Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thanks Be to God

It seems to me that as time progresses, we, as the human race, digress in our understanding of who we really are and our purpose here in life. We rush about, always striving for bigger and better, giving value to things that someone else says are valuable. We want more and newer simply because more and newer exist and not because our lives are truly enhanced and bettered through our acquisition of such things. Or, and perhaps worse, we sit around and do nothing to achieve the potential of which we are capable, wasting time and energy on things of no worth. Today it is possible to live completely vicariously through other people and their feigned "realities," filling our time and conversations by "keeping up" with others' time and conversations. It seems everything these days is focused on "me" yet none of it helps us understand who "me" is.

Honestly I wonder how many people truly ponder the purpose of life or realize that their blessings come from a higher source? The article I have chosen this week directly addresses our eternal potential, the great things our Father in Heaven has done and continues to do for us, and the blessing of expressing our gratitude to Him. In a sermon entitled, "Thanks Be to God," Elder Russell M. Nelson of the quorum of the twelve apostles stated, "How much better it would be if all could be more aware of God's providence and love and express that gratitude to Him. ... Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for Him."

In order to express gratitude to our Father in Heaven, we must first realize all of the marvelous things He has done for us. Of these things Elder Nelson taught:

"Think of our physical sustenance. It is truly heaven-sent. The necessities of air, food, and water all come to us as gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. The earth was created to support our brief sojourn in mortality.1 We were born with a capacity to grow, love, marry, and form families."

He continued:

"We are part of His divine purpose: 'My work and my glory,' He said, is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'2 In order to achieve those objectives, 'God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'3 That act was a supernal manifestation of God’s love. 'For [He] sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.'"4

Elder Nelson then taught of different gifts we receive from God, physical and spiritual. "Our Heavenly Father loves His children," said Elder Nelson. "He had blessed each with physical and spiritual gifts. ... The many amazing attributes of your own body attest to your own 'divine nature.'"5

Of spiritual gifts, Elder Nelson taught:

"Important as is the body, it serves as a tabernacle for one’s eternal spirit. Our spirits existed in the premortal realm6 and will continue to live after the body dies.7 The spirit provides the body with animation and personality.8 In this life and in the next, spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth."

...

"The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are all spiritual.9 These include love, virtue, integrity, compassion, and service to others.10 Your spirit, coupled with and housed in your body, is able to develop and manifest these attributes in ways that are vital to your eternal progression.11 Spiritual progress is attained through the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, including the endowment and sealing ordinances of the holy temple."12

In closing, Elder Nelson explained that, for which we should be striving each day. "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we are not. Each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ, and our families.13 For these powers, privileges, and gospel gifts, thanks be to God!"

The purpose of life is clear. The challenges we face each day are to help strengthen us that we may reach our eternal potential. God has given us the gifts, both physical and spiritual, needed to return to Him to live with Him and our families forever.

Jeremy

Notes
  1. See 1 Nephi 17:36.
  2. Moses 1:39.
  3. John 3:16.
  4. John 3:17.
  5. 2 Peter 1:4.
  6. See Doctrine and Covenants 93:38.
  7. See Alma 40:11Abraham 3:18.
  8. The spirit is in the likeness of the person (see Doctrine and Covenants 77:2).
  9. The spirit, not the body, is the active, responsible component of the soul. Without the spirit, the body is dead (see James 2:26). It is the spirit, therefore, that chooses good or evil and will be held accountable for both the positive and negative attributes it possesses at the Final Judgment (see Alma 41:3–7).
  10. Spiritual attributes also include "faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence" (Doctrine and Covenants 4:6).
  11. See 2 Nephi 2:11–16, 21–26; Moroni 10:33–34.
  12. This is the doctrine of Christ (see 2 Nephi 31:11–21).
  13. “Eternal life … is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).