At a recent addess to a gathering of Saints in Arizona, President Dallin H. Oaks shared.
“Change is almost always exciting, The changes we have experienced in our Church meetings and policies should help us, but by themselves they won’t get our members to where our Heavenly Father wants us to be. The changes that make a difference to our position on the covenant path are not changes in Church policies or practices, but the changes we make in our own desires and actions.”
This quote reminded me of the questions Alma, posed to his people. Like President Oaks, Alma spoke of the importance of an inner change. In particular he enquired about their conversion…
And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? Alma 5:14
But what was the purpose of these questions by Alma? In the preceding verses he had reminded the people three times, that their fathers experienced a change of heart. This was obvioulsy not a new concept to the people, but they had gone astray and needed a course correction…
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? Alma 5:26
It’s easy to get caught up in life, to loose perspective as to what really matters most. We can even loose that inner perspective whilst on the outside being “Busy playing churches”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to change us into better people… I love Elder Holland’s suggestion as to what Jesus may well have taught Peter, after he answered three times that famous question, do you love me…
“To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”
We all, even Peter, forget our purpose sometimes. But there is a way to remember, a way to focus on changing our hearts..… Partaking of the sacrament.
Wether you regularly attend sacrament or haven’t been for a while, come and join us this Sunday, to remember our Saviour. It will be life and heart changing.
We live in a world where living the gospel is becoming ever more important than just knowing it is true.
“Knowing that the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony. Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion” David A Bednar