Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WILL we ever get it? (Part 3)

(CAPS, color, bold, etc. are my emphasis throughout)

“While trav’ling thru this vale of tears?”[1]
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, WILLING to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Book of Mormon Mosiah 3:19)

O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:28-29)

Wherefore, my beloved brethren [and sisters], reconcile yourselves to the WILL of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 10:24)
And what is the will of the devil and the flesh? What does this Lucifer ask Adam and Eve in the LDS temple drama?[4] He asks “What is it you want?” Is that not the very question the “Prosperity Gospel” asks? The very focus of the Law of Attraction? What is it YOU want? What is YOUR WILL? YOUR wish, YOUR dream, YOUR fondest desire? Wasn’t that the substance of the Three Temptations? “I can GIVE YOU anything you could possibly need or desire. … Look to me because I’m the one with the material goods. I’ll come through for you. You can have anything in this world.” A fixation on “GIVE ME”?[5.a&b]

Yet all the while, the adversary’s goal is to captivate the shortsighted soul. Remember Jabez Stone and Daniel Webster? Remember Faust? For in the strange paradox of life, those who give their WILL to God shall be added upon[6] (trusted with increasing powers?) while those who pursue their own worldly WILL (without repentence), will lose because they cannot be trusted even with what they have.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (New Testament Matthew 10:39)

And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 60:3)
What a subtle twist we have fallen into—preached now from too many pulpits—that God is there to do OUR WILL. Just ask Him. Get in the right frame—the right wave-length of attraction—the right flow of the universe. Then the riches of the world will flood into your life. And if they don’t, it’s your fault; you haven’t gotten in sync, yet. But don’t be discouraged. Keep at it. Buy our books and DVDs. Attend our courses and lectures. Talk to God. Talk to yourself. Talk to us. (Just don’t run this “my will” through the prism of scripture though! Don’t read too deeply about the apostles and prophets or the Son of God! Their lives don’t exactly reflect OUR more attractive reality. It’s a great mystery! That’s why we don’t mention it!)

Even if we claim, our chief motive is to give back to God, or “our neighbor”, or the universe, is it really so? Or are we an enriched version of the church at Ephesus, becoming so distracted by our second love (of riches?), we forget there was even a first love before riches?[7] Thinking our sacrifices in service, our donations to deserving causes, our tithing of temporal blessings constitute full measure (and running o’er) of all that is required? OR are we already déjà vu Nephites?[8]

WILL we ever get it that we are on a proving ground?[9] That we are not wise enough, faithful, charitable, disciplined, enlightened, just, nor visionary enough to know what is best in the eternal WILL and plan of things[10]?

WILL we ever get it that our daily plea must be:
… thy word must be fulfilled. Help thy servants to say, with thy grace assisting them: Thy WILL be done, O Lord, and not ours (Doctrine and Covenants Section 109:44)?[11]

[1] From the LDS Hymn book (1985), # 116 Come Follow Me (Text: John Nicholson, 1839-1909; Music Samuel McBurney, b. 1847)

[2] What is that work? “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Pearl of Great Price Moses 1:39)

[3] Notice it says, “bear much fruit”; not “be given much fruit.”

[4] While teaching some of these concepts on discipleship to a Relief Society group, this insight was brought to my attention by a perceptive class member.

[5.a] AND I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore GIVE ME thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy WILL be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should GIVE unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Pearl of Great Price Moses 4:1-4)

[5.b] Of course, God gives us things also, but His goal in giving gifts (and trials) is for our growth, not our obsessions. The gifts He prefers to give—even directs that we ask for—are spiritual gifts, as in 1 Corinthians 12 and Doctrine and Covenants 46 (v. 8 “… and that ye may not be deceived SEEK YE EARNESTLY the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;”). Proverbs makes it clear: “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired ARE NOT TO BE COMPARED TO IT. … Riches and honour are with me; yea, DURABLE RICHES and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.” (Old Testament Proverbs 8:10-11, 18-19)

[6] And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 3:26)

[7] “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (New Testament Revelation 2:4-5)

See also: “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Book of Mormon Jacob 2:17-19)

[8] And if ye seek the riches which it is the WILL of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 38:39)

[9] And we will prove them herewith, to see if they WILL do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 3:25) And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the WILL of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:21)

[10] But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. (Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 2:24)

[11] Author’s concession: Of course, some may be rich and living in perfect harmony with God’s WILL, but the margin is so slim, it should keep one awake at night, reviewing one’s day. God and his prophets don’t get much more superlative than “wo, wo, wo” as in Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 28. And from my opinionated opinion, this includes the Church of the Laissez-faire ( http://dejavu-times.blogspot.com/2011/03/econ-009-church-of-laissez-faire.html )

NOTE: a very insightful article on a 3-fold test for discerning the will of God in one's life can be found in the last three paragraphs of the article "32. Jacob's Departure From Haran: Genesis 31" at http://pbministries.org/books/pink/Gleanings_Genesis/genesis_32.htm