Friday, January 2, 2009

To Know God

This morning as I was studying my scriptures I came across the story of the repentance of King Lamoni’s father (see Alma 22). This man had learned the gospel from missionaries and wanted to have its promised blessings for himself. I was touched by the words of His first prayer when he said “I will give away all of my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18).

I pondered his words of coming to know God through repentance. It makes sense because the best way to know someone is to be like them, to walk the path they walk. The end goal of repentance is for us to be changed to be and act more like God—to be loving, merciful, patient, wise, happy, peaceful, and so on. I found various scriptures which teach that a key to truly knowing God is repentance and becoming more like Him.

When King Benjamin’s people repented they personally knew who God was because they had experienced His attributes of goodness, power, wisdom, patience, longsuffering, and love (see Mosiah 4:6, 11).

When Alma taught his son the importance of the scriptures to help others repent: “These records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer” (Alma 37:9).

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 John 2:3).

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7).

“Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

While pondering these scriptures, I thought on my own experiences with repentance. As the Lord has helped me to change I have come to know Him better. The happiest times of my life have been when I have repented. The times when the Lord has helped me to overcome sins and weaknesses impossible on my own, are the times when I couldn’t stop smiling. There have been special times when I have been able to stand transparent before the Lord, having joy from knowing that He finds my life acceptable. Thinking back on those experiences gives me renewed desire to further repent of my sins.

Through the experiences I have had with repentance, the testimony of Elder Richard G. Scott has become my own: “I cannot comprehend [my Savior’s] power, his majesty, his perfections. But I do understand something of his love, his compassion, his mercy. There is no burden he cannot lift. There is no heart he cannot purify and fill with joy. There is no life he cannot cleanse and restore when one is obedient to his teachings” (Richard G. Scott, “True Friends That Lift,” Ensign, Nov 1988, 76).

I look forward to the day prophesied of in Jeremiah 31:34, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

I know that these miracles—the miracle of forgiveness and the miracle of knowing the Lord—can happen to all of us because of Jesus Christ.

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