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My New Year's Resolution

In my ward I am the Aaronic Priesthood adviser. I teach the young men, ages 12-18, a lesson each week about being bearers of the priesthood and how to be righteous boys who will turn into righteous husbands and fathers.

The first Aaronic Priesthood lesson of this year was on Who Am I? Since the beginning of each new year often brings New Year’s resolutions, I led off with instructing the boys that sometimes the best resolutions we can make are not necessarily the ones that others can see. While the stereotypical resolutions of “go to the gym,” “lose weight,” and “stop smoking” are noble pursuits, cleaning the inner vessel is possibly more important as it affects our spirituality and can help bring us closer to God.

As I personally contemplated what my resolutions would be this year my mind was drawn to various scriptures that have to deal with improving my character attributes.

Alma 7:23-24:

23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

24 And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
and of course the Sermon on the Mount which can be found in both Matthew 5 and in 3 Nephi 12.
As I was contemplating how to go about working on improving these characteristics I was drawn to the Church’s excellent guide used by the missionaries around the world, Preach My Gospel, especially the 6th chapter, entitled “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes? [pdf].” It’s an excellent resource, full of scripture references on ways that we as individuals can work on improving our faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. At the end of the chapter is a great activity for self-reflection in which you rate your self on a scale of 1-5 in over 50 aspects. I highly recommend it.
We have been commanded by our Savior to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).” However, Christ is the only person who ever has been, is, or will be perfect on this Earth. The Aaronic Priesthood lesson from this week had a great quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie in explaining why we have been commanded to be perfect if it is not attainable in this life:

“There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect and live all of the laws strictly, wholly, and completely [to be eligible for eternal life], there would be only one saved person in eternity. The prophet [Joseph Smith] taught that there are many things to be done, even beyond the grave, in working out our salvation.

“And so what we do in this life is chart a course leading to eternal life. That course begins here and now and continues in the realms ahead. We must determine in our hearts and in our souls, with all the power and ability that we have, that from this time forward we will press on in righteousness; by so doing we can go where God and Christ are. If we make that firm determination, and are in the course of our duty when this life is over, we will continue in that course in eternity (The Seven Deadly Heresies).”
So as this new year dawns, my resolution is to turn towards my inner self, examine areas that I know need work, questions that I rated a 1 or a 2 on the aforementioned activity, and strive to be more like our Savior.
May God bless all of you in this new year!

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