President, High Prairie Branch,
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Saviour says to all, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48]
This may seem like a lofty goal for us with our mortal failings. This admonition to “be perfect” should not cause distress or despair. God knows our weaknesses. He does not expect perfection all at once, nor necessarily in this lifetime. What He does expect is for us to try to become like Him.
I would suggest four things that can help us come closer to Christ in our daily lives:
“Straight is the gate and narrow the way that leads to eternal life.” [3 Nephi 14:14]
The only way to eternal life is by repenting of our sins and shortcomings. There is no way around it, no shortcut. We are told no unclean thing can dwell with God because He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
Begin now to make the corrections necessary to free yourself of the burden of sin. Listen as the Spirit whispers what is keeping you from feeling the love of God continually in your life. Sincerely approach the Lord in humility and ask for His forgiveness. Ask for His help to do better tomorrow than you have today.
The Saviour explained that we are required to forgive others “70 times 7”. [Matthew 18:21-22] This means we are required to forgive and not cast judgment. That judgment is reserved for God. Carrying around past grievances only weighs us down.
How many times do we linger on a perceived offense, while the offender does not even know the hurt they caused? How much of our lives are spent blaming others or wishing someone else would change?
Said Louise Hay, “The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.”
Forgiveness is a balm to our soul, a salve for our wounds. Forgiving others allows us to move ahead, even when others do not accept responsibility and change. Forgiveness sets us free.
“Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts.” [David E. Sorenson]
Consider whom you can extend forgiveness to. Honestly let go of the past and move forward in hope.
The importance of doing good to others is summed up in the following: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. [Rabindranath Tagore]
Enough said. Find happiness by serving others.
4. Submitting our will to the will of the Lord.
Perhaps the most difficult step is also the most rewarding. It requires faith to believe that our loving Father in Heaven has a plan for each of us, and that plan is greater than anything we could dream up for ourselves.
We are here on earth to learn and progress. As stated in step 1, we are trying to become like God himself. He knows what experiences we need to have in order to achieve this. Sometimes what we need is not what we want.
“God loves us and cares deeply about our wants. But above all, He wants what is best for us and it doesn’t always include the circumstances we desperately hope for.” [Unknown]
Get on your knees. Speak to your Heavenly Father as you would to your earthly parent. Tell Him your dreams and hopes. Then listen. He will help you know in many ways what He wants – and needs – you to do.
There may be setbacks to your plan. There may be total course corrections. There may be heartache and frustration. But follow God. He who knows all things, knows you and knows what you need to do here to grow.
In the end, His way will be perfect – for you! Remember, “you can have what you want, or you can have something better.” [Jeffrey R. Holland]
Make it your ambition to take these four steps. You will find an increased measure of love, peace and joy in your life.
Next week’s message from St. Paul’s Catholic Church.