“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” Lectures on Faith, Lecture Sixth.
Most Latter-day Saints are familiar with this quote from the Lectures on Faith and the principle of sacrifice, especially those who have been through the temple. When we consider receiving higher blessings from the Lord, the requirement to sacrifice all things may cause us to be fearful, not knowing what will be exacted of us as part of the proving process. People usually equate the phrase “the sacrifice of all things” with losing a child or loved one or having a significant health or financial crisis. It is possible that all of those challenging experiences can happen to us, but let’s look at the process of how the higher blessings are generally received before we let the unknown keep us from moving forward on the path back home. I used the word “generally,” because this process is very personal and uniquely tailored for every individual.
As we travel forward and upward on that rollercoaster path that Brother John described so well in his book “Following the Light of Christ Into His Presence,” we invariably come to a point in our progression where we are required to make covenants with the Lord to continue progressing. These covenants are very sacred and are entered into on an individual basis. One of the covenants we are asked to make is to be willing to sacrifice all things. This is not a casual commitment that is required of us, but rather asks each of us to carefully and thoroughly search our heart as we prepare to make such a serious promise to the Lord. The power to make this covenant will distill on our souls drop by divine drop as we diligently search the scriptures, fervently cry unto the Lord in mighty prayer and anxiously engage in blessing our fellow man. We must understand that this covenant may require our mortal life as well as everything we possess. But, His grace and mercy will fully change our image to His as we knowingly and willingly lay it all on the altar, even our own life if necessary. It is at this this point in our life we rejoice in all things that are from Jesus Christ because we completely submit our will to His.
Such an important commitment is not fully made in a moment with most of us but rather requires a period of time for preparation. To get to a point in our lives where we are ready and desirous to covenant to sacrifice all things, we must listen to the Spirit guiding us forward and upward and onward. The Spirit’s gentle influence will help us become keenly aware of those around us who need the Lord’s help through us. We will look anxiously at faces of those around us to see if they need spiritual assistance or a friendly word. We will stop and pick up trash on the way into the store. We will acknowledge that everything we see represents the majesty of the Lord. All of His creation, rivers, mountains, trees, animals, and the heavens, are sacred and magnificent. This is the beginning of the process to bring heaven to us on earth.
To be con’t