Be Ye Clean
In 1831, the early Saints wanted guidance to know how they should go about the immense work of the gathering of Israel and preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. The Lord instructed them, “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 133:5) In the scriptures, Babylon is a symbol of the world and all that the earthly has to offer. Those who choose to follow the Savior must ultimately reject the pleasures, riches and power of Babylon, as no one can serve both the gods of this world and the God of Eternity. As those Saints did in their time, we also have a sacred work to perform today. Whether we are spreading the Gospel, searching after our kindred dead and performing vicarious Temple work, raising the next generation, participating in the temporal salvation of our fellow-beings, publicly standing against the tide of wickedness threatening to engulf our culture, or participating in any other work the Lord has given us, our lives and hearts must be clean and right with Him.
There are practices which will help to keep us unspotted from the world and ready to do His work confident in our worthiness to do so.
Keep the Sabbath day holy. As we have been taught, this is a sign between us and the Lord that we remember Him and His essential Atonement. Sometimes Sabbath observance requires faith that the work we miss will be made up in other ways, showing a willingness to trust in the hand of the One who provides all. Sometimes this requires the sacrifice of activities, hobbies, and even sometimes family events which are not in accordance with the spirit of the Sabbath. It is a rejection of the world’s belief that happiness consists in doing whatever we want whenever we want to do it and instead trusting that joy comes through submitting our will to One whose vision is infinitely clearer.
Partake of the Sacrament worthily. Weekly, we are given the opportunity to review our lives, determine necessary course corrections and then repent and drop the burdens of sin and error at the feet of our Savior. What an amazing gift to be given this fresh, clean start every week!
Perform your duties. Jacob wrote that he and his brother Joseph “did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.” We also receive callings which we need to magnify to the Lord, otherwise we are still responsible for the work undone among those we should have served.
Live in the world but do not be of the world. We must use the precious gift of agency to choose the best amongst the myriad of options available to us. Our 13th Article of Faith reads, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” It seems, these days, that this often requires considerable work, but we cannot allow the filthy to crowd out the guidance of the still, small voice.
Observe the Word of Wisdom. Obey its precepts to keep free from addictive and damaging substances, so that your body can be clean and healthy and ready for any work to which the Lord may call you.
Be modest. Do not draw attention to yourself, but give glory to God and turn others to Christ.