A brand new year has come. We bid farewell to past mistakes and negative thoughts behind. It’s time to make things anew and renew ourselves to a better and brighter future. It’s the time of the year when we come into full retrospection and reevaluation of the choices we made last year and start writing down our plans and goals for the days, weeks and months ahead. As you sit down and take note of some salient points you want to achieve for 2017, may these simple things be part of your plans and goals in life — study, pray, and serve.
1. I WILL STUDY MORE DILIGENTLY.
Jesus taught us to: “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118). He also commanded us to “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)
A daily study of the scripture is like putting oil to our lamps in order for us to shine our light. Our testimony grows, our faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened and we will be better at making decisions every day of our lives. We receive divine revelations as we carefully read them every day, at least for 30 minutes or so.
As you do your personal study, you may also secure a pen and a study journal to write down some of your thoughts or sudden strokes of impressions. Markers or colored pens will also help highlight your favorite quotes or scripture verses.
Our study to spiritual matters is as essential as learning to secular things. At some point in time, we will find ourselves in the role of a provider in which may require educational attainment or work experience. Resolve to continue furthering your knowledge and expanding your horizons so you can better provide for yourself and for your family. Strive to be self-reliant and not too overly dependent on others.
May we be reminded of the words in 2 Nephi 9: 28-29:
“O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.”
“But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”
The key here is to find balance in acquiring secular and spiritual learning. Put your best efforts toward studying more effectively the gospel of Jesus Christ and striving to learn more about the world around you.
2. I WILL PRAY MORE EARNESTLY.
The Lord has counseled us to “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.” (D&C 10:5)
If you have been praying every day of your life, pray even more. Prayer is a shield from Satan’s fiery darts. As the Lord is hastening His work, Satan is also doubling his strength so he can lure us into his traps and be led away from the path of truth and righteousness.
The words in 2 Nephi 32: 8-9 always ring true:
“… if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.”
“But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”
Each time we earnestly pray and think of Him, we will have the blessings, guidance, protection, support and comfort we need to face the difficult trials and challenges in life. When we offer our heartfelt gratitude unto Him through prayer, the more we find peace in our hearts and happiness each and every day of our lives. The moment we pray fervently, the more our burdens may become lighter.
3. I WILL SERVE MORE WILLINGLY.
In Doctrine and Covenants 58: 27, it says:
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness”.
Opportunities to serve are all around you. The question sometimes is, “How?” or “Where should I begin?” Your participation in #LightTheWorld campaign was a good start. By doing small and simple things, you will bring much light to those whom you serve.
Howard W. Hunter taught, “You will be most happy and successful in life whose interests are coupled with giving assistance to others and helping them find the way.”
Little acts of kindness may not be recognized with attention and applause, but they are recognized by the heavens. Simple things will help a lot. A small note of appreciation will do. Saying the magic words “Thank You” and a surprise text or phone call may brighten other people’s day. You may also share some words of inspiration and encouragement to your every one around you. Giving of a little of what we have can mean a lot to others (i.e. a listening ear, time, effort, talents, skills, love, etc.)
King Benjamin also reminds us in Mosiah 2: 17:
“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”
In this year and all throughout, may we continue to study more diligently, pray more earnestly and serve more willingly. If we do so, we will become better people than we were before. We will become “agents unto ourselves” and we “shall in nowise lose our reward”. We’ll find meaning to our existence and we will be happier than ever.
You keep learning. Always praying. And serving. Even more!