Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Continuing Forward

I like to run...well at least now I do. Most days I look forward to my daily run, but there are days both summer and winter where when that alarm goes off it takes every ounce of energy and will I have to get up and go. Sometimes I'm just tired, sometimes I don't want to brave the cold, and sometimes I'm just plane bored of the routine. BUT....what one of the main reasons I do it is for the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling that I got up and did it despite the obstacles. So....I continue forward day in and day out. I look back to when I first decided to start running and see how far I've come, but also see that I have a long ways to fact, it is a life long project. I may complete this race or that distance in a certain time or simply just cross the finish line, but there will always be another race and more importantly a new day to train.

The life/gospel lessons in my little running story are obvious....but it was a good reminder to me that my spiritual life is just like my running life. It takes constant effort despite the challenges and will never be over.

Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. This belief distinguishes Latter-day Saints from many other Christian denominations, which teach that salvation is given to all who simply believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ. Latter-day Saints believe that to be saved a person must have faith in Jesus Christ, demonstrate repentance of sins, submit to baptism by immersion, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying-on of hands by those holding the true priesthood authority, and then remain faithful to all covenants, continue in righteousness, and endure faithfully to the end of mortal life (Heb. 3:6-14; 6:4-15; Mark 13:13). This enduring faithfulness makes it possible for a person to receive fully the grace of Christ. The Doctrine and Covenants states, "If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7).

The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi taught the principle of enduring to the end as a requirement of salvation: "After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost,…and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you not to have known me…. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved" (2 Ne. 31:14-15; cf. Heb. 6:4-6). As Nephi explains, enduring to the end involves having faith, hope, and charity; faithfully following the example of Jesus Christ; and always abounding in good works (cf. Alma 7:23-24): "Unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved…. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end,…ye shall have eternal life" (2 Ne. 31:16, 20).

Enduring to the end includes being willing and prepared to endure faithfully the trials of life, as did Job, Stephen (Acts 7), Paul (2 Tim. 4:5-7), Peter (1 Pet. 1- 4), and Moroni 2 (Moroni 1:1-3). The Lord spoke this reassurance to the Prophet Joseph Smith after several months of incarceration in Liberty Jail: "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121:7-8). by John M. Madsen

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