Archive for the ‘repentance’ Tag

Questions For A Better You

Reading: Alma 5

Every time I read Alma chapter 5 I remember learning about this chapter in Seminary. I this chapter Alma asks question after question designed to encourage you to repent and become a better person. My teacher told us that anytime she was feeling like she was out of whack she would read through Alma 5 and answer all the questions.

Here are just a few of the questions Alma asks in Alma 5:

  • And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? (verse 14)
  • I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? (verse 19)
  • And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (verse 27)
  • And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions? (verse 30)
  • And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? (verse 39)
  • Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? (verse 55)

In Alma 5 it seems like Alma covers every area in which we can improve. When I read this chapter and take the questions personally, I often find one or two areas where I can improve. Some of the questions (such as “Are you a murderer?) don’t apply to me, but some help me renew my commitment to living the gospel.

Today I am going to write in my journal about my renewed commitment to living the gospel, and what I can do to better answer Alma’s questions.

When you read Alma’s chapter are there any questions that stand out to you?

In the Presence of God

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:10

One thing that is implicit in many doctrines is that one day we will be judged according to how we have lived our lives on Earth.  However, we don’t often talk about what that judgement will be like.  In 2 Nephi 2:10 we learn one thing about what that judgement will be.  It says:

And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him.

This states that when we are judged we will be in the presence of God to be judged by him, personally.  It also says this is possible through the Atonement.

This knowledge is both frightening and comforting.  One the one hand, it is kind of scary to think of all of my sins and imperfections being laid bear before God while I am in his presence.  On the other hand, it does seem better than an impersonal judgement made from far away.  It does give me a little bit more motivation to work on repenting and improving myself.

This week we have had a lot going on in the evenings, so I’ve been staying up late and as a result my evening prayer and scripture study have suffered.  Tonight, even though it is Friday and I’ll probably be up late again, I’m going to make sure I put my full effort into my evening prayer and scripture study.

What do you think it will be like to be in the presence of God again?

Unto None Else

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:7, “The Path to Peace and Joy,” Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov 200

Yesterday I talked about how the Savior made salvation possible through his sacrifice.  Today I am going to talk about the requirements for us to qualify for that salvation.  The requirement, as presented in 2 Nephi, is actually quite simple.  Verse 7 states:

Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

The requirements are “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”  In the Mormon church, we use the term repentance to describe this state of being.  However, as you explore what a broken heart really must be like, you realize that it requires a great deal from you.

Richard G. Scott’s talk “The Path to Peace and Joy” is a beautiful summary of the process of repentance, and how to go about doing it.  True repentance requires us to change our very being so that not only do we no longer break the laws of God, but we also no longer desire to break them. It is an internal, deep process that we will be doing for our whole lives.

Repentance, although it is hard, is a great gift.  If it were not for the Savior we would never have the chance to improve ourselves because we would be subject to condemnation after the first law we broke.  Through the Atonement, however, we are allowed to be human, to make mistakes, and to then repent of those mistakes.  Through the Atonement, we are not asked to be perfectly obedient (which is what the law alone requires) but rather we are asked to be working, with all our hearts, towards perfect obedience.

In my life I can think back to mistakes I have made, and I am very, very grateful for the opportunity to repent of those mistakes.  My life is so much better for that reason alone.

Today I am going to get out The Miracle of Forgiveness and look at it as Elder Scott recommended in his talk.  Reading the whole book would be too big of a task for me to promise to do in a post, because I try to keep these tasks to small things I can do the day I write them.  However, I will look through it and definitely think about reading it.

How would your life be different if you never had the opportunity to mend past mistakes and improver yourself?

Disposition and Doing Good

Reading: “A Disposition to Do Good Continually,” Spencer J. Condie, Ensign, Aug 2001

It is my belief that repentance extends farther than just the big sins. Sometimes when we talk about repentance we think about big sins like fornication or breaking the word of wisdom. However, we are required to repent of all of our sins, and for most of us those sins are small–things like losing patience with a stranger who has done something that bothers you, or forgetting to say your prayers in the morning, or things like that. The Atonement allows us to change even these small things so that we can become more like the Savior.

So, seeking an article about applying repentance to your every day life, I found Elder Condie’s article. He talks about how cultivating a disposition to do good will make it much easier to take care of those small things. When we change enough we will no longer even want to do those little sins that plague us from day to day.

While reading this article I must confess I began to feel overwhelmed. Elder Condie listed so many things, like going to the temple regularly and always remembering to read your scriptures and using your free time to do only really good things, that I have trouble remembering sometimes. I thought, clearly I do not have what he is talking about because if I did then I would not have problems with these little things.

Then I thought back to Elder Samuelson’s article on perfectionism I read last week. If we truly have no diposition to do evil then we will be perfect. It is a great, wonderful thing we should work on every day. But, we cannot expect ourselves to be that way right now. The important thing is that I am progressing in relation to myself, not how I compare to others.

I do know that when I cultivate in myself a disposition to do good my whole life becomes much much better. When I think back to times in my life when I was really seeking to do good, I can see how that effort cultivated in me a disposition to do good continually. And, when I had that disposition to do good all of these little sins didn’t go away, but they did become easier. I was able to repent of some and move on to others and feel good about all of it.

Today I am going to ponder how I can continue to cultivate in myself a disposition to do good. I know that this program of scripture study is really helping my disposition to do good. Also, I remember ways that have helped me in the past. For example, I remember when I was attending devotional every week while I was attending BYU-Idaho it was a huge boost in my disposition to do good. Maybe I can find something similar for me to do now.

What in your life helps you to cultivate a disposition to do good continually? Can you think of times in your life when doing good was easier for you, and see perhaps why that was so?