The natural man and woman can be selfish, lazy, proud, profane, hateful, angry, dishonest, deceiving, hurtful and many other negative attributes. Our challenge is to overcome these natural tendencies and become more like the Savior. The apostle Paul said, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 24 in the Bible) Another ancient prophet explained it this way, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love…” (Mosiah 3: 19 p. 153 in the Book of Mormon)
Are We Aiming Our Lives Toward God?
“We believe in the divine potential of all of God’s children and in our ability to become something more in Christ. In the Lord’s timing, it is not where we start but where we are headed that matters most. To demonstrate this principle, I will draw on some basic math. It starts with the formula for a line. The intercept, for our purposes, is the beginning of our line. The intercept can have either a high or a low starting point. The slope of the line can then be positively or negatively inclined. We all have different intercepts in life—we start in different places with different life endowments. Some are born with high intercepts, full of opportunity. Others face beginning circumstances that are challenging and seem unfair. We then progress along a slope of personal progress. Our future will be determined far less by our starting point and much more by our slope. Jesus Christ sees divine potential no matter where we start. He saw it in the beggar, the sinner, and the infirm. He saw it in the fisherman, the tax collector, and even the zealot. No matter where we start, Christ considers what we do with what we are given. While the world focuses on our intercept, God focuses on our slope. In the Lord’s calculus, He will do everything He can to help us turn our slopes toward Him.
This principle should give comfort to those who struggle and pause to those who seem to have every advantage. Some individuals face difficult starting circumstances, including poverty, limited access to education, and challenging family situations. Others face physical challenges, mental health constraints, or strong genetic predispositions. For any struggling with difficult starting points, please recognize that the Savior knows our struggles. ‘And he (Savior) will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.’ (Alma 7: 12 in the Book of Mormon). Let me share two areas of encouragement for those facing difficult starting circumstances. First, focus on where you are headed and not where you began. It would be wrong to ignore your circumstances—they are real and need to be addressed. But overfocusing on a difficult starting point can cause it to define you and even constrain your ability to choose.
Second, involve the Lord in the process of lifting your slope. Lord will help you more than you can help yourself. Involve the Lord in this process. The prophet Nephi taught “that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23 in the Book of Mormon). We must do our best, which includes repentance, but it is only through the Lord’s grace that we can realize our divine potential. Regardless of whether we start in abundant or difficult circumstances, we will realize our ultimate potential only when we make God our partner. (From remarks by Clark G. Gilbert, “Becoming More in Christ: The Parable of the Slope” in the Liahona Magazine November, 2021)
We each have a Spark of Divinity
Each of us have a spark of divinity in us as sons and daughters of God! What a marvelous truth!
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8: 16-17 in the Bible) We are sons and daughters of God and God has an important plan for each of us. Our existence on the earth with a mortal body housing our divine eternal spirits is an important step in our progress to become heirs of a loving Heavenly Father and beloved Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately many of the children of God do not understand their divine heritage and waste their lives following many wrong selfish paths trying to find happiness without God in their lives. Regardless of where we started in life our slope in life should be toward our loving Heavenly Father and beloved Savior Jesus Christ.