The Word: ‘Ye must press forward’

Published 4:47 pm Saturday, January 6, 2024

Happy New Year! Over the holiday break, I rode my bike on the High Bridge Trail. It had rained a few days previously, and was quite muddy in several places. I soon found that the mud accumulated on my tires, which slowed me down and splattered mud all over my clothing.  

As we burst into this new year, what are the things that slow us down?  

First, regret can slow us down.  Lingering on past actions, missed opportunities, and untraveled paths distracts us from what we can accomplish in the here and now. 

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Jesus said:  “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” Luke 9:62.

The antidote to regret is to live life fully in the present.    

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught:  “The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets.”  

He then offered three suggestions to help us avoid having regrets:  “Resolve to spend more time with those we love.  Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.  Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.”

Another factor that can impede our forward momentum is sin.  

Sin creates distance between us and our Heavenly Father, slows down our spiritual progression, and, like the mud that splashed all over my clothing on the trail, has a tendency to negatively impact other aspects of our lives.

As Elder Neil L. Andersen explained, “When we sin, we turn away from God.  When we repent, we turn back toward God.”  

The antidote to sin, plain and simple, is repentance.  Approach the Lord in humble prayer and seek His forgiveness, with a commitment to do better.  

If our actions have impacted others, the new year can be a perfect opportunity to right a wrong, mend a fence, or build a bridge.  

Finally, fear can slow us down.  

Paul wrote to Timothy:  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7.

The antidote to fear is faith in God and Jesus Christ.  We can strengthen our faith through humble prayer, scripture study, and attending worship services.  

May we each rise above regret, sin, and fear to press forward and experience God’s blessings in 2024.

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” 2 Nephi 31:20.

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Assistant Provost for Academic Outreach and Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University.  He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.