beware lest thou forget the Lord
~ Deuteronomy 6:12 ~
Yea, and we may see at the very time when [God] doth prosper his people, … then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity
~ Helaman 12:2 ~
When our day-to-day challenges loom before us, it is natural to focus on the here and now. But when we do, we may make poor choices, become depressed, or experience hopelessness. Because of this human tendency, prophets have admonished us to remember the eternal perspective. Only then can we successfully navigate mortality.
~ Elder Dale G. Renlund – Maintaining an Eternal Perspective – Ensign, March 2014 ~
There is much more to life. And yet we tend to forget our purpose when we lose sight of our eternal perspective. In this life we shall experience misery, suffering, sorrow, and hopelessness. We also experience joy, triumph, accomplishments, and even milestones of growth and progression (2 Nephi 2). However, our journey is not merely marching toward death and living for the here and now. No. Our journey is one that has an eternal perspective where we shall be added upon with glory (Abraham 3:22-26). Our Heavenly Father declared his purpose unto Moses (Moses 1:39) and revealed to him the workmanship of his hands (Moses 1:4).
What is this eternal perspective? It is understanding that we have a divine origin and heritage (Abraham 3:22-23). We also come to know and understand that our mortal life has more significant meaning and purpose because of our Heavenly Father’s desire and purpose. Furthermore, as we consider the eternal perspective – we stand in agreement with the apostle Paul when he says that he has fought the good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-9).
Do Not Procrastinate the Day of Repentance
This life offers us a wellspring of opportunities for growth. However, what is there to spiritual growth that gives us a life that is abundant (John 10:10) where we mature in faith and hope? It is the stern warning that this life is the time for us to repent and come unto Christ and be perfected in him (Matthew 5:3-48; Alma 34:33; Moroni 10:32-33).
Repentance merely means we are willing to possess a change of heart and mind where we have a fresh attitude and perspective toward God, self, and life in general. This implies that we are broken and contrite in our spirit so that we are able to turn away from evil and direct our heart, mind, and will over to God. Our willingness to submit to God’s commandments and desires while forsaking and putting away the natural man. True authentic repentance comes from a deep love for our Heavenly Father and a sincere desire to obey Him. And since it is by the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ – we are justified, sanctified, and glorified by our Heavenly Father.
And what is true authentic repentance that is effective through the infinite atonement? One where we possess Godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Mortality Prepares us for Eternity
The Israelites began their journey by turning their backs from that which they had known. They followed Moses into the wilderness. And the first challenge they faced was the daunting sea before them. The power of God moved, and they were able to go forward with faith and purpose toward a land of promise. Much like their journey, our mortal existence is one that prepares us for eternity:
As sons and daughters of God, we have inherited divine capacities from Him. But we presently live in a fallen world. The very elements out of which our bodies were created are by nature fallen and ever subject to the pull of sin, corruption, and death. Consequently, the Fall of Adam and its spiritual and temporal consequences affect us most directly through our physical bodies. And yet we are dual beings, for our spirit that is the eternal part of us is tabernacled in a physical body that is subject to the Fall. As Jesus emphasized to the Apostle Peter, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).David A. Bednar – We Believe in Being Chaste, Ensign, May 2013
The precise nature of the test of mortality, then, can be summarized in the following question: Will I respond to the inclinations of the natural man, or will I yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord (see Mosiah 3:19)? That is the test.
Speaking on mortality being a state of probation we find this scriptural truth:
And we see that death comes upon mankind…; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the deadAlma 12:24
The Israelites were not fully prepared to enter into the land of promise. They had to undergo the challenges of the wilderness. Exercise faith, walk in obedience to the revelations, commandments, and teachings that were given unto Moses. They were to commit to sacred temple ordinances that involved sacrifices and ritual cleansings. They had to learn to become humble, repentant and forgiving. Likewise, we are in a state of preparation. A state of undergoing experiences that challenge us. We are wandering in this wilderness of mortality where we are to exercise our faith in God. Commit to sacred ordinances and keeping of covenants made. We are called to humble ourselves, repent, and be forgiving. Otherwise, we are not prepared to enter into the land of promise.
What is this land of promise? What is the blessed hope? The Savior often spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13:24-52 in parables. The Savior even taught that our desire, that our focus, and that our hearts and minds be established on seeking first the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 6:33). To this, David B. Haight observed:
If we seek first the kingdom of God and live as we should, all the rest of life seems to fall into place and wonderful things happen.General Conference October 1995 – Seek First the Kingdom of God
It is in this time we are to seek after God. To pursuit and walk faithfully in the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To seek first His will and desire. From this we gain a greater eternal perspective that goes beyond our mere mortal life. James tells us that this life is but a mere vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes (James 4:14).
And in the Book of Mormon we read:
There was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God…. Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory stateAlma 42:4, 10
Our purpose in this life is to repent and to come unto Christ. To humble ourselves and walk faithfully in seeking after the will of God. We are to be perfected in Christ. To deny ourselves and put off the natural man. And to make the most of our life meaningful and live with purpose toward our promised land of glory and hope.
Our life is the time to seek God, to walk in obedience to His teachings and commandments, to grow spiritually and experience an abundant life that only comes through the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ. By doing so, we gain a greater eternal perspective on who we are, what our purpose in this life is, and where we are heading.
Meditate and Ponder
How does having an eternal perspective help you find hope and meaning for your life today? What does it mean for you to repent and seek after the Kingdom of God? How does this help you go forward with meaningful faith and purpose? What challenges stand in your way of seeking God first?
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