C.S. Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity, "People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing.' I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
I love this quote. I have used it often in lessons and talks. We have a lot of guidelines as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but these "rules" or guidelines are not designed to make us feel guilty. They are designed as a tool to help us in our search to become a heavenly creature. I personally have a desire to become like my Savior, but for me - it is not because I hope to be saved or that I will earn the stamp of approval by our Father in Heaven, but rather because it feels right. It feels good. It feels like... joy! An indescribably sweeter emotion than just being happy.
And feeling this joy makes the choices to be more forgiving, more humble, more selfless, to keep my body clean from substances that cloud my spirit (food, tobacco, pornography, or drink), to serve in the church, etc... this feeling of joy makes all of these choices easy because I can feel them shaping me into a better person than I was before. It's not about what I will get, what consequences I will face, or where I will end up after this life. It’s about the type of creature I am becoming and it just feels right to be FREE of baggage, guilt, hatred, and revenge through the atonement of Jesus Christ.I am weak and I make poor choices every day, but I testify that the perspective I have gained from really understanding the gospel has brought me joy. It has brought me peace. And it has brought me knowledge, confidence, and wisdom. And I think my Father in Heaven would be proud of that.