Opinion

New year is a time for inspirational changes | Interfaith | Jan. 23

By BRAD HEPWORTH

We consider any new year a new start, a time to change and improve. Resolutions are made. Suddenly, those who regularly go to work out find themselves in the midst of many strangers, most of whom are long-time gym members. But this situation will usually be for only a week or two.

Personal change can be a struggle. It must start with a true commitment. We generally want to stay healthy and get away from unhealthy habits. This is best accomplished by simply doing it. I’ve spoken with people who’ve stopped smoking. Most of them tell me they’ve stopped many times. It’s best to make a deep commitment and turn completely from the bad habit. This continues to be a challenge for us.

In our fast-paced, stressful world we still generally try to do good things for our physical and mental health. Spiritual health, on the other hand, is sometimes ignored or not considered. It troubles me to see so many people in such a rush, bedecked with cell phones, pagers, ear phones of all types and many are continually bombarded by music or information of some sort. This leaves us little, if any, time to ponder where we came from, why we are here, or where we go after death.

We are all spiritual beings as well as physical beings. Our spirit lives in our mortal body. When our body dies our spirit lives on eternally. Some would like to write God out of life, abandoning our eternal existence to a finite existence. I find no hope in this belief. Faith begins with hope as stated by an ancient prophet of God on the American continent:

“And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity. And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.”

We are all spiritual children of a loving, kind, Father in Heaven. He wants the very best for us all but has sent us to this earth to live by faith. It is my testimony that God is real and lives. He knows each of us personally and waits to help us. This knowledge can bring us true happiness and inner peace. We just need to come to Him in humble personal prayer. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

May God bless you all in this endeavor.

Brad Hepworth is the bishop for the Bainbridge Island Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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