This life was designed to provide a plethora of options, opportunities and opposition. We can’t escape those or the responsibility to choose when faced with them. In a world, or at least a country (USA), that has never enjoyed so much peace, plenty and prosperity, it can be easy to focus our time and attention (ie. our hearts) on ourselves. Not only is it easy, but it is sold to us hundreds of times a day that we need or deserve it. Most can financially afford to amuse, entertain, travel, socialize and even educate ourselves, literally to death.
We’re finding it increasingly harder to discern between the good, the better and the best. Even though Joseph Smith lived over 200 years ago, the council regarding the purpose of life and objective for our souls is as fresh as the morning news:
“We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. … The time is soon coming, when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, , 160–61).
As we contemplate the new year; goals, resolutions, travels, family, friends, foods, entertainment, education, income, etc let us plan our lives with this past council and future perception of our eternal journey.
“A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.” Dr. Seuss
God is good. He has given us all the time, talents, and tools we need for us to be happy here and obtain eternal life there, but He isn’t responsible for our happiness. Additionally, we must plan and daily work to care for the life of the soul. As Neal A. Maxwell observed, “whatever our anxious involvements with outward events, this inner struggle proceeds in both tranquil and turbulent times. Whether understood or recognized, this is the unchanging mortal agenda from generation to generation.”
Results may vary
You see the label on commercials and advertisements, “results may vary.” Because no two snowflakes or children are the same, it also applies to our level of commitment and application of natural or eternal laws and gospel principles. The results may vary, but the source of the results and reason for the responsibility to “put the kingdom of God first” is the same. Here are just a few results you can anticipate with your first objective of building up Zion in your heart, family, church and community. To learn more about “being about your Father’s business” see Lesson 46 – Zions, the pure in heart.
- “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can.
- He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace.” ― Ezra Taft Benson
- Your “inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16)
- Even on bad days, you will still “keep your own soul” regardless of external conditions (see Prov. 19:16)
- He will “lead you along” (D&C 78:18)
- He will “be in your midst” (D&C 49:27)
- You will have “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2)
- Have the ability to “always give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15)
- Realign all your earthly pursuits to put them in proper place or remove them from your life
- Enhance worldly pleasures to be the most rewarding, recognizing for what they are given
- Be endowed with power from on high (D&C 38:32)
- Become who you were designed for and destined to become, not just do things
“The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.” Ezra T. Benson
The Greatest Distraction
“The Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. You must make yourselves acquainted with those men who, like Daniel, pray three times a day to the house of the Lord. Look to the Presidency and receive instruction. Every man who is afraid, covetous, &c., will be taken in a snare. The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her Stakes.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, , 160–61)
Three Goals to Guide You
“Your influence ranges far beyond yourself and your home and touches others all around the globe,” but to accomplish it you’re going to need a definite major purpose. Well, at least start with three goals. In memory of the selfless life and beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson.