At the entrance of every temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we see the phrase, “Holiness to the Lord—The House of the Lord.” These words remind us that Jesus Christ is “The Holy One … [who] leadeth [us] by the way that [we] shouldest go” (Isaiah 48:17). With these words in mind, our hearts can be pointed to Jesus Christ. Temples are where we continue our process of becoming holy—they are holy places where we learn how to become exalted, dedicated, and consecrated to God.
The online article “Draw Nearer to Christ,” (churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/draw-nearer-to-christ?lang=eng) explains: “As the One appointed by Heavenly Father to be the Savior of all humanity, Jesus Christ came to earth with a unique purpose. Everything He said and did was done to obey His Father in Heaven. He Himself stated that He obeyed the ‘will of the Father in all things from the beginning’ (3 Nephi 11:11). His life is the perfect example of how to treat others, how to face adversity, how to forgive, and how to lift and support those in need. The Savior dedicated His time, His energy, and His very existence to obeying and honoring His Father in Heaven. In every sense of the word, He is holy.”
Jesus Christ has been exalted. He is perfect in His goodness and righteousness. He is divine. He is worthy of our complete devotion for He truly is “the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:19).
Jesus Christ obtained the title as the Holy One through His choices, His patience in suffering, His obedience, and His willingness to fulfill His Father’s plan.
Walking in Holy Places
The Garden of Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary became holy places where Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind. By striving to follow in His footsteps and undergoing trials, albeit small by comparison, we can also experience holy times and walk in holy places during our mortal journey.
It is a new perspective for me to consider that I am standing in holy places as I endure trials and afflictions in the service of God. Through our ordeals we can become humble and recognize our dependence on the Lord. We can learn to pray more intently, study, ponder, and seek for answers. We desire the companionship of the Holy Ghost to a greater degree. We draw closer to the Lord by seeking His kindness and comfort. Our trials are consecrated for our good if we so choose.
Drawing Nearer to Jesus Christ
Our challenges and afflictions can strengthen our devotion to God. Like Joseph Smith in Liberty jail, these moments can become sacred moments, and we can become more consecrated to God. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains: “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That suffering can turn every situation into a would-be temple” (“Lessons from Liberty Jail,” [devotional, Sept. 7, 2008], 40; media-library-video).
Such thinking brings a new insight. Instead of suffering in our afflictions, we can say we are standing in a holy place—a place meant to refine us.
Other leaders have taught similar principles about striving to be holy. The Apostle Peter stated, “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). President Brigham Young said: “Every moment of my life must be holiness to the Lord” (Journal of Discourses, [1854-1886], vol. 9, 220). This is true even when those moments are hard!
President Harold B. Lee admonished: “And so I beg of you … to live each day so that you might receive from the fountain of light [the] nourishment and strength sufficient to every day’s need. Take time to be holy each day of your lives” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B Lee ,175; italics added).
Are we a holy people? Do the things we choose to do set us apart for a sacred purpose in the Lord? How do we find the time to be holy each day? Striving to be holy should not be an addition to our daily “to do” list. Rather it should be the intent of our hearts.
We can follow the counsel found in 2 Nephi 32:9 to “pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee.”
The Lord counselled Latter-day Saints to “practice virtue and holiness before me” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:24). Practicing means doing an activity repeatedly with the intent to improve. Therefore, everyday things can be holy. Even doing the laundry, washing the dishes, or baking bread can be holy!
We express devotion to God when we care for His gifts that He so freely gives us. We should be thankful for daily gifts of food, clothing, and shelter. As we prepare meals, clean clothes, and organize our homes, we express that love and invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in our midst.
We can practice holiness as we care for our bodies in obedience to the Word of Wisdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 89). Cleanliness, nutrition, and exercise can be a manifestation of our understanding of the plan of happiness and the value of our physical bodies.
We can be blessed as we “go to the house of prayer and offer up [our] sacraments” on the Lord’s Sabbath day (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9). As we keep temple covenants, we consecrate ourselves to God and promise to obey Christ’s new commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34).
There is only one true source of hope and that is Jesus Christ. We can find a holy place when we seek His presence. We cannot—no matter how hard we try—be holy without Jesus Christ for He is the “Holy One.” He has assured us, “I am able to make you holy” (Doctrine and Covenants 60:7). Because He has experienced all things, He has perfect compassion and knows how to succour us: during the hard times and the ordinary times, He will be with us and make our places Holy. He will show us the way.