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The way, the truth and the life

Recently, hiking the Lakeside Trail at Holliday Lake State Park, I missed a turn and got off-track. Despite having hiked this beautiful loop many times, somehow I ended up down a side trail in a complex of buildings unfamiliar to me.

Thankfully, I was able to retrace my steps and return to the path.

This experience reminded me of Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Each of us makes mistakes in life. Paul knew it: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Just as I found myself in unfamiliar surroundings in the state park, all of us at times may look around and ask, “How did I get here? How did I get so far off-track?”

Thankfully, there is a way to retrace our spiritual steps and return to the covenant path that leads to our Heavenly Father, and that is through the infinite atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

One of the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ is repentance. When we have faith in Him, we seek to follow His perfect example and His eternal teachings. As we stumble along the way, we seek to get ourselves square with the Lord through repentance.

Repentance is more than simply stopping doing things that are contrary to the will of God. It involves a true change of mind and heart and walking “in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged all to repent: “Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance — of doing and being a little better each day.”

When we feel godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10), we repent by confessing our sins, abandoning the inappropriate behavior and making restitution as best we can.

Many popular worldly programs seek to help us change our behaviors, but lasting change is rooted in faith in our Savior.

Daily repentance brings spiritual strength and the ability to carry on through the trials of life.

President Nelson further taught: “When we choose to repent, we choose to change. We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy — the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ.”

In the words of a favorite hymn, Jesus Christ “marked the path and led the way.” Let us each examine our lives, repenting when necessary and move faithfully forward toward our heavenly home.

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.