‘Perfection is something yet ahead for every one of us’

"Developing spirituality and attuning ourselves to the highest influences of godliness is not an easy matter," said Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve in his April 1979 general conference address. "It takes time and frequently involves a struggle. It will not happen by chance, but is accomplished only through deliberate effort and by calling upon God and keeping His commandments.

"The Apostle Paul spent much of his life teaching and encouraging spirituality in the then far-flung missions of the world. He frequently used terminology from the sports, games, and athletic contests. . . ."Taking the athletic contest to what was in ancient times the ultimate experience – a hand-to-hand battle to the death – Paul wrote this statement regarding such physical combat:

" `Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

" `For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

" `Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

" `Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

" `And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

" `Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

" `And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

" `Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.' " (Eph. 6:11-18.)

Elder Hunter added: "Part of our difficulty as we strive to acquire spirituality is the feeling that there is much to do and that we are falling far short. Perfection is something yet ahead for every one of us; but we can capitalize on our strengths, begin where we are, and seek after the happiness that can be found in pursuing the things of God."