Well…we are more than half-way through the study series! So far we have studied everything leading up to the point of mortality: our pre-mortal estate, Satan and his influence in the plan of salvation, the creation, the fall, and the need for an atonement. We can see how we got here. Today, we’re going to study mortality (birth, lives, and death) – why we are here.
In 2 Nephi, Lehi teaches:
” And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” – 2 Nephi 2:21
Our mortal lives aren’t meant to be some kind of cakewalk. Of course, we should enjoy life, but mortality is probation—it is a test. And here’s a fun alliteration to help you remember the purpose of it all: Probation: Penitence and Preparation
First of all, we should understand what probation is. In general: probation means a time of testing. In the context of the Plan of Salvation, the duration of our probation is our mortal lives, and in Abraham we learn exactly what the Lord will test us on:
”And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;” – Abraham 3:25
During this probation, we are tested on our faith, on our thoughts, words, and deeds. We are tested on our willingness to obey. We have been given everything we can to ace the test (the gospel). We simply need to be willing to repent and prepare to meet God.
Technically, penitence, or the willingness to repent, is part of preparing to meet God, but I thought that it would be fun to have three “p”-words. Additionally, repentance is important enough to be treated as its own subject.
Repentance is essential in passing our probation. When we repent, we enable the atonement to take effect in our lives. Without repentance, the atonement is pretty much worthless. We will talk more about the atonement and repentance in the coming days. It is important to recognize, however, that mortality is a time to recognize the atonement and allow it to cover our sins and weakness.
If we don’t repent, then meeting God will be a highly uncomfortable thing. Concerning the unrepentant, Alma teaches,
”For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.” – Alma 12:14
We need to repent during our mortal lives.
Of course, repentance is the most important step in preparation, but there are other things that we can and should do to prepare to meet God again. Here is a list of ways we can prepare to meet God. (This list is not all inclusive!)
- Prayer – Communicate with God. What better way to prepare to meet God than by opening a dialogue with Him while on earth.
- Study Scriptures – In the scriptures, we will learn more about the Savior. We learn more about God. Not only that, but often the Lord speaks to us, personally, in the scriptures. Through these experiences we build a relationship with Him, and He can help guide us on how we ought to prepare for the eventual meeting we will have with Him.
- Make Covenants (and keep them) – In order to prepare to meet God, there are certain covenants we need to make. This will be discussed more when we study the Doctrine of Christ.
- Have a family – The Family is central to God’s plan for us. (See The Family: A Proclamation.) Not only is it central to our salvation, but I think that we really learn more about God when we participate in a family. We learn to love others. As parents, especially, we understand the love that we have for our children, and what it means about how God feels about us. A family is great training for meeting God.
- Serve others – In order to be prepared to meet God, we need to serve others. (See Mosiah 2:17). We learn from King Benjamin that when we serve others, we’re also serving God. Additonally, King Benajamin teaches:
“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” – Mosiah 5:13
If we want to be prepared to meet God, then we must know Him. And serving others will help us to know and love our God.
- Live with a grateful heart – I say this because as we come to know God, we will begin to see the way that He blesses our lives. Having a grateful heart will help us to take advantage of the world around us. We can express our gratitude – not only through prayer, but also as we seek to improve our talents, when we go on walks, when we write in our journals, when we go to work, and even in our trials. We can express our gratitude in so many ways.
Preparing to meet God not only will help us pass our probation, but it will make life richer. We will be blessed for our obedience now, and we also learn to live a deliberate life. We also know that the nature of God is the nature of happiness. As we prepare to meet Him, we come to know Him. We begin to see Him in everything. Not only can the Lord and His love be felt as we pray and read the scriptures, but as we come to know the Lord, we will see that His love is expressed in the world around us: each flower, a monsoon, the smile on a child’s face – begin to be small testimonies of God’s love for us. We will see that our lives are abundant with His blessings. And, though we go through trials – though our mortal lives are frought with sickness and sin, preparing to meet God will not only help us in the future, but will bless us with an abundant life now.
There will be a time when we meet God. We can use our mortal lives to repent and ready ourselves for that moment. As we do, we will come to know the Lord, we will know His love for us, and we will qualify for His best blessings. As Jesus states:
”And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3
What are you doing to prepare to meet God as you navigate this mortal life? How does it make you feel to know that God has a purpose and plan for life on earth? How has repentance and preparation blessed your life?