Article of Faith 2 says, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression." The opposite is also true; I will be rewarded for my good choices and can't ride the coattails of some other good person. Exploring the idea of free agency or choice and its effect on accountability refreshed my mind to my responsibility for my eternal welfare. While exploring this idea, I came upon an interesting article, Earthly Choices, Eternal Consequences, D. Chad Richardson, Ensign, July 2004. Many things I relate today will be paraphrased from that article.
The ability to have hope in the Resurrection depends upon my earthly choices. Resurrection will bring me either joy and peace or misery and fear, depending upon my willingness to walk with God and my willingness to repent of sin. It is so vital to repent as I go along and strive to improve my weaknesses. After Katie's untimely accident and death, I know that life is unpredictable. While I may live a very long life like my now 97-year-old grandmother, I know I may perish today from an accident or tomorrow from a pathogen. "This life is the time...to prepare to meet God...Behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed...For that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” Alma 34:32–34.
Who I am and who I'm with in Heaven depends upon my choices today. But I don't walk alone. Jesus offers to deliver me from temptations, cleanse my filthiness, and free me from addictions (addictions aren't necessarily drugs and the like but anything that stimulate the desires of the flesh wrongly and are difficult to stop). If we let desires of the flesh dominate our spirit, we become carnally minded. Yes, Jesus' grace is sufficient to save me, nevertheless, He requires that I do all I can to become the best me I can become by following His example. 2 Nephi 25:23, 2 Nephi 31:12, Mosiah 15:5 Many of God’s commandments, including the commandments to be morally clean, to fast, to control my emotions, and to obey the Word of Wisdom, help me break the power of Satan. As I willingly obey, I follow Christ in subjecting carnal desires to the will of the Spirit. Jesus and His Atonement are my hope in overcoming temptations and wrongful desires of the flesh.
The world increasingly ridicules God's standards of morality, modesty, spirituality, honesty, missionary service, and family roles. Lehi said, “We heeded them not,” 1 Ne. 8:33. I must do as Lehi. If I chose to set carnal appetites and popularity with the world above God's standards, I would betray the love of God and give the devil power over me. To come unto Christ and be perfected in him (Moro. 10:32), I must deny myself of all ungodliness, love God, put Him above worldly approval, repent when I don't make right choices, continue in faith, and be sanctified through the grace of Christ. This is both hard and easy. My mortal body gets fatigued and moral emotions get out of control. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. Nevertheless, I am happiest living according to the will of God and the example of Jesus Christ. If I choose Christ, I can walk with hope in my heart that I will hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant.