Line Upon Line

Blog #46 November 16,2022
As we open our lives to be guided by God's Spirit we come to understand that every aspect of our life requires our growth in righteousness to become both constant and never ending. We must learn, ponder, and thoughtfully compare our growth to the purpose that grew out of our covenant with God

1:115 Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
1:116 And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.

With the advent of Christ in our life we come to realize that our true joy in God is sharing the love of God with all that don't know Him. It is a reoccurring pattern that clarifies our covenant life with God. In essence, God gives to us that we might share with others.  

2Nephi 12:37-38 
12:37 And blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom;
12:38 For unto him that receiveth, I will give more: and from them that shall say, We have enough, shall be taken away even that which they have.

Our growth is not an act of magic, nor does it just instantly appear. It is a process. It is a path we walk within the various fellowships that come as we grow in our covenant with God. In fellowship with God we find the comfort of acceptance and love, and the need to share that comfort with others. By allowing our hearts to accept and value the cleansing assurance of the Gospel we open our lives to fellowship with Christ our savior. In God's Holy Spirit we learn of virtue, joy, and humility to the source of all knowledge. Our sense of unity becomes a need for oneness as we reach out to fellowship with others of like mind. Our oneness grows to become a gathering of righteousness in God within the rigors of the fellowship we call The Church. Eventually we will reach out to the world with God's purpose in that fellowship God named Zion.

Genesis 7:23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.

There are many voices that seek to counsel us in our growth, but the wisest and most dependable guidance will come from the Spirit God planted deep within in our hearts. As we reach out to God, His Spirit reaches out to us with offerings of truth and virtue. As we humble our lives to the teachings of this Spirit we begin to grow and accept the fact that our life is broader and deeper than it was before we knew Father, the Son, or the Spirit within.

DC 28:8d yea, all things both spiritual and temporal: firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work;

This verse highlights the fact that our lives are now a mixture of the temporal and the spiritual. At times the division is clear and easily recognized. At other times, it becomes confusing and we find ourselves in a position of going to God seeking help. In the beginning we try on our own till we reach out desperate and afraid, because we can't figure out what it is that we need. The only prayer we know to offer is, "Help us, Father. Help us". In our ignorance we fail to realize that God has a design that helps us to recognize a particular need. Trust God. Learn how He would have us grow, and accept it for the fruit it can bear in our lives. 

2Nephi 12:36 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little:

This is God's offering to us. Think of it as a construct much like a brick wall. First we set the foundation then we add to the wall brick by brick. This is growing in God, and Brethren, even the world knows the value of this construction method. Everything built in this temporal world adheres to this time-honored method of construction. Even our temporal maturity is a matter of growing to learn and learning to grow. Consider these examples. We will fail at basic algebra if we don't understand basic math. Can we cook before we know how to measure? Acknowledging this procedure as a method used by both God and humanity, is of immeasurable worth to us as we seek to grow in God. Essential to this growth is accepting the truth that growth is a choice. God will not force us to grow. We must choose to grow and seek from God through His Spirit that which we need. 

Luke 11:10-11
1:10 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
11:11 For every one who asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Understanding how a process works is essential knowledge for finding, understanding, and correcting problems that threaten the smooth flow of the process towards its eventual success. The act of repairing a machine that fails to complete its designed function begins with understanding what it is supposed to achieve and how it works to achieve success (what is the machine supposed to do?). We then compare this to what it is doing and how that varies from its designed function (what it is doing and how that is wrong?). Consider how basic this process is and how we use it every day. For instance, too much sugar cannot make cookies taste salty. Identifying a problem correctly is the only way to recognize the solution. 

2Nephi 12:36 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little:

Let us return to the wall and the construct that is our life in righteousness and understand how this knowledge can affect our growth. Our labor with God is to overcome the darkness and fear within the heart of man. God seeks for those who are willing to allow their heart to change. He seeks for a people that will give humble acceptance to counsel and direction by His Holy Spirit. He seeks hearts that will be nourished by the charity it offers another and people that will recognize and accept the ability of fellowship to sustain us in our darkest hours of need. God knows that such a people will influence others to join them in this covenant of repentance and reconciliation. God seeks a people that will bring to the world a testimony of the strength that comes within our humility to God and the surety of the perfect love He offers His children. 

Mosiah 3:3 And also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.

Our covenant with God through Jesus Christ is all about change, but it is not something we can do ourselves. Only our fellowship with God, through His Holy Spirit will bring about the change and growth we seek. If we refuse to allow our hearts to be changed, we lose the very foundation on which a righteous fellowship is built. Without the Son, there is no path to the Father. Without the Father, there is no Spirit to lead us. The Gospel becomes a lie. The scriptures have little or no meaning. Our actions become temporal and have no spiritual significance. Priesthood becomes either taskmasters or entertainers, and our fellowships become hollow and meaningless. There  no counselors. There are no counsel. The Kingdom is beyond our reach and we are lost.

Philippians 4:6-9
4:6 Be afflicted for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you.

The passage above I think aptly describes the heart of those growing in God and laboring with Him for the Kingdom. This realization can open our hearts to a way that the concept of "line upon line" can help those in need. When they find the wall that is our righteous life weakened and threatening to topple, the ability to diagnose the exact problem is the quickest and most effective way to turn a life back to God. 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

First of all I am thankful that Paul simplified our task by using the less than exacting word "things". It doesn't matter what they are. It could be a shot of whisky or a glass of orange juice in the morning. It could be a TV show you really want to see or an hour of exercise. What matters is whether they can bolster and/or improve our life in God. If the "things" of our life do not meet the criteria voiced by this verse, they are probably leading us away from God. Our ability to understand the structure of our life in God allows us to view our life as a gathering of "things". In that mindset we can compare them to the criteria in Philippians and determine whether these "things" are an asset or a liability to our life in God.

Malachi 3:2-3
2:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap;
2:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Isaiah 1:22-23
1:22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water;
1:23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

Open your mind and grasp the full meaning of Isaiah 1:22. Wine mixed with water we can understand. The diluted wine looses its not only its flavor, but also its body and texture. It is no longer good wine. What of the word dross? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it thusly:

Dross (dräs)
1: The scum or unwanted material that forms on the surface of molten metal
2: Waste or foreign matter : IMPURITY

Precious metals in their natural state come from the earth covered and intermingled with soil and other metals. In the process of smelting the metals are heated and liquefied. In that state the impurities separate from the precious metals they surround and can be removed from the precious metals leaving them pure and untainted. Metaphorically this is a mind picture of the natural man subject to the Holy fires of repentance, redemption, and covenant. What is left after this process is person ready to become a child of God. This is God's work in the world of man and as many as will allow Him to do His work in their life; they will be come His children.

Isaiah 1:25 And I will turn my hand upon thee; and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin;

Consider the fullness of this promise from God. Our growth in God causes us to change. This change is accomplished by turning away from "things" of this world and replacing them with "things" of the Kingdom. This is the essence of repentance and God promises us that He will be there and turn His hand on us and guide us as we replace the dross in our lives with those "things" of the Kingdom. If you check the wall of your life and find that the brick marked "television and electronic media" is causing a crack in the wall that is your righteousness, pray to God and ask Him to send you something that is true, honest, pure, lovely, of good report, or virtuous to replace this corrupted brick in your wall. Then pay attention for it is coming, and it will come again and again. God wants us to have His Kingdom in our hearts and He will come, time after time offering us both salvation and redemption.

Luke 12:35 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

As we grow in the ways of God we grow also in our ability understand the importance of love, trust, compassion, and patience in our lives. This ability to diagnose a problem in our lives and go to God with a specific need has a dark side. As I learn to see the gathering of "things" that is my righteousness my eyes can stray to the life of my siblings. Too often I will see in their life a corrupted brick they might have missed, and I want to rush over and make it all better. Some will call that an offering and others will call in none of my business. Trouble is that in a friendship that falls short of the oneness we seek both are correct, but only one will be accepted. My ability to be bold in correcting the problem of another is completely dependent on the amount of effort I have put into the relationship before the problem occurs. If it is a friendship built on the sure foundation of trust and common values then their problem, can be my problem, by allowing it to be our problem, and visa versa. This Brethren, is the essence of oneness and the perfecting of it is a worthy labor.

Line upon line:
Know your own talents.

Accept and utilize the talents of the Brethren.

Discover the talents we and God possess working together.
Brethren, pursue these with joy.




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