temple to pray. The Pharisee gloated in his prayers, tithing and fasting ability. The publican asked God to be merciful to him because he is a sinner.
“As we follow Christ’s example and repent of our sins, forgive others and serve those in need, we deepen our faith in him,” Miles said.
In Miles’s devotional, he touched on 3 ways realistic expectations in our relationships can help us.
Our relationship with others
Miles explained that when we make an honest attempt to serve others and overcome the natural man, our faith will increase. He emphasized that as our faith grows, we should be careful not to judge how others articulate their testimony in Jesus Christ.
“Some say they know the truths of the Gospel ‘without a shadow of doubt,'” Miles said. “Others say they believe the church is true, or that they have faith that the church is true. We should not become excessively concerned about how individuals articulate their testimonies. It can and will be different for each person.”
The relationship with ourself
Miles said that unrealistic expectations can harm our self-image, and that we need to come to church as we are – imperfections and all.
“All of us struggle with certain weaknesses and temptations,” he said. “Some of us have greater challenges than others. Others have sins that are more visible than others.”
Miles then explained the Bible story of how the apostle Paul was visibly afflicted by a thorn in his flesh. Noting that the Lord did not remove it, Miles referred to a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott.
“The Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion … when the Lord speaks of weakness, it is always with mercy,” Elder Scott said.
Our relationship with the Holy Ghost
Miles testified that when we obey the commandments, we will receive “the quiet peace that comes through obedience to the law.”
Miles said that the spirit operates in a different way for everyone.
“The manifestations of the Spirit are profoundly personal,” Miles said. “While some have heard audible voices in response to prayer, others have described being overwhelmed by the Spirit or experiencing intense emotions … it is important to recognize that many of us have not had these types of experiences, and we should not feel excluded or inadequate as a result.”
The next devotional will be held on August 15 by Daniel Balls, lead data analyst at BYU-I, at 11:30 a.m. All devotionals can be viewed online.