Strive for things divine

Prior to his martyrdom in Rome about 64 to 65 A.D., the Apostle Peter penned an epistle that is as meaningful and relevant to us today as it was to the Saints in his day.

In his second general epistle to his fellow Saints, Peter admonished them to seek for the divine nature by overcoming the evils of the world about them.He wrote: "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Pet. 1:3-4.)

He then outlined step by step how to become partakers of the divine nature: "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

"And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

"And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." (2 Pet. 1:5-7.)

What better attributes could we have as we look ahead to this new year of 1997? This orderly process outlined by Peter offers each of us the challenge to move from where we are now to higher and holier achievements.

The Prophet Joseph Smith in quoting Peter's epistle at the funeral of Lorenzo C. Barnes said: "It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.

"Add to your faith knowledge, etc. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 297.)

In his concluding remarks at the October 1960 general conference, President David O. McKay fervently pleaded that members of the Church would strive for things divine when he said: "God help us to be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE."

"I have a deep admiration in my heart for Simon Peter, President of the Twelve Apostles," President McKay said. He then quoted 2 Pet. 1:1-4. "That," continued President McKay, "comes from Simon Peter who was only two and a half years - a little more - in the personal presence of his Lord. Before that he did not care much for the Church, but before this writing he had a testimony of the divinity of the Sonship of Jesus Christ. More than that, he had experienced that communion of the Spirit with His Resurrected Lord, and speaks here of being a partaker of the divine nature.

"Hold to that thought in the midst of an atheistic world . . . where there are godless men who deny the resurrection of Christ, who deny His living spirit. . . ." (Improvement Era, December 1960, p. 954.)

In a later conference during the priesthood session in April 1963, President McKay renewed this theme: "Peter was quite a doubtful man as he grew to manhood before he knew Christ, but long afterwards he was praying and said that we have been made partakers of the divine nature. (See 2 Pet. 1:4.) He knew it, and you will know it some day if you will do His will, be true to self." (Improvement Era, June, 1963, p. 509.)

Here then are spiritual keys as we strive more diligently during 1997 to become partakers of the divine nature:

Diligence in all we do.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Virtue above all else in an immoral world.

Knowledge sufficient to be exalted.

Temperance in a self-indulgent world.

Patience in times of discontent.

Godliness in all our desires.

Brotherly kindness in a world of much hate.

Charity, the pure love of Christ, in all we do.

We would do well this year to ponder and practice the counsel given by Peter and strive to lift our lives to a higher plane to become better Latter-day Saints and more fit citizens of the Kingdom of God.

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