In one of the large cities of this world there is a man standing at the window of his apartment, looking at the gray colors of a rainy day. “This is not an ordinary day,” he reflects to himself as he watches the two young men, who have just paid him a visit, disappearing on their bicycles at the end of the road. He is becoming aware of how richly his life has been blessed since he began to listen to the spirit radiated by these two humble ambassadors of the Lord from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This truly is not an ordinary day, for on this day he was allowed, by invitation of the two young missionaries, to make a covenant with his Heavenly Father for the remission of his sins through baptism and to receive the Holy Ghost for himself.
“I always thought that I was not a big sinner,” he reflects. “I have always provided for my family. I was a good father, and I was a good husband to my beloved late wife.”
He remembers how his life was brought into a new perspective when he, for the first time in his life, learned from the two young men how to truly pray—not to say just a few nice words, but to open up his heart in sacred communication with his Heavenly Father. Oh, what great joy came into his heart as he learned from the missionaries that he is indeed literally a child of a loving Heavenly Father! With an ever-increasing light within himself, he now understands the true purpose of the pain, frustrations, and strugglings of his earlier life that became an instigating influence to make him think, to make him search, and to make him become an earnest seeker of the truth so that he was ready to listen as these two young men came knocking at his door.
Oh, how much he has learned since that first sacred experience of opening his heart and speaking to his Father! Suddenly he understands the deep, meaningful purpose of his life. He is now aware, in the depths of gratitude, of the many precious blessings of every day with its opportunities to serve and help. With an ever-increasing awareness of the need for constant repentance, he is able to fill all the hours of his life with the presence of this Spirit and, therefore, with great joy. He feels with each new day as if the sun of a beautiful spring morning is quickening and refreshing his soul after a long, dark, Arctic night.
In the light of this Spirit within him, he sees the people of this world as they are—running around in their vanity, in their vain ambitions, and in their lack of awareness of the greatness of God and His plan of salvation. He is learning to understand that the only burden, the only pain, and the only frustration of a human being is the burden of wrongdoing—the burden of sin. “Oh, what a sacred experience,” he reflects, “to learn about myself and the majestic request by the Spirit to grow in the dimensions of honesty, to grow in the dimensions of exercising the pure love of Christ, to be able to forgive, to have patience, to understand, and to overcome laziness, procrastination, and other cravings of the carnal mind.”
He understands that God was always there but that he himself was blinded—blinded through the traditions of his environment. He reflects on the truth of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1–2.)
He can now see that no matter how numerous the sins of a human being can be, they all can be traced back to one single source or origin—the laziness, complacency and blindness that keeps us from looking and searching for our God and King in every phase of our lives and becoming totally His disciples. For the first time he understands the words of the Lord, Jesus Christ, when He said:
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24–25.)
He understands that the Lord knew there could be no compromise made. When we are not fully dedicated, we cannot truly stand in His light and be His disciples.
“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61–62.)
In light of this Spirit within him, he is not afraid of what his friends and relatives might think of him now that he has taken upon himself Christ’s name. Perhaps they will not understand, and maybe they will make fun of him. But he feels now how easy it will be to love them anyway, because he understands them better than ever before; and he will do everything that is in his heart to show real interest in them, that they might be filled with light to penetrate the darkness of their lives.
He understands, in the light and the power of the Holy Ghost, what a privilege it is that the Lord allows and commands us to pay a full tithe and invites us to give service, that we can show through our actions every day how much we love our Heavenly Father.
No, it is not difficult to say good-bye to the world with its craving for lust, its thirst for pleasure, and its quest for power, leaving the world groping in the mire of egoism. He understands that, as he is placing his life in the hand of Heavenly Father, he has now become a disciple of Christ, and he has experienced the sweetness of the divine light in its fullness—the light and power of the Holy Ghost. No longer can he be satisfied by the light he can find in this world. No, he will not be able to forget his Savior and Master anymore!
He appreciates so much the special privilege of being invited every Sabbath day to renew his covenant in the sacred setting of the sacrament. The power of this light gives him the knowledge that he will always listen to that Spirit that teaches a man to pray, about which Nephi, the prophet of whom he has just learned, testified: “For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray.” (2 Ne. 32:8.)
He now understands that by the authority of this Spirit he was led to grow in reverence, that the words of his prayers became fewer and fewer until he became quiet and was changed from someone who was speaking to someone who was listening—listening to the still, soft, sweet voice whose word is quick and powerful, and “sharper than a two-edged sword.” (D&C 6:2.)
My dear brothers and sisters in the covenant, how blessed are we that our eyes have been opened and our hearts have been touched with the awareness of this truth!
As we now leave this newly baptized member in his marvelous experience of a new life, I invite you, in the spirit of the love of God, to reflect: How much are you allowing the power of this voice to control your own life? Consider the words of the prophet Alma:
“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the Church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts? …
“Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? …
“Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.” (Alma 5:14, 27, 33.)
My dear brothers and sisters, let us learn to be always enlightened with the powerful understanding of the need for a constant change of heart, that the light and power of the Holy Ghost can penetrate us always to make us better fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, more diligent workers—with a dream and a vision to touch the lives of all of our Heavenly Father’s children and to bring about the final revolution to all the people of this world—a revolution under the leadership of the only leader of truth, without whom there will be no peace and no salvation, even the Lord, Jesus Christ.
I say this humbly in His name, amen.