Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

What Does Repentance Mean?

            My Come, Follow Me studies took me to Psalms 49-86. The book of Psalms is not my favorite book of scripture, but it has some good teachings. This lesson was introduced by the following information. 

The writers of the Psalms shared deeply personal feelings in their poetry. They wrote about feeling discouraged, afraid, and remorseful. At times, they even seemed to feel abandoned by God, and some psalms carry a tone of frustration or desperation. If you’ve ever had feelings like these, reading the Psalms can help you know that you aren’t the only one. But you’ll also find psalms that can encourage you when you’re having such feelings, because the psalmists also praised the Lord for His goodness, marveled at His power, and rejoiced in His mercy. They knew that the world is burdened by evil and sin but that the Lord is “good, and ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5). They understood that having faith in the Lord doesn’t mean that you’ll never struggle with anxiety, sin, or fear. It means that you know Who to turn to when you do.

            The lesson material and scriptures contain several principles, but this discussion will consider only one: I can be forgiven of my sins because of the Savior’s mercy (Psalms 51; 85-86). King David was guilty of adultery and murder (see the story in 2 Samuel 11), and he pleads for mercy for his sins in Psalm 51. You and I might not be guilty of either adultery or murder, but we should be able to relate to King David’s need for mercy as he expressed in this psalm.

            Psalms 51; 85-86, teach us about the attitude that me need for true repentance. They teach us about the effect of the Atonement of Christ in one’s life as well as phrases that describe the Lord. All of these help us to learn more about the Lord Jesus Christ.

            In the April 2019 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson spoke on the topic of repentance. His address to the brethren of the Church of Jesus Christ was titled “We Can Do Better and Be Better.” He said the following in the opening minutes of his address. 

The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta- means “change.” The suffix -noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.”

Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit – even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.

Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance – of doing and being a little better each day.

When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy – the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!

            I have written about agency many times in past posts. Heavenly Father gave agency to each of His spirit children, while we lived with Him in the pre-earth world. We brought agency with us when we were born into mortal life. Agency means the right or freedom to choose – what we say, where we go, and what we do. The Constitution of the United States protects agency because no one can be truly free without agency.

            The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ contains part of the history of an ancient American prophet by the name of Lehi and his posterity. Shortly before his death, Lehi taught his children and grandchildren about the principle of agency. As part of those teachings, he taught the following:

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27).

            Agency is a free gift to each of us from God, and He expects each of us to use our agency to make righteous decisions. However, He knows that none of us will choose the right every single time, so He prepared a way to make corrections in our life. He sent His Son, even Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. Through His death and resurrection, He overcame death and sin, and He made it possible for each of us to overcome death and sin.

All mortals will eventually be resurrected because of the Atonement of Christ. However, we “are free choose liberty and eternal life … or the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Nephi 2:27). Our decisions will determine our destiny, or where we spend eternity. The choice is ours. If we want eternal joy, we choose to repent, change, and become like the Savior.

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