The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

January 16, 2015

General Authorities, Maxwell, Natural Man, Repentance

Comments Off on A Call to a New and More Abundant Life

The gospel’s rich and true doctrines combine to constitute a call to a new and more abundant life, but this is a lengthy process. It requires much time, experiencing the relevant learning experiences, the keeping of covenants, and the receiving of the essential ordinances—all in order to spur us along the discipleship path of personal progression. In the journey of discipleship, we lose our old selves. The natural man and the natural woman are “put off,” and then we find ourselves become more saintly (see Mosiah 3:19). One sees such saintliness all about him in the Church—quiet, good women and men, not particularly concerned with status, who are becoming saintly. This is what should be happening in the lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yet, walking and overcoming by faith are not easy. For one thing, the dimension of time constantly constrains our perspective. Likewise, the world steadily tempts us. No wonder we are given instructive words from Jesus about the narrowness and the straightness of the only path available to return home: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He also said in that same verse, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus has laid down strict conditions.

We live in a world in which, happily, many others regard themselves as Christians. Some live rich and marvelous lives. But there are some who style themselves as Christians who admire but do not worship Jesus. Some regard Him as a great teacher but not as the Great Redeemer. Yes, Jesus is the generous Lord of the expansive universe, but He is also Lord of the narrow path! Some people forget His latter Lordship.

The ravines on both sides of that narrow path are deep and dangerous. Moreover, until put off, the shifting, heavy, unsettling burden of the natural man tilts us and sways us. It is dangerous.

Nor does the natural man or the natural woman go away quietly or easily. Hence the most grinding form of calisthenics we will ever know involves the individual isometrics required to put off the natural man. Time and again, the new self is pitted against the stubborn old self. Sometimes, just when at last we think the job is done, the old self reminds us that he or she has not fully departed yet.

A vital, personal question for each of us, therefore, is, Are we steadily becoming what gospel doctrines are designed to help us become? Or are we merely rich inheritors of an immense treasure trove of truth but poor investors in the process of personal development so essential to discipleship?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 12