It can often feel like living the Gospel is hard. I understand trials and struggles in mortality, but for me living the Gospel makes my life easier.
1. Making Life Easier with God’s Commandments
I recently watched the Mormon Channel’s 12 Steps to Recovery videos and felt an overwhelming sense of protection that has come because of obeying God’s commandments. Keeping commandments bring so many blessings!
I have to decide whether to keep the commandments or not. Sometimes effects of keeping commandments don’t seem as apparent, but whenever I look for a blessing as a consequence for keeping a commandment, I can find it. Some effects of breaking temporal commandments are totally visible, and others are not.
Because of the 12 Steps to Recovery participants’ raw honesty, the difference between addiction and freedom seems clear, stark, and vast. They testify of redemption and the peace that comes from living God’s laws.
“It felt like this poison was draining from my mind and heart. It felt liberating.”
“I knew my past was in my past when I understood in my gut that God was going to use it for good. Once I went in for work, now I go for God, for His children. He sustains me. No one is beyond the love and grace of Jesus. My message is simple, ‘God loves you and know you are always welcome.'”
Ezra Taft Benson taught, “When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed.”
2. Understanding the Sanctity of the Body Brings Joy
The Gospel teaches us about the body’s sanctity. When we put those beliefs into action through diet and exercise not only does it make my life easier it helps me respect my body and understand its eternal purpose.
Elder Jörg Klebingat’s recent conference address empahsized that our bodies affect our spiritual well-being and happiness.
Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. Your soul consists of your body and spirit. Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, which is a temple, usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self-esteem. If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it, then do it!
Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught that we should “regard our body as a temple of our very own” and that we should “control our diet and exercise for physical fitness.”
President Boyd K. Packer has taught “that our spirit and our body are combined in such a way that our body becomes an instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character”.
Therefore, please use good judgment in what and especially how much you eat, and regularly give your body the exercise it needs and deserves. If you are physically able, decide today to be the master of your own house and begin a regular, long-term exercise program, suited to your abilities, combined with a healthier diet.
Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit, with the help of the Savior, is truly in charge of your natural man or woman.
3. Living the Gospel Increases Ease in Family Relationships
The most important relationships in my life are with family members. They know me best — the good, bad, and ugly. My deepest sense of security and vulnerability is often in their hands. Living in a family helps me rely on others, trust others, and love others unconditionally.
The family is designed by God. The Family: A Proclamation to the World describes how living the Gospel as families brings happiness.
The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God….Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
Regardless of family shape or size, functionality or dis-functionality, I can choose to see the family as sacred and a purposeful, learning experience. Because of the Gospel, I respect my marital covenant. I honor my parents. I spend more time in all my familial relationships because I realize that they are an eternal priority.
I expect an eternal relationship with husband, parents, siblings, and extended family members, and as I strengthen these relationships, I find a deep happiness, comfort, and peace.
Oh, and I laugh a lot with my family. We think we’re pretty hilarious.
4. The Atonement Offers Peace and Joy in this Life
As I make mistakes, I can repent. (So daily.)
The Savior promised that His yoke is easy and His burden light. He asks me to cast my cares and sorrows on Him. Removing old baggage liberates my soul. I feel lighter because I am lighter.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).
By humbly acknowledging the Savior’s precious atoning gift, I am cleansed and sanctified. I can then focus energies on everything else in life besides guilt, shame, and dragging that old, yucky baggage around.
5. Eternal Perspectives Make Life Easier
The Gospel gives eternal perspective! I know I am eternal. This life isn’t the end. Believing this truth gives such purpose in suffering.
Elder Richard G. Scott and his wife lost two children in a short period of time. They soldiered through those trials with such faith and hope that Elder Scott’s father was touched and eventually baptized. Knowing the Plan of Salvation enabled the Scott’s faith to expand during hardship instead of shriveling in despair.
Believing in an afterlife brings hope and happiness to this life.
“I know a poem that says, ‘Forever—is composed of Nows.’ I didn’t want my forever to be composed of dark and fearful ‘Nows.’
And I didn’t want to live in the gloom of a bunker, gritting my teeth, closing my eyes, and resentfully enduring to the bitter end. Faith gave me the hope I needed to live joyfully now!” Dieter F. Uchtdorf
6. Life is Easier with the Holy Ghost
How can someone live this life without access to the Holy Ghost?
I’ve sought God to know that He is real and my father. I’ve prayed to know Gospel truth. I’ve begged for protection and guidance. I’ve confirmed life decisions. I’ve felt so many aspects of His witnessing power and rely on the comforting peace the Holy Ghost brings.
I still remember the first time I knew I felt the Holy Ghost. I was eight years old and had just prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. The Holy Ghost revealed truth in an answer tailored for me. During the times when I questioned my faith, that singular experience always came to mind, reminding me of what I knew to be true.
My very favorite description of the Holy Ghost is by Parley P. Pratt. When a true companion of the Holy Ghost, our divine and joyful natures are activated!
He is an intelligent being, in the Image of God, possessing every organ, attribute, sense, sympathy, and affection that is possessed by God Himself. But these are possessed by man, in his rudimental state, in a subordinate sense of the word.
Or, in other words, these attributes are in embryo, and are to be gradually developed. They resemble a bud, a germ, which gradually develops into a bloom and then, by progress, produces the mature fruit after its own kind.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections and adapts them by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use.
It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to give health, vigor, animation and social feeling.
It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.
In the presence of such persons (who have been thus affected by It), one feels to enjoy the light of their countenance, as the genial rays of a sunbeam. Their very atmosphere diffuses a thrill, a warm glow of pure gladness and sympathy of Spirit.
No matter if the parties are strangers, entirely unknown to each other, each will be apt to remark in his own mind, and perhaps exclaim, when referring to the interview- “Oh, what an atmosphere encircles that stranger! How my heart thrilled with pure and holy feelings in the presence of this person. What confidence and sympathy he inspired. His countenance and spirit gave me more assurance than a thousand written recommendations, or introductory letters.”
Such is the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and such are it’s operations, when received through the lawful channel-the Divine, Eternal Priesthood.
7. Understanding Who You Are Makes Life Easier
I am a child of God, and He has sent me here.
When I live like I really believe that I am a child of God, life’s beauties and purposes are easy to see and pursue.
God is our Father and we can have a relationship with Him and speak to Him through prayer.
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.
Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them.
Our Father promises that He will come near to us as we approach Him. I’ve thought about counting the scriptural promises that He will reveal Himself personally to us, but haven’t yet. But there are lots.
Bruce R. McConkie described the expansive revelatory opportunities we each have by comparing revelations to radio waves that are all around us. Various radio and television channels transmit images and sound that we can easily hear and see when we tune in to the channel.
And so it is with the revelations and visions of eternity. They are around us all the time. This Tabernacle is full of the same things which are recorded in the scriptures and much more. The vision of the degrees of glory is being broadcast before us, but we do not hear or see or experience because we have not tuned our souls to the wave band on which the Holy Ghost is broadcasting.
Why not tune our souls to that wave band? Why not accept the relationship promised by our Father?
Alma broke through his personal walls of sin and deception and confirmed what we innately yearn for.
I saw…God sitting upon his throne…and my soul did long to be there…I have labored without ceasing…that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste;
For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God (Alma 36:21, 24, 26).
Joy. Tasted. Seen. Known. of God.
My times of greatest joy and peace have come while living the Gospel. Troubles are minimized through the lenses of eternity. Clarity and purpose come through sanctification and revelation.
Our Father knew what would bring us happiness during mortality. It’s our opportunity to live it!