Friday, May 1, 2015

WEEK 89: Test the Doctrine!

March 30, 2015

Over the past months, I've had a lot of time to contemplate what I truly want in life. Or what matters most to me.  I have been led to my current desires through personal experiences and through observing and working with people around me. Whether its members, less-active members, or non-members, I've been able to clearly see the difference between an active Temple-goer and a less active member. I've been able to witness the difference in the lives of someone who strives to live God's laws and principles, and someone who doesn't.  I never really paid much attention or focused on this before the mission, but the Lord has helped me to see very clearly, what kind of life I want to lead.

I've had time to really think and ponder on what this life is all about. And let me tell you, this life is not about this life. This life is but a testing ground for the eternal life that is ahead. Although just a testing ground, this test is the final exam. What we do in this life affects everything we're involved with here afterword. If we can keep this mindset and eternal perspective, our choices will be affected positively, and a new, brighter light will be brought into our lives. I often wonder to myself, "Am I focusing on the right things? What should I be focused on? What are my priorities? What matters most? Am I progressing or regressing?" The amazing thing is: with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement as our resource, all questions such as these can and will be answered. I've seen it firsthand.

One sure way I've found to have a more enjoyable and happier life, is by doing all I can to gain characteristics of our ultimate exemplar, Christ. He has characteristics such as charity, faith, hope, obedience, humility, diligence, patience, compassion. If we would turn outwards rather than inwards in my time of trials, we would be imitating more so the Character of Christ.

"There would have been no Atonement except for the Character of Christ" -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Think about this one. The act of the Atonement was the ultimate example of turning outwards rather than inwards in a time of pain or sorrow. How can we imitate that Character? Do we need to imitate that Character?

"Therefor I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." (3 Nephi 12:48)

So the answer is yes, eventually. Another word for perfect is "whole".  The Atonement has the power to make us whole. It's our choice if we want it or not, though.  Although God doesn't expect us to be perfect today, but does expect us to progress today.

"Where we are today won't be good enough for tomorrow." -President Spendlove

On a course of steady progression, we can find peace and true, rightful contentment in this, our mortal lives. Remember CPR? Church, Pray, Read. There's a reason we learned these principles in Primary! These are the basic elements and factors in our progression. Once we have these down, we can add on more resources to help! Such as: the Temple, fasting, Family Home Evening, home/visiting teaching (which is the Lord's program, by the way), "magnifying our calling", serving others, etc. If we can continue to steadily progress on building our faith, conversion, and foundation upon Christ, then we are doing what the Lord expects us to do. It is when we stop actively engaging in these things, that our regression proceeds. If we're not progressing, we're regressing.

"Once the telestial sins [knowingly doing wrong] are left behind and henceforth avoided, the focus falls ever more on the sins of omission [knowingly failing to do right]. These omissions signify a lack of qualifying fully for the Celestial Kingdom. Only greater consecration can correct these omissions, which have consequences just as real as do the sins of commission [knowingly doing wrong]. Many of us thus have sufficient faith to avoid the major sins of commission, but not enough faith to sacrifice our distracting obsessions or to focus on our omissions." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Through being obedient to an all-wise God and loving Father, we will be able to achieve a measure that we would in no other way be able to obtain. It's through "obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" that all may find true joy (lasting happiness) in this life and rest in the Lord throughout the eternities. That's why we're here. These are true principles. I've had to many experiences to believe otherwise. If we would simply take the Gospel  teachings to heart, and apply them, we would and will be so much better off and so much happier. Test it and see for yourself.

"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17)

I love the Lord. I love this Gospel! If we'd learn of it, live it, and put it as our first priority, we'd find more happiness than we would anywhere else possible. These aren't just correct and valuable principles to live by. It's the truth.

Stay close to the Lord!
~Elder Carroll #BecauseHeLives

My friend, Danny!

President & Sister Spendlove, their son and
my companion, Elder Steed.

Late night fun in the office :)

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