Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Story

About a month ago I read the blog post a gentleman wrote entitled "Feasting on Intellectual Mammon Vs Feasting on the Words of Christ" and it reminded me of a major change that the Lord brought about in me which helped lead to the conversion of my heart. I wrote the following as a comment:

Looking back on my own life, I can see how for many years my philosophy for salvation relied on knowledge. I would read D&C 130:18-19 (”Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”) and mistakenly think that my knowledge of the gospel would save me. I can see now how the devil succeeded in fueling my pride by encouraging me to put my trust in myself and my knowledge for salvation instead of in the Lord Jesus Christ. I can see how this attitude also weakened my testimony, by believing that having a testimony of the gospel in my mind was good enough without seeking to have that testimony written on my heart. I believe had I stayed in this mindset that I would have eventually gone less active from church activity, because I wouldn’t be getting anything out of church.

Thankfully the Lord gave me some big wake up calls and He began to teach me what it meant to truly have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He gave me the vision of what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, to take upon myself His attributes; to seek to develop the kind of love He has for others (Moroni 7:48). He has taught me that it is His grace that I need to draw on to sustain any real growth (Jacob 4:7). Most importantly, the Lord has taught me to center my life and my testimony on Him and to have faith and repentance be the focus of my gospel study (Mosiah 18:20). He has taught me that His gospel is more than four steps that are so often rattled off while reciting the 4th article of faith. He taught me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is to live a life of faith, a life of repentance, a live of making and keeping covenants, a life filled with and lead by the Holy Ghost.

I don’t go to church anymore to learn things. I now go to church to become something-a person more like my Savior. I can see now that D&C 130:18-19 is talking about making the gospel a part of me, the core of who I am inside, even the knowledge of the gospel written on my heart. I can see how putting my trust in my Savior, instead of myself, has brought me much closer to Him.

A Life of Faith

Recently I have been looking at blogs published by other members of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What I have seen has made me sad. There have been very few who have written of their experiences of how Jesus Christ has changed their life, choosing instead to criticize or focus on points of doctrine that have little to do with actually living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we all need a reminder of the bedrock principles that provide the framework for living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I like what Preach My Gospel (a book containing official church doctrine taught by missionaries all over the world) says on how to be saved:
"By faithfully following the gospel path of faith, repentance, making and keeping covenants, and receiving the Holy Ghost, we can qualify for eternal life."
-Preach My Gospel p. 69
In my own words, to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to live a life of faith, a life of repentance, a life regulated and empowered by covenants made with God, and a life filled with and led by the Holy Ghost. This pattern of leading will result in being cleansed from sin and born again, accompanied by feelings of peace and joy.

Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought great joy and peace into my life, and has empowered me to acquire godly attributes, such as kindness and patience. Like the apostle Paul, it is my testimony that "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10). I know that all growth is a gift from the Lord as well as the joy that comes with it. By living Christ's gospel, I have experienced the miracle of forgiveness. Because of His Gospel I know of the peace and the comfort which can come during hard experiences. I also know "that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent" (Mosiah 3:17).

Having a desire to share my faith with those who do not know Jesus Christ or that His Gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, I am starting this blog to share my experiences with living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to have this blog be an introduction to or a reminder of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about; how we can be transformed and cleansed by the power of Christ, and live in a state of joy and peace in this life regardless of what physically happens to us. Please comment and share your own experiences of the joy that comes through living the Gospel and following our Savior.