Doctrine and Covenants 4 is of the most well-known sections among Latter-day Saints and is especially inspiring to missionaries. It speaks of the marvelous work of God and how to serve.
Doctrine and Covenants 4:6 specifically lists essential attributes to strive for:
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
As a new year arrives, many of us are contemplating goals and resolutions. However, it can be hard to create meaningful goals centered on Christ. We have broken down this verse, creating some possible goals for each attribute. By completing at least one from each section, you will be working on multiple aspects of your life.
Faith, in the gospel sense, is confidence in God and his word. The Bible Dictionary says faith “is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true” and that it is a principle of action.
Here are a few goals centered on building faith:
- For a couple of minutes each day, ponder something you believe to be true. In prayer, say these statements of faith out loud.
- Each month, pick a topic or principle you would like to build more faith in. Spend the month studying and fasting about those things.
- Share your testimony each month. It can be in Sacrament Meeting or at another proper occasion.
Preach My Gospel tells us that virtue is “a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards.” Virtue is about striving for purity, choosing righteous thoughts and actions even when tempted.
Here are a few goals to help you cultivate patterns of virtue:
- Go through your entertainment collection. Remove any books, music, or movies that may inhibit the Holy Ghost from being your constant companion.
- If you do not already have one, work towards receiving a temple recommend.
- Set aside a time each day for silence. Use it to simply ponder and commune with God.
- Make a goal to improve any struggles you have with inappropriate habits, including language and humor.
God commands us to seek knowledge throughout our lives. This includes both spiritual and secular knowledge. Knowledge can give us the power to change our lives and the lives of others.
Consider these goals to make this year a year of learning:
- Is there a hobby or skill you would have always wanted to try? Make time for it this year, whether you take classes or learn on your own through books and videos.
- Set up a scripture study schedule and stick to it. Experiment and find what works for you. Try for at least one verse a day. Click here to read about five unique ways to revitalize your scripture study.
Temperance is about seeking moderation and balance. We can go to extremes in a lot of ways. We can consume too much or too little, whether it is food, technology, or other worldly desires. We can be extreme in our opinions, which can invite hardheartedness, pride, and contention. We can be extreme in our judgment. Temperance is also about self-control.
These goals are to help you find temperance in your life:
- Do you consume technology to an extreme? Make goals to unplug. Limit the hours on streaming sites. Don’t have your phone in your hand when you’re talking to someone. Figure out how technology may be negatively impacting your life and set a goal to fix it.
- We live in tumultuous times. Strive to be respectful of others and avoid contention, even as opinions and beliefs vary. Make a goal to reach out a hand of friendship to someone in your life who may be different than you.
When we are patient, we trust God and his will. We are able to endure the troubles of life, including delays in desires, without losing our faith. Patience allows us to see a broader perspective of God’s plan for us and find joy even in the midst of suffering.
Patience can be hard to develop, but these goals will help:
- Write down the things you are grateful for each day. Ponder how God touched your life, no matter how small it might seem.
- Practice the art of being still by learning more about meditation. You can get an app on your phone with guided deep-breathing exercises or you can find local classes in your community.
- We live in a society that is all about instant gratification. Invite small habits or hobbies into your life that represent waiting, such as growing plants, wood carving, or baking.
In the scriptures, brotherly kindness describes the love we have for our fellow brothers and sisters in the gospel. When we lift one another as a ward family, we are then able to reach out and serve others.
Here are some goals to consider to serve your church family:
- Complete your ministering assignments each month.
- Gather a list of missionaries serving from your ward or stake. Send them a letter each month.
- Thank someone for their lesson or talk.
Heavenly Father’s ultimate goal is for us to become like him. Though it may seem overwhelming, we can become purified and sanctified through the power of the Holy Ghost. The following ideas are meant to bring us closer to that goal:
- If circumstances permit, create a routine schedule to attend the temple as often as you can. If you are unable to visit the temple on a regular basis, hold a current temple recommend anyway. Study about the temple at least one Sunday a month.
- Improve your Sabbath Day by prayerfully considering how you can make the sacrament more meaningful. Strive to make this part of your week a focus.
Charity is the pure love of Christ. When we have charity, we care about all of God’s children and see them the way God does. We desire to serve God and serve others.
Here are some goals focused on charity:
- Pray every day for inspiration on who you can serve and how. Actively watch for opportunities to act on that inspiration. Be willing to follow promptings immediately.
- Become involved in a local charity organization you are passionate about.
- Avoid saying negative things about others.
In a spiritual sense, humility is submitting to the will of God and recognizing our constant need for his grace and mercy. Some goals to help cultivate humility include:
- Learning about active listening and incorporate it into your conversations. Active listening is an unselfish way to love others and remove the focus from ourselves.
- Use your talents to glorify God. Choose a skill and create a work that expresses your love for God. It can be through art, dance, music, writing, crafting, creating, or simply through a spoken testimony.
In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are taught to endure to the end. Diligence is described in Preach My Gospel as “steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort.” To grow in diligence, try setting a goal based on one of these ideas:
- Set up an accountability group to report on your goals. Most people give up on goals before accomplishing them. By working with others, you will be more likely to reach your goals.
- Make a list of possible time-wasters in your life. Figure out how to cut some of these things out and be more productive.
- Follow a passion of yours! We are most willing to work hard when it is something we care about.
No matter what goal you set, if you set it with a heart focused on the Lord and a desire to achieve, you will receive the help you need.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.