The late Apostle Neil A. Maxwell spoke eloquently about every man's battle with selfishness and putting off what we call the natural man--or the natural self-centered tendencies of man. He said that selfishness is the detonator that leads to the breaking of every commandment and that if left unchecked "selfishness...stubbornly blocks the way for developing all of the divine qualities: love, mercy, patience, long-suffering, kindness, graciousness, goodness, and gentleness."
While I was in the temple this weekend, I spent time contemplating how well I am shedding selfishness and what behaviors I need to do away with in order to cultivate more Christ-like actions in my life.
Even as Jesus Christ placed everything on the altar in his sacrifice for all Mankind, so must each of us place all that we have--our weaknesses, most especially--on the altar to be given away for more noble attributes, if we are ever to become like Him.
Elder Maxwell made the following comparisions between men and women of Christ and men and women who give in to their natural tendencies. He said that men and women of Christ are quick to praise others, but are also able to practice restraint. For instance, they know that sometimes "the biting of the tongue can be as important as the gift of tongues."
Furthermore, he says, men and women of Christ are the "same in private as in public," and like Christ, they never brush aside people who need their help because they have more important things to do.
Maxwell also says that whereas the natural man vents his anger, men and women of Christ are not easily provoked and are not as concerned with riches or with the praise of men.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we Mormons attend the temple in order to learn more about Christ, to further understand His teachings, to contemplate our relationship with Him, and to contemplate how well we are doing at implementing his example in our daily lives.
Now that I am back in the world, where everything is about focusing on self, the choice is before me to focus on unselfishness. Wish me luck...