From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become...
Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion, toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships—even more than our Church callings—are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. Being a successful Church leader is not enough. Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it. ("The Challenge to Become", Ensign, Oct 2000, see also)
I remembered this talk during a Facebook discussion. I was thinking over my life and the life of our kids. I have felt at times, that I just don't want to do the things I know are good for me. It is easier. It is more comfortable. I then look forward 10, 20 or 50 years and think, "what will my choices bring me?".
My father-in-law calls it thinking from your rocking chair. When you are in your old age and are sitting in your rocking chair, what do you want to feel about your life? Choose well now and in each moment you are thinking about doing something you know you should do. Or to refrain from what will be unhealthy. Be satisfied with what you have chosen when I will be in my rocking chair.
I want my children to be more successful than I have been. Emotionally, Socially, Physically, Mentally, Spiritually. If I am to give my children that gift, we have to decide together to do things that will initially be hard for us. As we persist in doing the good, hard things, we will get better. We will become something better. More good. More like our Father in Heaven.
I am convinced that we are currently creating our own heaven or hell. The choices we all make have consequences. Habits and character and the essence of who we are are being shaped. I do not think the Lord will ever deny any of his creations the chance to change or improve or break out of destructive patterns. But we may convince ourselves to not want to. Because of our pride (or hubris). Because we don't want to be seen as less than, Or we want others to think we are better than we are.
It is better to surrender that hubris. Surrender trying to be right. Instead choose the right. Dare to do the good things. And keep doing them. Cry unto the Lord to save me from myself. To save me from the consequences of my sin. That I might truly do good. Shun the unhealthy. Life and grow and live life, eternally.