One of my favorite activities is watching my grandchildren play or playing with them. As I watched them play, it brought back some childhood memories of mine. There is one game that had been my faithful companion during my teenage years. At that time, it seemed to be the most important thing to do. I realized that despite how fun the game was and how much I loved it, it had become a distraction for me. It was keeping me from focusing on more important things, such as my studies.
In fact, there are many aspects of this mortality that are good, and they demand a lot of our time, talents, and energy in order to be successful. Such things could include our career, education, habits, sports, or hobbies, etc. They can all become distractions and divert us from achieving our most important goals in preparing ourselves and our families and returning to our heavenly home above.
The Sabbath day is a gift from God. The ways we observe the Sabbath day is a token of the level of our love and devotion to our Lord.
President Russell M. Nelson has taught that “as our members fully obey the Sabbath Observance, they will be richly blessed, and their individual capacity to keep all of the other commandments will be enhanced.”1
The Lord has given us the Sabbath Day to keep us unspotted from the world (D&C 59:9), or in other words — away from all distractions; thus enabling us to focus on matters that have eternal significances.
First and foremost, we are commanded to partake the sacrament each week. The sacrament is centered around the Atonement of our Savior. The only offering that the Lord requires of us is “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (D&C 59:8). Our hearts are broken because of the great pain and suffering the Lord has endured so that we “might not suffer if [we] would repent” (D&C 19:16-18). Our spirits are contrite because of our sins and weaknesses. This feeling of remorse together with the love of God will give us strength to overcome our sins and weaknesses.
When the sacrament is being administered, we can ask ourselves the question: “what lack I yet?” (Matthew 19:20) If we are genuine and sincere, the Spirit will whisper to us the specific sin to repent of or weakness to improve upon.
Repentance - A Life-time Quest
Repentance is not only reserved for those who have committed serious sins. It is also an improvement and refinement process for us to become more like our Savior. President Hoggan of the San Jose California Stake reminded the saints that we might not need to always make 180º changes, as we are repenting from serious sins; however, we could be making 10º, 3º or even 1º improvements constantly so that we can become more like Christ.2
“As our members fully obey the Sabbath Observance, they will be richly blessed, and their individual capacity to keep all of the other commandments will be enhanced.”
The Lord commands us to “be perfect even as [He], or [our] Father who is in heaven is perfect (3 Nephi 12:48).”
The Apostle Peter taught us that in order to become “partakers of the divine nature, . . . [we should be] giving all diligence,' to acquire a number of virtuous qualities. Peter further taught: 'he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off ... (2 Peter 1:4-9).” Without developing these virtuous qualities, we are not quite ready to return to our heavenly home above.
As we try to overcome our weaknesses and be more like Christ, we might feel discouraged and inadequate. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland encourages us that:
“Please remember . . . that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christ-like virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, ‘O Jesus, …have mercy on me (Alma 36:18).’ He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek.”3
With this assurance, we should follow Elder Yoon Hwan Choi’s advice to “Look up” to the Lord for the strength in overcoming our weaknesses instead of “Look around”4 on the weaknesses of the others. With humility and meekness, the Lord will “make weak things become strong unto [us] (Ether 12:27).”
I testify that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, and His grace is sufficient to all who come unto Him. May we all embark on this quest of becoming more like our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen