The Importance of Having the Right Attitude and Perspective

How our mood and outlook affects us in our day to day lives as Christians.

My mind has been full of quotes this week, fueling my thoughts and ideas as the days have gone by. Slowly a pattern began to appear, a similar topic of reference found in each of them. The first quote was “the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” This was said at church on Sunday and subsequently led into a wonderful discussion on just how dedicated we are to living true Christian lives. That God and Christ are so focused and careful and meticulous when it comes to our lives, yet are we the same way with them and the gospel?

What is your faith dependent on? Are you being obedient for the rewards and blessings or are you being obedient so that you can become more like Christ? What is your intent in being a Christian? The blessings are not meant to be the goal, they are merely a show of God being pleased with our faith and diligence. Also, we must not let mortal wants and needs eclipse our spiritual goals. We need to look forward towards God and offer our hearts and souls to Him, not constantly look back as Lot’s wife did, wishing for what we gave up to follow God. We must focus on Heaven, not the World.

Though you are in the thick of it now, this mortal life will eventually end, the ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ part will conclude and you will die and be left standing at the throne of God. The actions we take in this life will significantly affect just how comfortable we will be in His presence. Like Joshua said, we cannot serve two masters. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “people know they should have their primary residence in Zion, but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon.” This is not the way to live. The world offers much, but fulfills little of what it promises. The more we focus on Christ, the more we will realize just how empty the world really is in comparison to what He and God offer.

We must have faith that God will be there for us and provide for us day by day and so we must believe on His words and follow after him, regardless of what the world says. For when we are running towards Heaven, we must not get caught up and trip over the pebbles that are in our way. We must be in the world, but not of it. But, we also must not be too hard on ourselves. For God and Christ knew we would falter and make mistakes- that is the whole reason that Christ went through the Atonement, so that we can use it to seek forgiveness and grow in charity and purity as we follow after Him.

We must live the gospel with joy in our hearts, wondering in awe at all that God teaches and offers us. The gospel is meant to bring peace and joy into our lives; to echo the words of Elder Holland, the words of Christ are not meant to be a battering ram to knock up down due to our weaknesses and shortcomings. The gospel and Christ’s Atonement are not meant to be a checklist or a job or a chore or a punishment there to kick us when we are down. No, they are the hand that is held out to us when we are at all lowest points, miserable and seemingly alone, an offer of help and acceptance rather than a condemnation of disapproval or anger. Everything that we have, every word that is spoken in the scriptures, comes from a place of love.

To quote John chapter 3: “16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

This is the nature of man in the battle between God and evil; to cling onto our sins and hide or deny them from the world in order to escape judgement or to step forward into the light and hand our sins to Christ in order to gain forgiveness. The gospel truly is the light and as Sister Susan H. Porter said in her talk ‘Lessons at the Well’, “How much light does it take to pierce the darkness in a room? One small ray. And that ray of light in a dark place can emanate from the power of God in you. Even though you may feel alone as the storms of life are raging, you can shine a light in the darkness of misunderstanding, confusion, and unbelief. Your light of faith in Christ can be steady and sure, leading those around you to safety and peace.”

So, when we find ourselves in the dark, lost and filled with shame, we must not hide away and give in to the darkness. We must look around and look up to find the light that exists around us- and the greatest light that we can find to help us in our struggles in the light of our Savior, even Jesus Christ. For it is through Him, that all that binds us is broken and we are made free- free from Satan, free from sin, and free from our own failings. If we only have the faith to believe in and see the joy that can be found in the gospel of Christ.

Talks/writings mentioned in this post

‘Joy and Spiritual Survival’ by Prophet and President Russell M. Nelson, October 2016 General Conference:

‘Come To Zion’ talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson where he quotes Elder Neal A. Maxwell from his book ‘A Wonderful Flood of Light’:

‘Be Ye Therefore Perfect- Eventually’ by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, October 2017 General Conference:

New Testament, John Chapter 3, verses 16 through 21:

‘Lessons at the Well’ by Sister Susan H. Porter, April 2022 General Conference: