Tuesday, July 8, 2014

First, Seek to Obtain My Word

“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men” (D&C 11:21). (lds.org)

I wonder, in all seriousness, the literal number of times I have been told to read my scriptures. Throughout my childhood, my teenage years, and even since being an adult. So many times. So many. 


In the times we live in there's so much proof of this or that. There's research on one thing and research on another thing. There's ways to document everything in life making it "easier" to find truth. Unfortunately, I think I have been distracted and confused at times and I have relied on many different sources for strength and reassurance. Though they have all been good sources, I still find myself seeking peace. I don't think it's just my personality speaking when I say we live in a pretty crazy and not-exactly-peaceful world. There are literal psychos all over the place. I don't use the term psycho lightly or impolitely either. I am simply pointing out the obvious. I've always wished I could go back in time and live in a quieter world, (not forever, but maybe a day) but then I think, maybe I'm better off not knowing the extent of the horror that exists on the earth today. If I were to see how good it may have been at times, maybe I would be too afraid to come back to 2014. Because of the world's terribleness, we are bombarded by advertisements for anything and everything that will, "make us happy." 

But the thought of trying to figure out what will help bring me peace is overwhelming--when I look to the world's advice. How do I know what's right? How do I find something that will truly help and give me everlasting comfort? Out of all the worlds offerings, how do I know where to go? Sound familiar? 

Joseph Smith had a similar experience when seeking which religion he should join. He was offered many seemingly good choices, yet he was confused. 

So, he sought God's word. 

The scriptures were the only foundation he saw fit to lead him to figuring out the answer to a life-changing question. "What should I do?"

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" James 1:5

Admittedly, my impatience makes me try to skip the scripture-checking step and go directly to prayer. Not a bad way to go, but maybe not the best.

As I've tried to be better at reading my scriptures, I know why Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ tell us to "Obtain My Word". 

In the Bible Dictionary, under the word "Prayer" we read:
"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.

There are many passages in the New Testament that teach the duty of prayer (Matt. 7:7; 26:41; Luke 18:1; 21:36;Eph. 6:18; Philip. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Thes. 5:17, 25; 1 Tim. 2:1, 8). Christians are taught to pray in Christ’s name (John 14:13–14; 15:7, 16; 16:23–24). We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart." (lds.org)

When I read the scriptures, I better understand our Savior. I start to see how Heavenly Father was and is, and my mind automatically starts to think higher thoughts. And one of the blessings that I feel directly comes from reading the scriptures, is peace. 

So here we are in this world trying to seek truth. Trying to be happy. I've found that if I will just do the simple "primary answers" of reading my scriptures, saying my prayers, and going to church--my life changes for the better. I find peace--and I feel the divine strength that gives me confidence, knowledge, and power to go forward with faith.  

I don't have a lot of knowledge or wisdom, but I can bear testimony of a few powerful truths. I know that reading the scriptures is one of the ways we keep a firm grip on the iron rod. It's one way we can find solace, and one way we can find answers to the questions we are always asking. When we obtain His word, we start to receive revelation for our lives, guidance towards the straight and narrow path of righteousness-- in a world that offers too many different roads to take. 

It's a simple task, but we have to do it. We cannot afford to leave our scriptures closed. We cannot risk thinking that we know enough. If our lives are too busy to read, maybe we need to reevaluate our priorities. 
This is the newest lesson I'm learning in my life. There's always something the Lord's tryin' to teach me. And since I'm a little dumb sometimes I get the same lessons over and over :) But that's okay, it just means the truth is real and it lasts. What was true for me as a child is still true for me as an adult. I have to do the simple things to be the happiest. That's just the way it is.