Friday, September 14, 2012

Book of Mormon Study - 3 Nephi 13

I love this chapter of pure instruction! I’d like to focus on only a couple of the principles I love here.

There is a saying, "Home is where the heart is." Principle: Our eternal home depends on where our heart is. That is one of the messages of this chapter. If your heart is in the accolades of man, in the material things of this world, than your eternal home will be empty, void of increase.

If your heart is dedicated to spiritual matters (which, in reality, are more real than physical matters), if you are committed to the gospel, if your heart is set on heaven, and your eye single to the eternal perspective, than you shall inherit eternal life. AND, you shall also receive the other things that you need (as God sees it) as well.

The Savior makes it clear that there are two ways to see life: worldly or spiritually (eternally.) When it comes down to it, there are only two choices to make.

Which is more real to you?

Which gives you more pleasure: a compliment from a friend or co-worker, or a warm confirmation from the spirit that what you have done is right? Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy a good compliment, but there is something far more satisfying when I know for sure that I’ve done the right thing. The trick is KNOWING when I’ve hit the right choice.

On which do you base your worth: Your assimilation to the fashion, style and figure of the day, or the knowledge you are a Child of God?

Which brings you the greatest happiness: To have a house full of nice furniture and a closet of nice clothes, or a testimony full of faith and an eternal perspective?

A question you might is: why can't I have both? Can't I have nice things and be a good disciple of Christ?

Of course you can.

But, in Matthew 19:16-29 we read about a young rich man who sought the means to eternal life. He was willing to keep the commandments, but when asked to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor, the young man couldn't bring himself do it. He left, full of sorrow. The Savior went on to say that it was nearly impossible for a rich man to enter into heaven.

Not because of his possessions, but because of his love of his possessions and the power they had over him.

He may have had a slight eternal perspective. He knew what he wanted- eternal life. But, his heart was not there. His heart was in his possessions.

Maybe because it's scary to give up something you can see for something you can't, something now for something later. I have experience with this! It’s hard to give up something you really like for something even better… when you don’t really understand the better and are blinded by the present pleasure.

I don't know. But, what I do know is that the Savior was very clear. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." (v 33)

This morning as I read this and ponder, I ask myself where my heart is. Am I willing to give up all that I have to follow Him? Am I willing to give up fashion for modesty; nice things to stay out of debt; not watch certain movies or read books that are inappropriate; give up food to fast; give up certain foods to obtain better health; give up rest and relaxation for the benefits of exercise; give up money to tithe; give up time and energy to visit teach and serve in my calling; give up time and energy to attend the temple and church, etc?

If I am, than I am on the right path. If I am not willing to give things up, then I’m on the wrong path. If I choose the right path and announce all these sacrifices to get kudos from those around me then it is for naught. My actions are in the right place, but my heart is not fully there.

Actions and thoughts are so closely intertwined. That is why it is truly difficult for a rich man to enter heaven. To have the ability to have nice things and still maintain the willingness to give it all up if asked, to have the toys of the rich, and yet not care about status or appearance- that is feat in and of itself.

Jesus if very clear: You cannot serve two masters.

You can't look North and South at the same time.

You can't walk East and West at the same time.

You are always looking in one direction, walking in one direction. You may glance here or there, or may step backwards or forwards. But, at any given time, you can only look one way, move in one direction.

I guess the real question is: Which way are you looking right now?

Which direction are you going in?

One thing that stood out to me in this chapter was in verse 30, the last part which says "if ye are not of little faith." Having faith is the key word here. Faith proceeds great miracles. In addition, a “little” faith is better than “no” faith.

Love all the personal references in this chapter too, like "YOUR Father, YOUR Heavenly Father, THY Father, OUR Father." Then in verse 32 - "For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." He really does know us. He will provide everything we need when we need it as we follow him.

Ways I can follow Him better I found in this chapter:

Take care of the poor
Pray from the heart
Ask for what I need and be willing to do what He directs me to do
Forgive other… my life depends on it
Cheerfully fast
Seek heaven
Serve God and serve His children
Trust God will care for me and assist me in my efforts

What did you learn?

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