- This morning I want to discuss some of the spiritual lessons we can learn from the process by which a cucumber becomes a pickle. I invite the Holy Ghost to be with us as we consider the significance of those lessons for me and for you as we come unto Christ and are spiritually reborn.
Cucumbers and Pickles
- The first steps in the process of changing a cucumber into a pickle are preparing and cleaning.
- The next steps in this process of change are immersing and saturating the cucumbers in salt brine for an extended period of time.
- The final step in the process requires the sealing of the cured pickles in jars that have been sterilized and purified.
A Mighty Change
- The Lord’s authorized servants repeatedly teach that one of the principal purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn.
Elder Bednar goes into detail about each step in the process and likens it to how we are spiritually reborn.
Preparing and Cleaning
- You and I can be prepared with “the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6) and initially cleansed through the ordinances and covenants administered by the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood.
- Proper preparing and cleaning are the first basic steps in the process of being born again.
Immersing and Saturating
- You and I are born again as we are absorbed by and in the gospel of Jesus Christ. gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. This phase of the transformation process requires time, persistence, and patience.
- After we come out of the waters of baptism, our souls need to be continuously immersed in and saturated with the truth and the light of the Savior’s gospel. Sporadic and shallow dipping in the doctrine of Christ and partial participation in His restored Church cannot produce the spiritual transformation that enables us to walk in a newness of life. Rather, fidelity to covenants, constancy of commitment, and offering our whole soul unto God are required if we are to receive the blessings of eternity.
- Total immersion in and saturation with the Savior’s gospel are essential steps in the process of being born again.
Purifying and Sealing
- We progressively become purified and sanctified as you and I are washed in the blood of the Lamb, are born again, and receive the ordinances and honor the covenants that are administered by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
- The Holy Spirit of Promise is the ratifying power of the Holy Ghost. When sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, an ordinance, vow, or covenant is binding on earth and in heaven. (See D&C 132:7) Receiving this “stamp of approval” from the Holy Ghost is the result of faithfulness, integrity, and steadfastness in honoring gospel covenants “in [the] process of time” (Moses 7:21). However, this sealing can be forfeited through unrighteousness and transgression.
- Purifying and sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise constitute the culminating steps in the process of being born again.
“In the Energy of My Soul”
Elder Bednar closes with a summary of his words.
- Through faith in Christ, we can be spiritually prepared and cleansed from sin, immersed in and saturated with His gospel, and purified and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise—even born again.
The process of being reborn is a gradual one. Each step must be followed in order for the final outcome to be achieved. We cannot skip steps or speed it up. Through the steps outlined, we can become better disciples of Jesus Christ and have this spiritual rebirth that Elder Bednar describes. Wherever we are in our spiritual journey, we can follow these steps to increase our own spirituality.