Practice makes perfect. That’s the old adage. Perfecting our character traits – whether choosing to overcome a bad mood or learn to give from the center of the soul, where compassion lives in its brilliance and simple goodness – takes a lot of practice on a daily basis.

What personal qualities are you working on, in your quest to become more as God intended us to be, and more in keeping with a follower of Christ?

Are you working to become a better friend?

That’s one of the ones I’m working on. I realized that I spent very little time with people I love- other than family – outside work or Church service connection.  So this year I have endeavored to allot more time for friends. It has, so far, been a wonderful experience. Indeed, if I don’t take time to tend my friendships, they can’t grow strong and beautiful. I’m loving my friends even more – because I know more about them. It is easier and more fun to serve them, too.  I know them better. So there’s more to love and more understanding of their individual needs.

Guess who benefits most, though? Of course – I do.

What about scripture study?  

Studying the scriptures is much different that merely reading them. Words are vitally important – especially in scripture.  Just by prayerfully pondering over one or two words, we can learn novels-full of important information and insight.  

Something magical and beautiful happens when we really want to learn.  Our reading and prayerful consideration becomes more focused. More heavenly light is shone on our mind as well as the words we read and take in.

One important part of practicing the gift of scripture study is to pray, prior to reading. Asking our Father in Heaven to open our mind and heart is a simple, effective way to receive more revelation as we read.

The old counsel to liken the scriptures to ourselves is absolutely necessary in order to gain a more true understanding. These are real people we’re learning about. Real life situations with genuine intercommunications, struggles and learning curves. Placing ourselves in their shoes, pondering over the reality of how they felt- how they may have reacted- how they practiced daily in order to gain more perfection, we gain more valuable insight.

Are you working to know the Savior better?

That’s something I continually work on.  It is a joy and a strength to study, pray about, and seek to better understand Him and His words and work.

A well known scripture states, “Thy friends do stand by thee.”(Doctrine & Covenants 121:9).  No one – no one – is a better friend to us than the Savior.  He will stand by us. The question I ask myself is, “Will I stand by Him?”  The answer comes more sweetly and truly as you and I practice our Christ-like following of His true principles. By doing so, we get to better know Him. We feel Him deep within. We sense His approval and His goodness by, daily, practicing to become more perfect – more refined – in being His true friend.

Becoming more Christ-like

President Thomas S. Monson once declared, “The Lord has declared, If ye are not one ye are not mine.’  We will continue to be united in one purpose-namely, the furtherance of the work of the Lord.”    (May 2008 Ensign, Looking Back and Moving Forward)

Becoming more like Jesus Christ isn’t something that happens in a day, or a month. We can, however, make little baby steps in our progression. We practice. We mess up. We repent and work harder. All the while, our spirit strives to grow in goodness and intelligence. It offers us a beautiful gift while in our mortal journey: by working to perfect ourselves in little ways, we receive the blessings of heaven. Even in our dark times and during moments when we know we’ve blown it, we are assured of His love. Little by little, line upon line, we joy in the business of becoming more like the Son of God.  By following Him and working at the small but important portions of eternal righteousness, our lives are graced with more heavenly understanding as we receive more heavenly direction.  

Slowly, but ever so surely, our practicing takes root and – through the gift of grace and the goodness of the gospel – we gain wings to better live as our Father in Heaven would have us live.  What sheer and beautiful joy!