As I was reading Mosiah 4 this afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice that one ancient ruler said, “if ye do this ye shall always rejoice…” Always. Wouldn’t this mean all the time? And what does it mean to rejoice? Doesn’t that mean to be full of joy?
I believe I’ve encountered a portion of what King Benjamin described. I’ve struggled with addiction for many years, yet I have experienced great feelings of joy and gratitude as I’ve strived daily to turn toward the Savior.
The scriptures teach that through Christ all things are possible, that Jesus Christ is the light and life of the world, and that He is the Prince of Peace amongst many other things. I believe that because of Him and His everlasting atoning sacrifice, I can continue to change and experience a fuller happiness.
After many years of repeatedly doing things my way, I have only felt a sense of rejoicing when I have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, His ways, His teachings and His prophets. Even amidst trial, pain, and suffering, peace and joy can be found through Jesus Christ.
I still feel very new to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lately, I have felt like my “radar” is off. How do I know what I’m supposed to do? What do I want most in life?
Again and again I have to tell myself, “I want to live with my family forever.” If I can keep that focus it helps me make better choices.
I was listening to a worldwide devotional by President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He described his role as prophet in the following way
What’s the difference between immortality and eternal life? In 2006, Elder Jospeh B. Worthlin differentiated between them in the following way:
[All] are given a priceless and incomprehensible gift: immortality. Because of Jesus the Christ, [the good shepherd] we will live forever. We are immortal.
Eternal life, however, is something altogether different. Immortality is about quantity. Eternal life is about quality.
To use a metaphor, immortality is how long the dinner lasts. Eternal life is what is on the menu and who is with us at the table.
Eternal life is “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). P9
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)…
However, eternal life does not come automatically.
We must purge our hearts of evil and fill them with the desire to do good continually. Our Heavenly Father, with love that is scarcely within our power to comprehend, desires more than just our immortality. He desires each of us to partake of this greatest of all gifts: eternal life.
The desire to do good continually is not easy, but there is hope. We may feel lost and incabable, but we do not have to do it alone. We have a Savior who knows and loves us and a Heavenly Father, who wants each of us to return back to Him. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed one parable and how it brings hope. He stated,
In 1974, Elder Delbert L. Stapley Of the Council of the Twelve, counseled us to “walk uprightly before the Lord and…keep his laws and commandments. It is the only way we can find our way to the eternal life that God has held out to the faithful of his people…[O]ur God gave this promise: “… if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7.) “Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.” (D&C 6:7.)
We will all live as immortals because of Jesus Christ and His atoning Blood and sacrifice. Eternal life is described as “the greatest of all gifts,” for those who love God. Loving God means being obedient and keeping His commandments, “if ye love me keep my commandments”
The desire to be obedient and do good continually is not easy, but there is hope. We may feel lost and incabable, but we do not have to do it alone. We have a Savior who knows and loves us and a Heavenly Father, who wants each of us to return back to Him. As we repent daily and strive to become better each day, little by little, grace for grace, we can become better and work toward eternal life.
Elder Uchtdorf emphasized that no matter where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, we can be rescued by the Savior. He stated,
You Are Worthy of Rescue
[M]y dear friends, I testify that God sees us as we truly are—and He sees us worthy of rescue.
You may feel that your life is in ruins… You may be afraid, angry, grieving, or tortured by doubt. But just as the Good Shepherd finds His lost sheep, if you will only lift up your heart to the Savior of the world,
He will find you. He will rescue you. He will lift you up and place you on His shoulders. He will carry you home…
We can have confidence and trust that our loving Heavenly Father can and will rebuild us. His plan is to build us into something far greater than what we were—far greater than what we can ever imagine. With each step of faith on the path of discipleship, we grow into the beings of eternal glory and infinite joy we were designed to become. This is my testimony, my blessing, and my humble prayer in the sacred name of our Master, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I believe these words are true. And if we can no more than desire to be obedient or believe, God will work with us one step at a time, if we turn to Him and ask Him for help. Stop Believing you can do this alone. You simply cannot. This is why we have the Savior. Through him and his atoning blood and sacrifice we can choose to change, permanently so we can gain eternal life and live with God again.
One challenge we face today is finding unity amongst diversity of our beliefs, backgrounds, cultures, goals, and desires. How can we seek for unifying ideas in such a time as this? The answer may lie within past experiences and words spoken by historical figures, lyricists, and everyday people.
What will happen if individuals continue to interact with hostility towards others? Martin Luther King Jr. described the end result of our interactions if we approach one another with hatred and anger when he stated,
Rather than focusing time and energy on hating others because of different beliefs and values, we can root out the hatred and anger by choosing instead to love others. Jesus Christ exemplified perfect love for all races, kindreds, tongues, and people. Why not choose to do love others as He did? It’s hard to love someone who may declare your views as wrong, senseless, ancient, sinful, or godless, but it’s even harder to love someone when you’re choosing to be intolerant of them as a human being. When faced with differing opinions or views, why not give a listening ear without choosing to criticize, hate, or retaliate? In an article published online in The Liahona, Lori Fuller Sosa brings awareness to the following idea:
“If we could just listen without trying to change someone’s mind, I think we’d be surprised what we might learn” (2019).
Imagine if we all followed this line of thinking. Would it bring more unity? Nearly 50 years ago, John Lennon once speculated the outcome of our world if we put our differences behind us and sought to live on earth, harmoniously.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be live as one. Original Lyrics by John Lennon taken from Pass It On
Notice how Lennon erases the concept of greed and hunger. Is this what divides the nations? Money and power?
In 1976, Howard W. Hunter stated,
“It is the proposition that everyone has a price, that material things finally matter most, that ultimately you can buy anything in this world for money.”
It’s true, you can have anything in this world for money, but at what cost? Is a life not worth so a great a value? In Lennon’s lyrics, he shifted the focus from earthly possessions to a “brotherhood of man.” Placing pleasures and monetary value above human life will not unify us. It will divide us. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? …[W]hat shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36–37.)
Many powerful leaders have sought to eradicate the existence of the poor, the mentally ill, and the races that were not considered elite in their eyes. In God’s eyes, we are all His children. He created us equally. It is not Christ’s doctrine to divide us or to bring contention. This is not from Christ. Christ’s teachings seek to uplift, unify, edify, and inspire all to love.
As The Savior taught,
I know for myself the impact pure Christlike love can have on an individual. I hated religion and any person who preached their beliefs. I discovered that I believed, these religious people thought they were so much better than me. I was judging. The same thing I didn’t like about religion, I was still practicing.
I came to see that I was not loving. I was a very judgmental person. I carried so much hatred, yet it was a religious person who showed me pure Christlike love and did not judge me for my choices, my mistakes, or my beliefs. Charity, the pure love of Christ has the power to change hearts. This love has changed life.
In moving forward to seek unity in diversity, the following question posed nearly 200 years ago, may be relatable to today:
We all share differing perspectives, opinions, and beliefs but ultimately, the way we can seek unity in diversity is to love one another as Christ has loved us. This is my prayer for each of us in the world today. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.