Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Year's Resolution for 2012

Over the past four years, I have established only one new year's resolution each year: to become more Christlike / godly than I was at the end of the last year.  I have done this by taking specific passages from scripture that articulate multiple characteristics of godliness and pursuing one characteristic each month - not in an attempt to become "perfect" at it that month, but simply to "become" more (fill in the blank) by the end of that month than I was at the beginning of the month.

In essence, my resolution has been to "be" better each and every day, in some meaningful way.  I have phrased it in terms of "becoming" - but, in a very real and important way, it really is all about "being" in the here and now.  It has been an amazing experience - one I wish I had started in my youth. 

In 2008 ("New Year's Resolution") and 2009 ("New Year's Resolution - 2009"), my focus was on the characteristics listed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 in 2008 and Matthew 6-7 in 2009); my focus for 2010 ("New Year's Resolution: 2010") was on the aspects of charity listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; my focus in 2011 ("New Year's Resolution - 2011") was on the questions about being spiritually born of God and receiving his image in our countenances asked in Alma 5.

This year, I have decided to take a slightly different approach.  I still want to focus on becoming more Christlike, but I am going to do so by considering each of our Articles of Faith, one-by-one each month, using the 13th Article of Faith as the analytical foundation of my contemplation and application of each of the other Articles of Faith each month.  In practical terms this means the following:

The 13th Article of Faith says:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. 

I want to focus each month on how I can understand and internalize what is taught in each Article of Faith a little better - to "become" more "complete, whole, fully developed" with regard to the core "fundamentals of Mormonism", if you will - but I want to do so with the explicit understanding that:  

"If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, (I must) seek after these things." 

Therefore, my resolution this year is not limited to understanding better what our Articles of Faith say "we believe".  Rather, it is focused on understanding better the broader tapestry of God's revealed word to all His children and gaining a better understanding of and appreciation for "(everything) virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy" that deals with the principles and concepts articulated in the Articles of Faith.  In other words, I am resolved to understand what "we believe" in the broader context of how both "we" and "others" have interpreted God's revelations / inspiration to them concerning those things that "we believe" - with a direct nod to Article of Faith 9, which says:

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. 

It is my resolution this year to "seek after these things" more directly - in a more focused, intentional, planned manner - and, as I have done for the past four years, to write about my contemplation and practical experiences each Saturday here in my "spiritual journal".

With that introduction, my monthly focus will be:

January: The Godhead
February: Individual Accountability 
March: The Atonement of Jesus Christ
April: Principles and Ordinances
May: Preaching and Administration
June: Religious Institutional Organization
July: Spiritual Gifts
August: Scripture
September: Revelation
October: Mortal "Zion" (Unity) and the Post-Mortal Life
November: Worship
December: Civic and Social Responsibility


ellen said...

Happy New Year, Ray, to you and your family. It will be a mind- and spirit-broadening experience to walk through these lessons with you in the year to come.

Christy said...

I look forward to following you on your journey. Happy new year.

Anonymous said...

I really benefit from your meditations and experiences,Papa,and they have worked a great deal of good in my life.

I find that for myself however,I am not a goal setter.I become too easily discouraged and find that if I'm looking only in one direction I can often miss another part of the picture which may be more important,and I really hate it when I do that. I find that life leads me in necessary directions which I may not find to my immediate liking or preference,but there I find the work to do.

i had a wonderful dream many years ago in which I was running joyfully along a comfortable path,but saw a tramp on the path in the distance,and had to make a decision as to wether I would slow down and do what was necessary.I slowed my pace and realised he needed help just to get along. His weight led me into the thorns at the edge of the path,but I knew I was doing what was important.

My guess is that the dream may have different meanings at different times of my life,and I'm not much given to dreams,but it has been a personal touchstone to me.

I'm maybe a little obsessive,so this works for me.

Papa D said...

Thanks, ellen and Christy.

Anonymous, I believe strongly that each and every one of us needs to do what is best for each and every one of us, even if that is different (or even radically different) than what is best for others. I like you dream, and, in the spirit of that dream:

"May there be a road."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing yourself and your wisdom. I've benefited greatly from your discoveries in Alma 5 this past year and have been anticipating what your topic would be for 2012. I'm looking forward to reading your posts.