Changing for the better is an important part of repentance. It is a process of improvement offered by the Lord that can lead to perfection. We have the opportunity to repent because of Christ's atonement, and the Lord promises to forgive us when our repentance is complete. "I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Nevertheless he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven" (D&C 1)
One of the beautiful things about the restored gospel is that we know that although we are born in to a sinful, fallen, carnal world we are all born with a clean slate. We are not born in to sin and we do not become accountable for our sins until we reach the age of accountability and receive baptism. It is after this event that sin in our lives starts to be recognised by the Lord and so we need to learn at an early age that we are responsible for our actions and that we may need to make changes in our lives to correct those mistakes. Recognising the need to change our lives and acting upon that need requires a daily effort. It is necessary, however, as an ongoing part of our sincere and complete repentance.
When King Benjamin admonished his people to repent, he told them that if they truly wanted to repent they would keep the commandments (Mosiah 2). When they responded, they acknowledged that the spirit of the Lord had indeed "wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have nor more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 3). They further said "We are willing to enter in to a covenant with our God to do his will and to be obedient to his commandments in all things, all the remainder of our days" (Mosiah 3). They were willing to repent and be baptised and keep the commandments. This true repentance shows the pattern for overcoming weakness to become like Christ.
Often we hear people say that they would like to go back and live life over, knowing what they know now. Although such a wishful returning to our yesterdays is impossible, we can begin to make needed changes where we are today. There is virtually nothing that man cannot turn away from if he really wants to. There is virtually no habit that he cannot give up if he sincerely set his will to do so and will sincerely seek and accept help, the help of others and the help of his father in heaven.
We sometimes think that we are not capable of changing, that changing is just too hard, that our weaknesses are either to small or too great to change, or that we are to old or too young to begin. Such doubts keep us from seeing repentance honestly, deprive us of many blessings, and hinder our progress towards eternal life. We must remember that the Lord has made us accountable and responsible for our own acts. We each have the power to conquer faults and failings, to make changes, whether they are great or small, that will make our lives conform to gospel principles. We catalogue our weaknesses and move in against them to overcome them. Christ became perfect through overcoming. Only as we overcome shall we become perfect and move forward towards the throne of God. Through the gift of repentance we have the opportunity to change. We can overcome personal weaknesses and become Christ like. The important thing in creating a mighty change in our lives is to start now.
In concluding we all need to take a long hard look at our lives and see what needs changing through the power of repentance. We should all make a mental note and go to work as soon as we get back to our homes form this meeting. I pray that we can all find the strength to examine or lives and think upon Christ and seek his help in asking for repentance.
In The Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prophet Matthew Gill