Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Choose Happiness

2 Nephi 2

We know that we must pass through sorrow to know joy.  But all of us know people who don't pass through sorrow; they stay and wallow in it, become bitter, and are joyless in their lives.  Why?  Why do some people face the greatest obstacles and tragedies and come through stronger, kinder, more empathetic, and happier while others are crushed by the same obstacles and tragedies?

v. 27 Wherefore, men are afree according to the bflesh; and call things are dgiven them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to echoose fliberty and eternal glife, 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 hmiserable like unto himself.

The answer lies in who you choose to follow.  Following Christ brings happiness; following the lies of Satan make you miserable like unto himself.

v. 28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great aMediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;

These are the simple steps to following Christ:

1.  Look: He set forth the perfect example of how to live one's life in happiness.  Learn of Him, know Him, and follow that example.

2.  Hearken:  "Hearken" means more than listening.  It means giving one's full attention.  Keep his commandments.  Commandments are not restrictions, they are guidelines that lead to happiness.

3  Be faithful:  Be faithful to His words.  Where do you find His words?  In the scriptures.  Read the scriptures, feast upon them, turn to them in your darkest hours.  Help for every problem can be found there.  Reading scriptures invites the Spirit which gives you peace and comfort even in the midst of the darkest days of your hardest trials.

4.  Choose.  Choose righteousness, choose happiness, choose to live your life according to HIS will.

v. 2 9 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the aevil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to bcaptivate, to bring you down to chell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Ah, there is the final key to the puzzle.  Choose to follow the will of the Spirit over the will of the flesh.  Easy to say, but so hard to do, at least at first.  But it gets easier, much easier, because of the intercession of Jesus Christ, because of His atonement.  Because He heals us.  

Think about why we turn to the will of the flesh, why we sin:  It is because there is some hurt, some need that we are trying to fill in our lives.  We try to mask the pain through immediate gratification; some people go to extreme lengths to make it stop hurting.  But as long as we try to kill the pain according to the will of the flesh, the relief is only temporary.

When we turn to our Savior and apply His atonement in our lives, He heals us.  He takes away the loneliness, the self-doubt, the guilt, the pain.  We have no more desire to do evil, because we're not trying to kill the pain anymore.  We have passed through sorrow.  We are free to experience true joy.

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