Man’s earthly existence is but a test as to whether he will concentrate his efforts, his mind, his soul upon things which contribute to the comfort and gratification of his physical nature, or whether he will make as his life’s pursuit the acquisition of spiritual qualities.
In all of life there are stages, or processes, of growth and development. We know and accept this fact of process in the area of physical things, but understanding it in emotional area, in human relations, and even in the spiritual area, is less common and more difficult. And even though we may have this understanding, to accept it and to work on that basis is even less common and more difficult. Things in the physical area are seen, and constant evidence is supplied; but things in the other areas are largely unseen, and evidence is not as direct or as plain. Therefore, we sometimes look for a shortcut, preferring to skip some of these vital steps in order to save the time and effort and still reap the reward.
“Some think too much, and should labor more. Others labor too much, and should think more, and thus maintain an equilibrium between the mental and physical members of the individual; then you will enjoy health and vigor, will be active, and ready to discern truly, and judge quickly. Is it not your privilege to have discernment to circumscribe all things, no matter what subject comes before you, and to at once know the truth concerning any matter?” (Journal of Discourses, 3:248).
As we endeavor day by day and week by week to follow the path of Christ, our spirit asserts its preeminence, the battle within subsides, and temptations cease to trouble. There is greater and greater harmony between the spiritual and the physical until our physical bodies are transformed, in Paul’s words, from “instruments of unrighteousness unto sin” to “instruments of righteousness unto God” (see Rom. 6:13).
Becoming at one within ourselves prepares us for the greater blessing of becoming one with God and Christ.
We have the agency to choose which characteristics will define us; those choices are not thrust upon us.
The ultimate defining fact for all of us is that we are children of Heavenly Parents, born on this earth for a purpose, and born with a divine destiny. Whenever any of those other notions, whatever they may be, gets in the way of that ultimate defining fact, then it is destructive and it leads us down the wrong path.
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