As I ponder on the many great blessings that my Father in Heaven has given to me, one comes to the forefront of my mind. In Romans 8:16 it reads, " The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." We are literally the Sons and Daughters of God. What does this mean to us? The next verse reveals the answer. Romans 8:17 says, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." The greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given to us is the opportunity to exist and to become like Him. We are literally heirs to all the Father has to offer. What great potential!
How do we live up to this potential though? The answer is that we choose to live up to our potential. It is a simple choice made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we choose to follow Him then we can become clean and become heirs of God. The key word here is "choose." We have been given our agency or free will to make decisions for ourselves and to act on them. Because God loves us he has not made it a difficult decision. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we are given our options. It reads, " Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And 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; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." These options are cut and dry. Happiness or Misery? Your choice.
It is true, however, that sometimes this choice is hard to make. It is hard to make because most of us do not have self control. This is why I chose to write a blog entry entitled "Tempered Soul." The Christ-like attribute of Temperance has been on my mind recently. Temperance is habitual moderation in all things. I feel that I often lose control and let my appetites and passions overrule my good judgment and decision making. Although I know perfectly well what I should be doing or how I should be acting, I let the carnal man take over. Thoughts of I'm too tired to keep going or that ice cream looks really good seem to always flash before me. As I give in to these temptations who has control? The carnal man takes over and my agency is now limited. Temperance is the ability to maintain 100% of our agency at all times.
How do we go about obtaining temperance? Like all Christ-like attributes, it is a gift from God. We must pray with all the energy of our hearts to obtain it but it can only be given to us if we are qualified to receive it. We qualify for this attribute by focusing on spiritual things. As we put God first, we become moderate in all things. Often times, it is hard to put God first because we are to caught up on the worldly consequences of doing so. A few verses in the book of Hebrews has always stuck out to me concerning this issue. In Hebrews 11:24-26 it reads, " By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." Moses refused Earthly wealth and glory because he had a spiritual perspective. He knew that no title or material possession can continue on with us into the next life. He recognized that everything God has to offer is eternal and therefor is of greater worth than any worldly reward. If we could take a deep breath before each decision and weigh the eternal consequences of our choices, how much more happiness would there be in the world? How many broken families would be made whole? The powers of hell would be shaken forever.
It is my testimony to you that putting God first in our lives gives us the opportunity to make decisions with 100% of our agency. As we view our lives with a spiritual eye, we are blessed with temperance. We are blessed with the ability to choose happiness all the time. The next time that you feel the carnal man pulling you in a certain direction, take a deep breath and weigh the consequences of your choices. I know that if you do this you will be happy. You will no longer be plagued by the weakness of flesh and you can become free. Free to choose God.