The Cost of Exaltation


As I read the comments you write on the Un-Blog, and speak to friends and family, a picture is forming in my mind, which is that all of us, to some degree or another, are struggling to tell the difference between true revelation, and the other voices in our minds. Wednesday evening I met with friends in my home, and we spent most of our time talking about how to really know when we are receiving revelation.

First, let us observe that promptings, both from good and evil, generally sound the same, especially in the beginning. They most often come as ideas or thoughts that enter our mind, and generally don’t involve words. We must carefully judge the good promptings from evil ones by their content, not how they sound.

This is the great dividing line between true revelation and everything else. If it leads us to do good, to be kind, to show love, to give grace or mercy or kindness, if it leads us to Christ, or leads us to help others come to Christ, then it is inspired of God. The scriptures say that we may know with a “perfect knowledge” that such things are from God.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God (Moroni 7:15-16)

We also hear ourselves think. The easiest way to recognize the voice of our own mind is that it is unsure. It asks questions and ponders things. “Why is this happening”, “What did that mean”, “What should I do now?” are all products of our own mind. The voice of our own mind often uses the personal case such as, “I am tired”, “I’m confused”, “I hate that”.

The voice of evil tries to get us to ignore the voice of Christ. It actually argues against it. The Holy Spirit will say, “Study the scriptures”, and then the voice of opposition rails against it. “It’s late”, “You’re tired, do it tomorrow”, “Better make those phone calls first”. The voice of evil can rarely just give one argument, but seems to prefer to rail against good promptings. It actually helps us tell the difference. Even in temptations, it will most often come again and again, giving us additional reasons to act.

Another hallmark of evil is that it often tries to get us to indulge our flesh, senses and lusts. The voice of evil is the only one that urges us to control other people, to limit their agency, or dominate others.

When we receive a prompting to do something that is on its face neither good nor bad, then we must search diligently to know right from wrong. I believe it is far better to take time to pray, ponder and even fast, before acting, than to blindly obey some prompting that is inspired of evil. I believe it is righteous to pray something like “Father, I just had the feeling that I should . . . I am willing to do anything you ask, but I really need to know if this is from you so I don’t make a mistake. Please tell me again, in a way that I can’t misunderstand”.

Learning to telling the difference is one of the main spiritual processes of mortality. Those who learn to hear His voice, and who obey, are exalted – everyone else is not. (D&C 45:45-47, 84:43-45, 84:46-47, 84:52-53, 93:1)

Over time, and by righteous experience, it becomes easier and easier to tell the difference. There is a definable feeling, or essence, a flavor if you will, that accompanies revelation. With a little persistence it will all become much easier to hear. It never seems to get easier to obey, just easier to tell the true source of the prompting.

It is far better to humble ourselves than to be compelled to be humble. It is far better to let the Holy Spirit teach us obedience through little things, like responding to a prompting to say you’re sorry or to drive the speed limit, than to resist until only a dramatic event can penetrate our hearts and teach us to obey.

The cost of exaltation is obedience, and the cost of obedience is whatever it takes to teach us to hear the voice that we must obey.

Brother John

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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One Response to The Cost of Exaltation

  1. Darrell says:

    Dear brother John: It is such a priveledge to be able to write to you. i wrote a letter to you a number of years ago after reading your book “Following The Light Of Christ Into His Presence”. You were instrumental in turning my life around, and my brother’s. I feel i have been prompted to write you and i hope you don’t mind long messages. I wanted to share an experience i had some years ago and to ask you something. Some years ago, i was in a sacrament meeting and heard a brother talk about why we had to leave our heavenly home to come to earth. When i got home, i prayed about it. It seemed a vision opened up to my mind…it wasn’t like watching tv, it was more like remembering back on something that happened before, but it was symbolic. In this vision, i saw a home ( felt it more than saw it), and in this home seemed to be every good thing. It was a wonderful place, filled with family and friends. every good feeling existed there, everyone loved and appreciated every one. One night, my Father came to me and told me i would have to leave Home for awhile. I was told i would be leaving that very night. It also seemed to me there was a chance i might never return. i felt a heartbreak leaving this place i loved so dearly. i also felt panic. i had never left home before, i had never been by myself. i was scared. As i was getting ready to leave and saying goodbye to those people i loved so much, i felt like my heart was going to melt. Then my Father came to me and told me i wasn’t going on this journey alone. He was sending my older Brother with me. Relief surged through me and a love and appreciation for my Brother unlike any i had ever known. My heart was filled with gratitude. The journey wouldn’t be nearly as frightening with Him with me. He took my hand and hand in hand we walked out into the dark. The journey was long, dark, and dangerous, but He was always with me, and though it was hard, it was beautiful as well. I would never had known how much He loved me and how much i loved Him had i not taken this journey. Then i knew why i had come to earth. Sadly, i have made some terrible decisions over the past year and a half that have been very spiritually and emotionally traumatic. i am in the process of repenting and willing to go down into the depths of humility to make it right. i have had many dark hours, days, weeks and months, but i long to know the power of my Savior’s deliverence. i need to know His voice. i truly desire for the time to come when i love and trust His voice above all things. That my desire to follow Him will be greater than any fear, greater than pride, or any worldly lust. Brother Pontius, i really believe that whomsoever you bless will be blessed. If the Spirit dictates, please pray for me. Darrell

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