As we travel through life, we find many opportunities to step off of the path upon which we ought to stay in order to return to our Heavenly Father. His only begotten son Jesus Christ has shown us the way.
He has said:
Matthew 7:14 (KJV) "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
3 Nephi 15:9 (Book of Mormon) "Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."
I took this photo last summer and every time I look at it, I see the end of the road far in the distance and think to myself that if I stay on the path, I will eventually reach my destination. I am eternally grateful for the scriptures and prophets and apostles who stand on either side of the path. If we rely in them daily, we will not loose our way as we journey toward the end of our mortal probation.
May we all stay on the path and do as Jesus has commanded. Look to him. Endure. And live!
And if we endure our tribulation, God shall wipe away all our tears.
Revelation 7 (KJV)
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
To the remnants of the children of Israel, on a mountain near Jerusalem and amidst the ruins of destruction in the Americas, Jesus preached his gospel as found in the Bible in Matthew 7 and in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 14. It is no surprise that his gospel is the same to all his people.
He taught that we should not judge unrighteously because the same measuring stick we use for another's worth will be used to measure our own. He taught that we should ask, seek and knock--that we should come unto God for all that we need and desire. He taught that the way to God is straight and narrow, meaning there are not many roads back to God, but only one.
He taught that we should beware of false prophets and that we would recognize them by their fruits. In other words our actions speak louder than words. Not everyone who claims to know the Lord will be known of him. Our bad acts speak louder than our good words.
Then Jesus concludes with this most powerful analogy. The wise and foolish man. Let us be wise. Let us make Christ our foundation, the rock upon which our lives are built.
3 Nephi 14
24 Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock—
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand—
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
(Compare with Matthew 7.)
1 Peter 5 (KJV)
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
What does Peter mean? How can we be humble? How can we put away pride?
The answer to me can be found in our priorities. What or whom do we put first? Do we seek wealth or fame at the expense of those we love? Do we insist on being right rather than embracing others? Do we consider ourselves better than another? Do we seek to protect ourselves from those who would harm us, or do we seek to avenge those wrongs and return harm for harm?
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain a part of the world, and lose a part of his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for a part of his soul?
Just a part? Do we justify a little sin? Do we exchange just a little part of our soul for a small crumb from the table of the world in a misguided quest to ease our way through life?
Something to ponder when next we're tempted to make just a small wrong choice.
I am reading Paul's words to the Corinthians in his second epistle to them and was impressed by these two verses this morning. As we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and keep his commandments and always remember him, making him the center of our lives, I believe these words from Paul take on greater meaning.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
A testimony of Christ can lead us to follow him, to become more like him, to become new in him. As we do so he may dwell in us, walk in us. He will be our God and we will be his people. What a glorious promise indeed.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." ~Matthew 11:29
"Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me." ~D&C 19:23
"Meekness is a defining attribute of the Redeemer and is distinguished by righteous responsiveness, willing submissiveness, and strong self-restraint...
"The Christlike quality of meekness often is misunderstood in our contemporary world. Meekness is strong, not weak; active, not passive; courageous, not timid; restrained, not excessive; modest, not self-aggrandizing; and gracious, not brash. A meek person is not easily provoked, pretentious, or overbearing and readily acknowledges the accomplishments of others." ~Elder David A Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Learning to be meek is a worthy daily endeavor
Sometimes I like to compare New Testament translations to better understand what the original authors might have meant. Here is one of those cases in Paul's epistle to the Hebrews. Paul is telling the Hebrews, and us, that God is aware of our works of love and efforts to minister to fellow believers in Christ. He is telling us that the leaders of the Church want us to be diligent in our efforts to serve others that we might have hope throughout this life.
Hebrews 6:10-12 (KJV)
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 6:10-12 (NRSV)
10 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
11 And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end,
12 so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.