The beginning of every year is generally a time of self-assessment where a lot of us look at some of the systems and habits we have created in our lives and then set goals in the areas where we want to change. “Remember your WHY!” is a phrase I have heard many times with regards to goal setting, especially in the area of health and fitness (one of the main areas people set goals in). When you set goals, they say, it is really important to remember WHY you want to do it. If you don’t keep your WHY on the forefront, you will likely join the huge percentage of people that give up shortly after they begin (because it seems too hard) and go back to the old, not-so-great habits (because it is easier, more convenient). If you know someone who is healthy and physically fit, you know that they are making conscious, consistent, decisions and actions every day about their calorie input and output. If you know someone who is “spiritually fit,” or exhibits Christ-like attributes and is clearly filled with the spirit of The Lord, then you know they are making conscious, consistent decisions and actions everyday with regards to their spiritual health……decisions like regular scripture study, prayer, patient responses, and service to those in need. These kinds of choices are rarely easy or convenient, but well worth the effort when the resulting peace and blessings come.
Have you ever noticed what takes place anytime you start something new? (a new positive habit, a new job, an academic subject, musical instrument, or exercise program?). At first things are a little shaky while you are learning the ropes, but as you steadily baby step it into a regular part of your life, you learn it a little at a time and get better and better. On the flip side, as soon as you quit doing said activity for a period of time, there tends to be quite the backslide. This happened the other day when my son pulled out a song he hadn’t played in a while. When I heard him play it back in September it was nearly flawless. When he tried to play it for me this past Saturday it was almost as if he were seeing it for the first time.
Isn’t that similar to how spirituality works? The more our actions line up with true discipleship, the more the Lord gives us an increase of wisdom—-a little at a time— if we start where we are and continue forward…..keep going…..and remember our WHY.
The Book Of Mormon Prophet, Nephi says in 2Nephi 28:30:
“For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”
Isaiah 28:10 also says: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
So……what is the WHY for a life of discipleship to Jesus Christ—a life focused on a more godly way? Here are a few of mine:
A high level of good feelings—like Paul says in Galatians 5:22—-love, joy, peace, faith (……look around. MANY people are missing this in their lives). Comfort, hope, security, blessings, strength to withstand temptation (that if I succumb to, would steal away all those good feelings and rob me of happiness). Clarity and direction. Motivation to continue through the daily grind and “mundane.” A good example for our kids to follow to help them achieve the happiest possible life (in a world that promotes a counterfeit plan exactly opposite of God’s). And extra help through the painful challenges of life.
When the Lord said “For my yoke is easy, my burden is light” in Matthew 11:30, He meant that if we choose to yoke ourselves with Him the way they used to yoke oxen to drastically increase their wagon pulling capacity, then our strength to carry the burdens in our wagons is drastically increased, making them feel light. We can pull using just our own strength, or we can team up with The Lord.
One of my favorite speakers, Sheri Dew, Said:
“Get clear about who we are! He saved us for these last days. Get on your knees and ask the Lord how He feels about you if you’re not sure. He will let you know.” “We were held in reserve to come to the earth at this time…..we can either walk around relying on our own puny strengths and talents, or we can learn how to access God’s help and power.”