Lay Hold upon Every Good Thing


I promised to Un-Blog about this important topic. We pray and pray and hope and cry all of our lives in pursuit of “every good thing” according to our limited view of our lives, most often feeling like we don’t understand how to open the windows of heaven and lay hold on what we want.

Yet, the scriptures are very clear about what “every good thing” actually is, and how to obtain them all. Moroni 7:21 says in part, “and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold upon every good thing.” To understand his explanation we must go back to and understand his earlier dissertation.

After discussing that a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water, and all evil comes from the Devil, he also notes that all things which are good come from God.

12 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.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. (Moroni 7: 12-13)

The important understanding here is that EVERYTHING which is good, which inspires us to do good, to be kind, to express love, to show mercy, to be Christlike in any part of our lives – these things are inspired of God. There are no exceptions.

If you have read very many Un-Blogs, you have read many lessons on how the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, leads us, how it begins as our conscience, and matures and evolves as we obey it. Recognizing our consciences as a voice of revelation, and THE voice of Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest and most powerful forward evolutions in our journey into righteousness.

For this same reason Moroni continues his discourse on how to lay hold upon every good thing by saying:

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.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7:16-17)

The valuable insight here is the absoluteness of this principle. We may know with a “perfect knowledge” that all good things come from God, and that never ever, by divine decree, has good come from the Devil or his angels. These lines cannot be crossed.

There are very few things of the Spirit and of God, which mortals may know “with a perfect knowledge”. We can’t even know that God lives with a perfect knowledge because God has ordained that we must believe by imperfect faith. But, in this matter of knowing good from evil, there is a decree of absoluteness. We may know “with a perfect knowledge”.

Because of this absolute truth, Moroni continues:

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. (Moroni 7:18)

In other words, if we incorrectly deem something evil to be of God, and participate in it, then we will be judged of God. (ye shall also be judged.) This is the “law” against which we will be judged in the last day. Moroni concluded earlier:

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. (Moroni 7:15)

In the beginning we learn by experience until we actually do know “with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night,” the difference between which is inspired of God, and that which is not. For this very reason (wherefore) Moroni begs us:

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. (Moroni 7:19)

In other words, any time we are prompted by the Still Small Voice to do anything good, we may recognize it “with a perfect knowledge” and lay hold upon it, and not condemn (or reason our way out of doing these things as suggested by the devil and his angels) and in this path, by this means, we will become a child of Christ.

This is the same message found in D&C 84:47: “And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.”

Still speaking of this same process of “lay hold upon every good thing” Moroni then adds:

25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing. (Moroni 7:25)

We will talk about the ministering of angels at a later time. The master stroke of truth that we learn here is that saving and empowering faith, begins by obedience to that tiny spark of truth we call our conscience.

We “begin to exercise faith in Christ” because we recognize “with a perfect knowledge” that Christ never sends us into harm, that His word always blesses our lives and protects us, and that by doing His work, according to His word, which we hear in our hearts minute by minute, and day by day, our faith in Christ begins to be unshakeable. In time (and it does take time to evolve into veil-rending faith) we know by experience that obedience to His voice is always the right choice. Our faith in Him as a concept is replaced by faith in Him as a present, living force in our life.

It is this faith, which we acquire by righteous experience, which allows us to lay hold upon every good thing.

When we evolve spiritually past the “don’t steal that candy bar,” and “say you’re sorry” level of revelation from Christ, then the Holy Spirit begins to lead us to acts of service which on their face may seem scary – like going on a mission, bearing testimony in an uncomfortable setting, accepting callings which are right, but for which we know we are poorly qualified, or defending truth when you know you will be ridiculed and persecuted. We can’t “know” the outcome of obedience in these matters, but we do know by living faith, that Christ always leads us into greater joy and greater blessings – so we obey – in faith – simply knowing “with a perfect knowledge” that Christ will repay our losses – if there even are any – 100 fold. We don’t have knowledge of the outcome, but we have perfect faith that it will bring us the great blessings we are seeking.

After his great and inspired discourse, Moroni answers his own question in this simple yet mighty way:

“And thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing.” (Moroni 7:21) And so can we.

Brother John

© August 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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3 Responses to Lay Hold upon Every Good Thing

  1. Ken h says:

    I am truly happy with this post. I guess I was blessed with a very “sharp” conscience. It has guided me from spiritual and physical harm thoughout my life. When I was ready to join the church, a year and a half after my older sister joined, I then recognized it for what it was, the Light of Christ. As I was instructed and taught by other saints in the branch I was in, I realized how sharp it was. How my life grew in the love of my Savior for those promptings and insights. It truly led me to understand truths I never knew existed. Then the Holy Ghost would confirm these truths one at a time. One leads to the other. It was a great awakening of my soul! It prompted me and gave me strength to take my seminary copy of the Book of Mormon ( The bright blue one used back then ) to school with me along with my Bible. When I followed these greater degrees of understanding my life was full of joy. The more I followed the Light of Christ, the sharper it became. It taught me to be kind and sincere among many other things. When I went against it, I felt a strong sense of guilt and shame. I was impressed to seek forgiveness right away. I know that Christ’s love is truly for everyone. He seeks to lead us all into goodness and truth if we let Him. I am so grateful for a sharp conscience to guide me in my life. I would truly be lost without His love and promptings to choose the right. What a sweet and tender mercy we all have be given, even the voice of Jesus Christ to guide us home throught Him to His Father.

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  2. LeAnn says:

    John, I have a question for you. I have always associated conscience with the feelings of guilt or approbation i experience, but I find that I occasionally feel guilty when I am doing the RIGHT thing, like when I joined the church. I recognize that my feelings were out of concern for my parents’ and spouse’s feelings, but it is difficult to discern and follow one’s conscience when it seems so conflicted.

    I also read Paul’s discussion of conscience in 1Corinthians, where he talks about the weaker consciences of newer members perhaps being offended by seeing him eating food offered to idols, which is not actually wrong in and of itself, and it causing them to slip. If something is not wrong, why can it make us feel guilty?

    I am trying to understand better my conscience and discern the different voices and pulls that I feel. Am I assigning feelings of guilt and anxiety to my conscience when they are actually from another source? Can conscience be subjective (which could be read into the “see that ye do not judge wrongfully, for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged” statement)?

    Thanks for all your unblogs. They are a great blessing to me and have led me to see and understand things I had not before, and have given me courage to follow the Lord more perfectly.

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    • John Pontius says:

      Dear LeAnn,
      I’m not sure about guilt. It seems that both the Holy Spirit and your own mind can generate guilt. I know my wife feels guilt about everything from not going to every wedding within the solar system to kids starving in Africa. I don’t experience guilt unless I do something which injures someone. Perhaps it is a matter of training yourself to only respond to feelings which are directing us to do right, and to serve God. The starving kids in Africa may not be within our reach.

      Sorry I dont’ have a better answer.

      Let’s see what the Un-Blog family thinks.

      John

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