A Worthy Trial

Blog #67 September 2, 2023

Growing in God is the labor of gathering knowledge and learning how to apply it to the life we live. In Garden of Eden creation was our playground. We lived in blissful ignorance, heedless of the dangers that threatened the paradise around us and unaware of the need we would have for the authorities that God in His wisdom had created within us. The greatest gift God gave us was the need to gather knowledge, the ability to process it, and the authority decide for ourselves what to do with the knowledge gained. That God given talent created within us a curious nature, which demanded an answer to the question, "Why". This essential question is the very foundation of our ability to grow, but if we choose to grow and allow ourselves to trust anyone but the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit as our source for knowledge; bad things are bound to happen. 

Moroni 710-11
7:10 Wherefore, all things which are good, cometh of God; and that which is evil, cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
7:11 But behold, that which is of God, inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Before our rebellion in the Garden, trusting God was a given because we understood nothing about the nature of sin. Once we chose to ignore God's instruction and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we killed in our heart the ability to be innocent and ignorant. With that decision the potential to be obstinate tainted our hearts and we were no longer worthy of the perfection of God and His Kingdom. Until we turn away from the lust of the world, decide on our own to open our hearts to the truth of God, we must live without His voice guiding our lives. Only in covenant with God through Christ will our life ever epitomize anything other than death.

DC 36:7b and in the garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency; and unto your brethren have I said, and also gave commandments, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father;

Without the presence of God, the life of Adam and Eve changed drastically. 

Genesis 3:22-25
3:22 Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
3:23 And unto Adam, I, the Lord God, said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the fruit of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
3:24 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
3:25 By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground, for thou shalt surely die; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Our lives, too change greatly when we deny the presence of God. When we refuse His loving guidance, the word chastise becomes a very poignant way to describe our fellowship with God. The love of God is not gone from our lives, but if we seek to keep it prepare yourself for how hard it might be to live with.  

Proverbs 3:11-12
3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction;
3:12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

This is a hard concept Brethren and it is critical that we appreciate the importance of the mindset it seeks to create. We must realize that learning is more than just an authority we possess or a gift we are given. It is a process. For us to grow in the ways of God, we must allow ourselves to become a part of that process. The wisdom we seek comes from our willingness to include God, our covenant with God through Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God's wisdom to become a fellowship of active communion within us. If this is too esoteric to understand easily consider the act of walking and all that it involves. Proper consideration will reveal to us that as walking is more than just moving our legs in the same way that our ability to grow is more than just listening to God and gathering knowledge. Both require an evaluation of the conditions we are presented with and an ability to respond with both words and deeds to the needs of the situation we face. 

Navigating a dark room is a good way to understand that walking to a light switch involves more than just the movement of our legs. We rely on our eyes to tell us how far, what effort is needed, and what we must navigate around to get to the light switch we seek. Lacking the ability to see well we must use our hands to help identify obstacles in our way and the exact location of the switch we seek. We rely on the heart and the lungs to provide oxygen and nutrition for the legs that they will have the strength to move and carry the body. Finally, without consciously being aware of it, the liquid of the inner ears gives us the balance that allows us to walk without falling down. In a fellowship of active communion these many varied parts of our body labor together that we might get across the room to turn the light on.

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Such is the way of learning. It is a process that enjoins many separate talents and learned abilities that we might gather knowledge, experience its uplifting awareness, and apply this awareness to our particular situation. Properly used this process causes our life to grow through righteous response. 

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

First of all give yourself a brake. We are human and we don't always get it right the first time. Sometimes we are chastised by the situation and sometimes we must rely on God to point out our shortcomings. As a loving Father, God realizes this and we must believe that He loves us sometimes "because" and sometimes "in spite of", but He never stops loving us. We must never fear failure, because we are not alone. At the risk of being redundant, I will repeat this: We are never alone. God is here with us and He wants to help, but He respects our authority to choose. He refuses to just reach out and change our direction. If we fail, we must be prepared look up to God, reach out to Him through the Spirit, accept His helping hand, and try again. We call this humility and it is essential. We have to realize that humility in God and to God was never meant to create shame. In the end humility in God is our quickest, most sure path to gratitude.     

Romans 8:26-28 
8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God allows us a Spirit filled with His wisdom that we might become secure in His love for us. He wants us to know that we need not fear our failure. He doesn't and what's more, He expects it. He knows as we do that experience is the best teacher. Our ability to look to Him even in our failure testifies to Him of the true state of our heart. By reaching out to Him, accepting the instruction He offers, and trying again, we let Him know that what we seek is more important than any damage to our pride we suffer. This Brethren is the very essence of the humility we need and the strength it will bring us. 

Psalms 131:1-3
131:1 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
131:2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even as a weaned child.
131:3 Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.

Proverbs 3:13-18
3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding;
3:14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
3:15 She is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
3:16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor.
3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is everyone that retaineth her.

God in His loving nature gives us a picture of wisdom that we might understand both all that it can do for us, and how we utilize it to accomplishes our covenant labor. 

1 Nephi 6:44-48 
6:44 But behold, Zion hath said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me; but he will shew that he hath not.
6:45 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

A mother's love is a sanctuary the world sees as incorruptible. Such is the way of God's wisdom. It is to be prized above all other possessions. Nothing of this earth has more worth or more value. It promises life in abundance, safety, security, and peace. God reassures us that this is a valid appraisal of His love for us. In His heart He knows that all who seek his wisdom will come to know His ways and in that knowledge they will forsake fear and commune with Him in love, trust, and honor. 

Isaiah 46:3-4
46:3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb;
46:4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you; I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

This is His promise to the House of Jacob as well as all His children covenanted to His purpose. Even though we are broken and chastised by the world. Even thou we have turned away from Him in disgrace. Even when we are ashamed and filled with the fear of His righteous judgment, all we need to do is reach out to Him and He will come to us. 

3 Nephi 4:58 O ye house of Israel, whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.

Trust in the love of the Father so that even in times of chastisement we can forsake both shame and fear. The Lord is filled with mercy for those who recognize their sin and reach out for His grace. In humility we fully understand the nurture of the Lord and the sustaining nature of His wisdom. Like a mother to her child, chastisement seeks to enlighten us and cause us to grow in the righteousness that can make us effective in our labor for God's purpose. This is the power of our humility to the Lord and the strength of the wisdom He offers us.

Hebrews 12:11-13
12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees;
12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

As a final thought, chastisement in God is of God, and is a necessary part of learning and growing. The world and even the churches of the world want to mistakenly consider chastisement as judgment and consider those being chastised as heathen unloved by the Father and therefore unworthy of our love. Gather those shameful thoughts together. Now, cast them from your heart. Condemnation is not our purpose. They can turn away from us and we can turn away from them, but as we grow in the love of God we will find that act regardless of who initiates it as one of sorrow. Let it be as such and allow it to strengthen your resolve to labor diligently for the Kingdom.

No pain no gain?
No, no effort, no joy.


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