On Aug. 17, Kort Black, a project manager at BYU-Idaho, gave his devotional address, “God’s Positive Power.”
Black spoke of two active powers in the universe: God’s positive power and the negative power of the adversary.
“There are, in our world, two great powers, and God has given us agency so that we might choose between them,” Black said. “First is God’s positive power, and second is Satan’s negative power. Which power we choose will affect our mortal lives in dramatic ways.”
When discussing the nature of each power, Black explained that there is no middle ground between them.
“Of the two opposing powers in the universe, one is light, the other dark,” Black said. “One redeems and saves, the other damns and destroys. One is good, and one is evil. All our thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions can be categorized as positive or negative, good or evil.”
While serving as a missionary in Ecuador, Black met a women named Maria, a survivor of leukemia, breast cancer and a brain tumor, who exemplified the power of positivity.
“With each cancer she exercised positive power as she continually reassured others that she knew she’d be ok because our loving Father in Heaven would take care of her,” Black said. “She saw each challenge as a blessing because she knew that when she spent time in hospitals undergoing surgery or chemotherapy, she’d be able to make many new friends among the other patients, nurses and doctors.”
Black said that Maria’s positivity uplifted and inspired everyone around her, and she became a beacon of strength.
“People around her feel her positive power and are deeply affected,” Black said. “This Sister finds joy all around her. She exudes positive power and refuses to fall into the trap of complaining or expressing negative thoughts or feelings. She is a strength to all who know her.”
Black taught students that the power they choose to follow will have drastic effects on their lives and on the lives of those around them. He emphasized God’s positive power and its rippling effects of positivity.
“God’s power is the power of redemption, salvation and exaltation,” Black said. “It is the power to raise and to lift. His is the power of understanding, patience and compassion. It is the power to build up, to elevate and to support. God’s power is the power to progress, to change, to mold, to exalt and to sanctify. His is the power of justice, love, hope and peace. His power is positive power.”
In contrast, Black explained how the negative power of the adversary limits all progress and causes sadness, frustration, anger and destruction. He described how succumbing to the natural man or dwelling on negative thoughts and expressions draws on that negative power.
“As God’s literal offspring, negativity should play no role in our lives,” Black said. “As God’s children, we risk our own happiness when we choose to be frustrated, angry, judgmental or critical of others because Satan’s negative power will hobble our progress, make us miserable like he is and influence events in our lives negatively. Remember that Satan’s negative power is the power of damnation and destruction. He would love to have us give in to sullenness, indifference, pessimism, or any other negative emotion or action.”
Black shared three different ways to better channel God’s positive power.
“The first step is to develop an unwavering trust in God,” Black said. “If God is a perfect being and his work and glory is to bless us with eternal life, then know that He has our best interest at heart. He wants to bless us and help us.”
Black gave students a one week challenge to actively look for opportunities to thank people around them and express gratitude. He also invited them to look for things to be grateful for and write those things down.
“Then each night before going to bed, kneel and pour out your heart in prayer to our Father in Heaven thanking Him and expressing gratitude,” Black said. “As this behavior becomes a part of your nature, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to be consistently positive.”
3. Be anxiously engaged in a good cause
Black encouraged students to follow in the Savior’s footsteps and take time to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
“This does not have to be a grandiose act,” Black said. “We can follow the example of the Savior who took time to talk to others, listen to them and perform small acts that left an impact on the lives of those around Him.”
Black invited students to work at becoming more positive in their lives. He described positivity as a process that requires effort, and though it won’t eliminate difficult experiences, it will be a source of strength in overcoming them.
“I invite you to seek ways to embrace life’s challenges in a positive way. Trust God, be grateful, look for ways to do good,” Black said. “If you struggle with feelings of depression or anxiety, like I know so many of us do, I invite you to look for triggers in your life where you often respond with negativity. Instead, choose to act with positive power. I promise you that you will be able to influence the outcomes of your life in ways that bless you and those around you in extraordinary ways.”
Black testified of God’s life-changing power of positivity and of His infinite love for each of His children.
“I can’t stress enough the incredible power we have to affect life’s challenges so that we can see them as the blessings that they are,” Black said. “We are not just reeds in the wind with no power to exert influence on what happens to us. We are God’s children and we have been promised His power in our lives as we abandon all negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions and choose instead to embrace with positive power all that we face in this life.”