This week I studied the sermon, Decisions for Eternity by Russell M. Nelson. Although none of the ideas were new, they struck me in a new way. All quotes are from this sermon unless otherwise noted. Since I cannot copy every sing quote that touched me, I hope everyone who stumbles upon my humble journal will read the whole thing and look up the scriptures in the footnotes.
"We should ever revere the worth of human life, through each of its many stages. Scripture teaches that the body and the spirit are the soul of man. As a dual being, each of you can thank God for His priceless gifts of your body and your spirit, Doctrine and Covenants 88:15...My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing!...The aging process is also a gift from God, as is death. The eventual death of your mortal body is essential to God’s great plan of happiness. Why? Because death will allow your spirit to return home to Him.13 From an eternal perspective, death is only premature for those who are not prepared to meet God...With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a “temple of God.” Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as your temple. That truth—refreshed gratefully each day—can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny. How could this be? Because your body is the temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit. Some of the decisions that will determine your eternal destiny include: How will you choose to care for and use your body? What spiritual attributes will you choose to develop?"
This is the idea that touched me so....my decisions determine my eternal destiny. So...caring carefully for my body is more important than most think. The Word of Wisdom is God's modern day revelation on how to care for personal temples or bodies. My story of illness and road to recovery was recently included in a new book: Discovering the Word of Wisdom by Jane Birch. It's filled with scripture and prophecies, illustrating the need and commandment to live according to the dietary plan of the Word of Wisdom. Also found are modern scientific studies that back up the Word. Plus, it's a pretty easy and fast read. No, my health is not perfect. A lifetime of wrong eating and laziness aren't wiped away instantly. However, now that I am eating according to the dos AND don'ts of the Word of Wisdom, I have times a great energy and am slowly regaining my lost vigor. My body is a temple and needs proper fuel and maintenance including high quality plant foods, excellent adequate sleep, and daily gentle exercise.
But...physical food isn't enough as Elder Nelson indicated.
"Your Heavenly Father has known you for a very long time. You, as His son or daughter, were chosen by Him to come to earth at this precise time, to be a leader in His great work on earth. You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others. You developed some of these attributes premortally. Others you can develop here on earth as you persistently seek them...A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite. Self-mastery builds a strong conscience. And your conscience determines your moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations. Fasting helps your spirit to develop dominance over your physical appetites. Fasting also increases your access to heaven’s help, as it intensifies your prayers. Why the need for self-mastery? God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated. When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy."
Self-mastery of appetites goes beyond foods and morality. We have appetites to rule and reign over others, when the Savior taught humility and charity. Temper and greed and theft and coveting and back biting and gossip so on and so forth all require self-mastery. When I faithfully take time daily to feast upon the words of Christ, my attempts to master my faults become more powerful. I am different. It seems my life is happier. Fasting and prayer are also part of this. Although I'm far from perfect, my testimony of daily devotionals is strong and proven.
"We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He loves you—each of you! He allows you to access His power as you keep His commandments, eagerly, earnestly, and exactly. It is that simple and certain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change! A strong human spirit with control over appetites of the flesh is master over emotions and passions and not a slave to them. That kind of freedom is as vital to the spirit as oxygen is to the body! Freedom from self-slavery is true liberation!"
"Regardless of what civil legislation may be enacted, the doctrine of the Lord...cannot be changed. Remember: sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God! While we are to emulate our Savior’s kindness and compassion, while we are to value the rights and feelings of all of God’s children, we cannot change His doctrine. It is not ours to change. His doctrine is ours to study, understand, and uphold."
So when the world puts forth doctrines of selfishness and indulgence, we must keep to the straight and narrow road. Our very destiny depends upon it.