Do you become like the Savior? If so, it must begin with your choice. The way to live a full and happy life is to look to Jesus Christ in every thought, word, and deed. President Russell M. Nelson has taught that, “the joy [Latter-day Saints] feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives”.1 You know right from wrong. A favorite hymn teaches, “Choose the right when a choice in placed before you.”2
Book of Mormon prophet Lehi taught his sons that they have two choices of how to live their lives. “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” (2 Nephi 2:27). You must choose to be obedient.
In His Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, “Ye are the light of the world.” He asked you to let your light shine so that others would see your good works and glorify Father in Heaven (see Matthew 5:14, 16). When you choose to put the Lord first, your heart is more prepared to serve others. This is basic doctrine, the two great commandments. As you know and love the Lord, your desire to lift those around you will grow. Knowing who you are as a child of God will naturally lead you to want to serve your brothers and sisters (see Matthew 22:36–40). Loving the Lord and your neighbor is what brings true joy!
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well not really because of the influence of the evil one. Satan is always lurking. As the Savior continues to hasten His work, the father of all lies wields his influence in so many ways. In this world you will have tribulation. It’s almost unbearable at times and many wonder why they must deal with such challenging issues. I certainly don’t know why there are so many hardships, but you are here to do as He did. His life was filled with mortal struggles, from His humble birth in a manger to his ultimate death on a cross. His kingdom was not of this world, yet He came to free us from the bonds of sin and death. Like every prophet from Adam to our current prophet, the Savior’s life in this telestial kingdom was fraught with hardship, poverty and pain, yet He spoke of an easy yoke and a light burden (see Matthew 11:30).
He had to overcome the world and so must you! This mortal existence is preparing you for greater things to come. You are on an eternal journey to be like Him, and you must find a way to conquer these earthly trials and to submit your will to Christ. You must always choose Jesus Christ. He was, is and always will be the answer!
The Savior teaches you not to lay up treasures on earth (see Matthew 6:19) but to seek first the kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 6:33). What does that mean to you personally? When your attention is on the arm of flesh you become caught up in worldly pursuits. Worrying about likes on social media, or how you appear to others, or if you are conforming to the standards of any group, club, tribe, or cultural norm will bring anxiety, insecurity, sorrow, and fear rather than the peace you feel when you follow whisperings of the Spirit to become more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught this important lesson, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (See Galatians 5:22–23). The choice is yours! What changes do you need to make in order to be happy and free as you follow the Savior and choose to be more like Him?
I invite you to let go of anything that separates you from God. I promise that as you move away from negative behaviors and focus on obeying the Savior with full purpose of heart, your life will immediately begin to improve. You will be liberated from worldly influences as you choose to repent through the gift of His infinite Atonement. You will be strong enough to leave your old self behind and find the exquisite joy of being “encircled about eternally in the arms of His love” (2 Nephi 1:15).
I testify that you will feel more joy as you choose the Savior in everything you say and do. By centering your life on Jesus Christ, you will become more like Him! You will receive His image in your countenance (see Alma 5:14) as you willingly choose His culture and His commandments.