"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." ~Luke 2:52
I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of amazing women in Southern California. The theme was "Look Up and Be Happy" and I based most of my class on this scripture.
We know very little about Jesus' early life, and yet this scripture tells us so much more than we realize at first glance. Several years ago I found this talk by Ezra Taft Benson, given back in 1979 where he really expands on this scripture. Most of what I will be writing about today is based on this talk; I highly recommend reading the talk in its entirety!
Jesus increased in wisdom (he grew mentally)
Read great books, and remember that the most vital knowledge you can learn is the saving truths of the gospel!
Create a vision - In Genesis 3:9 God asks Adam, "Where art thou?" and in Moses 4:15 God asks Adam "Where goest thou?" Those are two great questions that we should be asking ourselves and pondering as we create our vision.
Stay focused on your goal! Don't allow for distractions!
Jesus increased in stature (he grew physically)
Righteousness - Sin debilitates and affects the soul and the body
Food - Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and grains (see D&C 89)
Exercise - The best exercise is the one you will consistently do!
Sleep - D&C 88:124: "...cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."
Jesus increased in favor with God (he grew spiritually)
Learn the will of God and do it!
God's will comes from 3 sources: scripture, inspired words from the Lord's anointed, the Spirit of the Lord
Practices that would increase favor with God: daily scripture study, daily prayer, serving others
Jesus increased in favor with man (he grew emotionally/socially)
Joy and misery are eternal and opposite emotions! Some emotions make us feel miserable (which Satan desires) and others make us feel joyful (which God desires). Some emotions which make us feel miserable are fear, hate, anger, jealousy, frustration, discouragement, blame, guilt, worry, etc. Some emotions which make us feel happy are joy, love, appreciation, peace, Godly sorrow (which leads to repentance), enthusiasm, belief, hope, and... Gratitude!!!
I think of the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional energies in our bodies like 4 tires on a car... If 3 of them are premium tires, with the exact amount of air, and with lots of tread, but the 4th tire is flat, you aren't going to get anywhere!