Some people would describe themselves as “I’m a runner,” or “a biker,” or “a swimmer.” For me, these descriptors are all true. I have spent and continue to spend many hours practicing each of these activities. I get a rush and increased energy from intense physical exercise, and I am strengthened to face and deal with life’s challenges.
Repentance also requires ongoing training and daily exercise. As Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President, has explained: “if you stop pedaling a bicycle, it will fall, and if you stop feeding your testimony, it will weaken. This same principle applies to repentance—it is a lifelong pursuit, not a once-in-a-lifetime experience” (“Repentance Is Always Positive,” Ensign, Nov. 2017).
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to be known as a repenter. To do so, I need to diligently repent daily. My approach to practicing repentance includes three key components.
My Belief in the Final Judgment and Showing Godly Sorrow
After observing that Amulek’s words had silenced the cross examination of Zeezrom, Alma the Younger teaches: “We must come forth and stand before [God] in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance” (Alma 12:15).
Alma’s counsel encourages me to do everything I can to live according to God’s commandments and to be worthy of receiving my Redeemer’s mercy. During the Final Judgment, I want to be able to look my Savior in the eyes and be reconciled with Him because I understand “that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).
My Belief in Christ’s Suffering and Mercy for My Sins
While teaching the gospel to the people of Ammonihah, Alma repeats this explanation of the plan of salvation given to him by the Lord: “If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son; Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest” (Alma 12:33-34).
Coming to understand that Jesus is the Living Christ helps me to have the faith to carry on and strive to endure to the end. I know that Jesus has tender mercies for all who humbly come unto Him. Our Redeemer will take as much time as is needed to minister to our needs.
My Daily Confessions, Plans to Improve, and Calls for Mercy
After hearing King Benjamin teach, his people demonstrated that they were deeply touched by his words: “And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 4:2).
For the next generation, Alma the Elder received the following instructions from the Lord on how to recognize true repentance: “If he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me” (Mosiah 26:29-30).
As Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has taught: “Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration” (“The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign, Nov. 2011).
Committing to Repent and Be Guided by the Spirit
Each morning I look in the mirror, smile, and say: “I am Darin Wight. I am a runner, biker, swimmer, and a repenter!” My daily practice of repentance brings me a rush of love and light from Christ. By repenting and following the footsteps of Jesus, I receive increased physical and spiritual energy and motivation for all areas of my life. I know that Christ is full of grace, mercy, and truth.
Brother Owens explains: “True repentance inspires us to make our obedience a commitment—a covenant, beginning with baptism and renewed each week at the Lord’s Supper, the sacrament. There we receive the promise that we can ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us]’ (Moroni 4:3), with all of the joy and peace that come from His constant companionship. This is the fruit of repentance, and this is what makes repentance joyful!” (“Repentance Is Always Positive”).