More often than not, the posts on this site will be mainly about sports. That’s my profession right now, as a sports writer, and I hope to pursue sports journalism as I grow older into maturity. However, every now and again, I will be tempted to dive into other topics, like politics, our military, and the privilege it is to be an American. I also dab at religion every so often, and express my feelings about our Savior Jesus Christ.
As most of you know, I am a Christian and am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and just five months ago returned home from serving a two year mission for the LDS church. As a member of the church, Christ is not only the single most important member of my faith, but also my life. Over the two years I spent as a missionary, I was able to grow closer to my Savior than I ever had before in my life. Last week, as I was sitting in church next to my parents, I was reading a passage from the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, and a book of scripture comparable to the Bible and one that the Mormon faith uses.
I was reading from the book of Alma, chapter seven, verse 23,” And now I would that ye should be ahumble, and be bsubmissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.” When I was a missionary, I read the Book of Mormon several times, and I know that I’ve read this scripture a hundred times, but until last Sunday, I never really dove into it, so today I’d like to do just that.
In this scripture, the prophet Alma is preaching to the people Gideon, and talking about the atoning sacrifice that would be made by Jesus Christ. Obviously, he was teaching them, and is teaching us how we can grow closer to Christ. The first attribute he lists is to be humble. I never really understood the meaning of humility when I first started my mission, and thought it referred to being humiliated, to be brutally honest. Why is humility so important to drawing closer to our Savior? When Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane, suffering for our sins and wondering if there was any other way to complete this task, He said pleading to His Father above, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Through His humility, our sins can be forgiven, and through His humility, Christ was able to achieve everything that His Heavenly Father wanted Him to achieve. Now to us, if we are able to forget ourselves and to become disciples of Christ, and accept His will for us, and do as He would do, we can in turn become who He wants us to become.
The next attribute Alma points out is to be submissive, which falls very closely to the category of humility. He next mentions to be gentle. At first glance, I was confused but never really thought much of it, why would being gentle allow us to be closer to Christ? Nevertheless, as you ponder more about the Spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost that we receive, it makes perfect sense. We must sensitive to the Spirit, not abusing the gift of the Holy Ghost, or else we will drift farther away from the Spirit, thus making us further from the Savior. As a familiar hymn goes, “be gentle and loving in deed and in thought, for these are the words Jesus taught.”
Next is to be entreated. To be completely honest, I’m still not 100% sure what this means. However, I like to think that it means to be treated. In the church, we believe in confessing our sins, and going through the repentance process and being able to become worthy again. Many times, we will ignore the confessing part, and believe that we can be worthy just off our own merits. This is a lie made up by Satan, and we cannot fall for it. The repentance process is to help us, so that we can be treated and become better. Rejecting the confession process, is almost denying the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ all together. We must understand that healing begins with confession.
The last point I wanted to discuss is the “being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times,” aspect. Obviously, and the Savior knows this, that we cannot keep all of the commandments all of the time. Everyday, we do things that we’re not proud of, even if its as small as playing a certain song on the radio or judging somebody in our head, we’re not perfect and we will never be perfect in this lifetime. The meaning of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that though we cannot be perfect in this life, we can strive to be. God expects us to try to be perfect, knowing very well we cannot achieve it. Christ’s sacrifice allows us to be better everyday. The great thing about the gospel is that we can improve daily, through His grace, we can change every single day. Whether its saying our prayers, studying our scriptures or choosing to serve more, every day is a new day to become an improved disciple of Jesus Christ.
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has done more for me than I can ever explain. The man that Christ has helped me to become is a man that I’m proud of, but also that is in daily improvement. How grateful I am that I know and believe in my Heavenly Father’s plan, that not only allows me to be better, but to become the man He wants me to be.