Well, the New Year is well and truly underway and we are already into the second month. I would like to extend a salutation of goodwill and benevolence to everyone and may this year be a marvellous and awe-inspiring year for all.
No doubt you will have set your goals and made your resolutions and declarations for 2018. You have decided to change some of your not-so-good habits and work towards a new you and more positive and productive future for you, the family, and your organisation or group.
It is not an easy task to work your plans of action and overcome the obstacles that often fall on to your path. We must be committed, disciplined and persevere in order to accomplish a joyful and positive outcome.
We often make resolutions and goals to help us change and move forward from where we were yesterday to where we want to be. We think of temporal and physical goals that will hopefully encourage us to make positive steps, but sometimes we neglect the spiritual aspects of our character that is important for overall happiness and joy and success.
Here is a scripture that might assist you in making some important changes that can assist in your desire to move and progress forward. Great counsel from the apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians in The Holy Bible.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour – for we are members one of another.
“Be ye angry, and sin not – let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Neither give place to the devil.
“Let him that stole steal no more but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
“And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians, 4:22-32)
Search these verses and identify the ways we can “put off … the old man” and “put on the new man”. In what areas of your life do you feel you can more fully put off the old man and put on the new man?
Paul used the imagery of setting aside old clothing and clothing oneself in righteousness. He devoted much of the rest of Ephesians to describing the Saints’ “former conversation” – meaning the unrighteous practices the Saints should abandon – and defining the higher, more saintly manner of living they should adopt.
Paul’s counsel is simple and plain – he advised the Saints to put off the old you and put on a new you, renewed in spirit and in mind. He advises us to be more righteous and holy, to be truthful and to cease bearing false witness.
We need to have good relations with our neighbours and stop being angry. Paul instructs the Saints to be honest in their labours and to work hard towards achieving good and providing for your needs.
Paul recommends that we communicate with love and peace and positivity, building and strengthening rather than degrading and destroying with an evil tongue.
Be kind and forgiving towards each other and God will forgive you of your trespass.
We endeavour to improve in all aspects of our lives, but I believe that if we follow Paul’s counsel and strive to possess those righteous characteristics and put off the old man, then that will determine the true measure of who we really are – children of God.
As Martin Luther King Jr once said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
“Nothing worthwhile is easy. Your ability to overcome unfavourable situations will provide you with time to demonstrate your true strength and determination for success.
“Always set your standards high. Your greatest achievements lie within the infinite feats you achieve in your life.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints