One of my favorite passages of scripture is Mosiah 3:19 from King Benjamin’s magnificent sermon which succinctly states the purpose and challenge of life. Recently when re-reading this scripture, I substituted the word sanctified for “saint” since sanctification is the process of becoming saintly and Christ for “child”. These substitutions gave me some new insights. Making these substitutions, King Benjamin said,
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh…[sanctified] through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as…[Christ], submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as…[Christ did]submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)
For me this process of developing the Christ-like attributes enumerated by Benjamin is a gradual process best described as occurring “grace for grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:20). This refining process takes place when we humble ourselves, follow the Spirit, and rely on Christ’s grace. The Lord told Moroni:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)
I view regular temple attendance as crucial in the development of these Christ-like attributes. The temple is a holy and sanctified place where the Spirit is present in abundance (Doctrine and Covenants 109:12-13). Paul taught that, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23). These are very similar to the attributes specified by King Benjamin. In the temple, I am in the presence of the Spirit and I can more quickly develop these ennobling qualities. Perhaps this is what it means, “to grow up in” the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 109:15). Is it any wonder that the Spirit entices me to attend the temple?