There is a simple elegance about the way the Lord’s program works. It is not complex, though it may be complex in the blessings it bestows, but the process is very simple. That process is – start where you are, hearken to the voice of the Holy Spirit in the things of your everyday life, and when the next “line” or “precept” appears before you, embrace it through obedience.
We all have a comfort zone of things we are willing to do. Let’s consider Brother Joe Mythical, who goes to church and pays a full tithing. He does about half of his home teaching. He calls family prayers once a week or so after his wife urges him, and he feels guilty about not doing Family Home Evening but is uncomfortable trying to do it. He’ll give a priesthood blessing if someone really needs it and asks many times, but has to fast and prepare for a while to get prepared, and then he doesn’t really know what to say. He doesn’t study the scriptures, but does read the Ensign occasionally. He is second counselor in the Elder’s Quorum, but doesn’t really understand his duties. He goes to the temple a few times a year when he feels a need, but doesn’t understand it. He prays almost the same prayer each night before going to bed. He yearns for spiritual blessings he does not see happening around him, and wonders what is wrong.
Brother Joe’s life has several thousand “lines” dangling before him. All day long the Holy Spirit is urging him to upgrade his spiritual performance in every aspect of his life. Every decision he makes, every time he “forgets” family prayers, or overlooks home teaching once again, or prays without real feeling, the Holy Spirit is reminding and urging him to choose a better course. If Brother Joe “hearkens” to even one prompting his life will begin to change. All it takes is one to begin. He will then feel the Spirit more loudly in other parts of his life, and other spiritual “lines” will become more clear and joyful.
If he chose to hearken to all of the promptings he receives, in a very short time he would be receiving answers to his prayers, joy in service, revelations, bursts of spiritual truth and understand, power in the priesthood, guidance in family and personal matters, greater love for his family and every other aspect of his life would rocket spiritually higher. Brother Joe isn’t ready to hearken to every prompting because each feels like a small sacrifice he is not yet willing to pay.
Every act of obedience seems to require a sacrifice large or small. Staying on your knees an additional couple minutes is a sacrifice of your tired body’s will to your spirit’s unending desire to return to God. Each act of obedience is sacrificing our mortal will to the will of God.
What one learns over time, however, is that nothing we do is actually a sacrifice. We can never make God a debtor because every act of obedience is immediately repaid with a blessing far greater than whatever it cost us in sacrifice to qualify for it. (Mosiah 2:24) There is a divine accounting about these things which always keeps us in the Lord’s debt. When a spiritual pilgrim discovers this – when you truly gain a testimony that every apparent sacrifice actually blesses our lives, opens the windows of heaven and qualifies us for greater inspiration and greater blessings, then it no longer feels like drudgery, a challenge or a sacrifice to obey. It becomes a joy to hear the Holy Spirit urge us to some additional obedience because it is seen by the believing heart as an additional dispensation of blessings for which we pay very little.
Having learned by inspired experience, by walking the path of obedience and observing the divine arithmetic of obedience, there comes a powerful assurance of the love of God, and of His guiding and blessing hand in your life. This is when the erstwhile pilgrim, now the spiritual warrior for Christ, looks around and asks the Lord what His will is for you today. “To whom shall I go? Where would you have me serve? How can I serve and honor Thee today? What would You have me do?” The simple answers enter like flashes of joy. “Call family prayers. Do your home teaching,” Just as before, but this time we are under divine commission. Christ grants us a brighter knowledge of how to pray, and how to succor, how to bless and uplift and testify of Christ’s love.
From there the voice of revelation proceeding from the lips of Christ lead us to all other “lines” and “precepts” that make us priests and priestesses in His service. We are endowed with power, and in the light of Christ we see through the dim glass of mortality more clearly.
This is “consecration made easy” that we begin where we are right now and choose to obey. There is a divinely ordained progression that will bring us from any plateau upon which we presently stand to these greater blessings we seek but can’t even comprehend. It will all roll out before you like a heavenly red carpet which you may walk with feet quickened by joy and perfect faith. “then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon they soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging septor of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (D&C 121:45-46)
The best part is that it does not take a long time. These changes can be made in Alma the Younger style if we can make as determined a choice as did Alma. Most often it is a journey made longer by ignorance of how to remain on the path, kind of like riding a bicycle in traffic with no understanding of the handlebars or brakes. There will be some spectacular failures. But, when we finally understand the “easiness of the way” (Alma 37:46) and turn our whole soul to Christ, the blessings and spiritual power flood into our lives faster than we can receive them.
Next on the UnBlog: Look and Live
© June 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.