UnBlog # 508
Because of human nature it is almost universal for people to grow spiritually in some way, and then to begin to be proud of that growth. The danger in this of course is that our gifts depend upon our continuing humility and reliance upon Jesus Christ, who is the giver of the gift. When our pride inflates, the spirit departs, and so does the gift.
The laws of heaven have a built-in mechanism to overcome this cycle – it is that every spiritual gift we receive in this life is opposed by an equal and opposite increase in evil. This is why when someone is born again, receives a spiritual gift, or sees a vision or angel, that their life has a tendency to unravel for a time.
This equal and opposite clause of humanity has several purposes – first, it assists us in remaining dependent upon the Lord for the continuing flow of that blessing. It is a mercy because nowhere else is there safety and peace. It helps us stop the dramatic spiritual cycling of mortality. In time, with lifelong experience, we learn that our gifts, our spiritual stature, our joy in living, all comes from Jesus Christ, and we fall at His feet and acknowledge our continuing dependence upon Him through the glorious times, and through the gloom. Then, when the storms come, and the tempests rage, we watch from the safe harbor of His mercy and power of deliverance.
The other thing it accomplishes is that it forces us to grow. Remember, “human nature” is a creation of God. Father has used this pattern of mortal experience for “eternities without end”. When we agreed to be born on earth, we agreed to accept the conditions of mortality, with all its weakness and easy vulnerability to sin so that we could learn by our own experience, the good from the evil.
It is the nature of our spirits to yearn to be with God, to only care about eternal things, and to be willing to obey in all things. It is our body which experiences the unending tidal flow of evil, and which makes us an “enemy to God” when we yield to its pull. (Mosiah 3:19) This pounding fury of opposition forces us to our knees, where we may overcome the natural man through the atonement of Christ, and thus return to our native spiritual state of being “willing to submit to all things . . . even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Understanding this pattern gives us insight into our own weakness, into our own failings, and into the reason for the trials and travails of mortality. It gives us power to remain on the path when our spiritual highs fade for no fault of our own, or when we begin to doubt the witness of our own eyes, or the burning of our own bosom, or to believe the answers to our own prayers, when we wonder how we could be so weak as to return to our previous sinful wallows.
Brother Brigham, in his unique way, described it this way: “So when individuals are blessed with visions, revelations, and great manifestations, look out, then the devil is nigh you, and you will be tempted in proportion to the vision, revelation, or manifestation you have received. Hence thousands, when they are off their guard, give way to the severe temptations which come upon them, and behold they are gone.” (Brigham Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, February 17, 1856.)
© August 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.