Today’s message is actually not really from me. It’s from my brother, Tyler. And it actually goes pretty well with General Conference. Anyone who knew Tyler knew how devoted he was to becoming a better disciple of Jesus Christ every day. He loved others and served them when he saw a need. He always had a desire to share his testimony with anyone who would listen. He definitely was full of joy and loved to laugh and joke around to make others laugh, too. (If you don’t know his story, you can read about it here).
Lately I’ve been remembering things about him and just really relishing each memory that comes to mind. I love thinking about all the fun times we’ve had, the advice he gave, the serious discussions we enjoyed. But a few times this week, I had a saying come time mind that he always said instead of saying good-bye. “Have fun and don’t die!” Usually it was just his way of saying “Good luck!” but it always made me laugh. This week, though, it hit me a little differently. I’ll come back to it in a bit.
The world we live in today is pretty scary, if you ask me. There’s a lot that’s going on that makes me cringe every time I get on the computer, look at a TV, or turn on the radio, but then it also makes me so much more grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the testimony I have. I’m so thankful for the prophet and apostles we have to guide us through today and keep what’s right constantly on our minds. This weekend in conference, a lot of the general authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have touched on how we need to remember that if we keep our end of the deal, Heavenly Father will keep His in allowing us to always have His Spirit to be with us. Keeping our end of the deal means that we always remember Him and Jesus Christ, that we are always striving to be exactly obedient in keeping the commandments and our covenants and that we are willing to take His name upon us (AKA always be an example of Him in word and in deed). Those are the things that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have promised to do.
As difficult and painful as this mortal life, especially in this world, may be, we are taught: “Adam fell that man might be; Men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). As we keep our covenants and are obedient to the Lord’s commandments, we WILL have greater joy ((watch a wonderful video about obedience and why they are so important to our eternal happiness here)! I know this because I see and feel it in my own life. I can honestly say that I have truly been happy for the past year since figuring all this out. In another verse of the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 28:7-8) it says in regards to our day and time (the latter days):
“Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God – he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”
We canNOT afford to think the way the world thinks because it is not the way God thinks and we ARE children of God. The Lord is full of grace and truth, but there is also justice. It’s one thing to make a mistake, but it’s completely different to say: “Well, I know it’s wrong, but I’m just having fun and God wants me to be happy, right?” According to 2 Nephi 2:25, yes, God DOES want His children to be happy! He wants more than anything for us to be happy for eternity and He knows better than we do that that isn’t going to happen if we do whatever we want. He doesn’t want us to live in sin and because we are human, it’s inevitable for us to make mistakes. But there’s no reason for us to encourage that behavior. No unclean thing can dwell with God and He wants every single one of us to live with Him again! Romans 8:6 teaches us that we can’t think like the world. We can’t live the way everyone else does and gain eternal life. We HAVE to stand above the world and live according to the way the Lord would have us do because THAT is the path to eternal life and happiness. Living the Lord’s way instead of our way is the only way that we’re ever going to be able to reach our full potential as divine sons and daughters of a loving Father in Heaven.
So. Tyler’s message to us all is still the same as it ever was: “Have fun and don’t die!” but this time, instead of a simple good luck, he’s rooting for us to be happy, enjoy life and stay alive spiritually. I know that the only way to achieve all of these things together is by submitting my will to God’s. I know that, I know Tyler knows that, and I know God knows that and that is why all of us are cheering for YOU to come to know it for yourself and to do everything you can to act on that wonderful precious knowledge if you don’t already.
So now that I’ve told you, do you know it? If you do, then what are you going to do about it?