Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Making sacrifice

I awoke this morning to the voice of the Spirit. (Hat tip to Tim Malone and Daymon Smith: It wasn't Skeletor!) It "spoke" to me, quoting scripture, the first words passing through my groggy mind:
8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. (2 Nephi 32:8.)
I was distressed that I still had not come unto Christ in the flesh. What's the point? What's the use? I'm still not worthy! I'll never be! I told myself. (What "voice" was I listening to then?) I went on to think about my many failures...including my failure to avoid contention (to not get angry) by seeing Christ in everyone I meet. (I can't seen to remember to do that!)

"With all this stuff you're learning," my wife's words haunted me, "when are you going to start actually doing?"

Another failure.

I have been learning great truths. (Thank you, Bret Corbridge, for your amazing book! For those who would like a copy, the author has given me permission to distribute a pdf version of his work for free. Just send me $25...okay, just send me an email, asking for a copy, at wtcarter2@gmail.com...and I will send it to you.)

Then I realized I wasn't praying! Had I not sought revelation? Had I not sought acceptance by Him? He was "instructing" me to come unto Him now! "Keep praying! Keep seeking Jesus until you find Him!" (That, in a nut shell, is the single, most important, enduring "advice" Denver Snuffer and Log have ever given me.) 

And I wasn't doing it.

I realized I was allowing myself to be distracted and discouraged by my faults! I was listening to the voice of the accuser! (In fact, I had become one! Against myself! Against others!) My pride precluded me from coming unto Christ, by compelling me to imagine that my "righteousness" could (somehow) "qualify" me to come unto Him.

We are all going to come unto Him eventually -- some now, the rest later. Those who come unto Him now, in this life (or who would have done so, had they been permitted to tarry) will "wake up" to eternal joy and celestial glory in the world(s) to come. Those who willfully postpone their reconciliation with Christ -- not recognizing His "voice" nor heeding His "words" -- will rise in sorrow and shame hereafter, worlds without end.

No amount of "righteousness" on my part is ever going to make me "holy enough"! I am ever an "unworthy creature". 

There is a way, however -- the only way -- to come unto Christ in this life. That way is not by asserting one's righteousness, but by confessing one's sins, acknowledging one's weaknesses and unworthiness. By being meek and lowly -- humble -- and by exercising faith in Christ, repenting (by confessing one's sins -- and forgiving all others of theirs!) and by being baptized (to show one's willingness to keep the commandments of God) and receiving His baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost -- an indelible witness, a purging influence, by which one comes to know God -- then is His grace "sufficient". Then, by following Him, by denying ourselves of all ungodliness, we eventually come back into His presence and become partakers of His glory, not by our power, but by His. Not by faith in ourselves, but by faith in Him. Thus, by patience and faith in Christ, we overcome this world.

Jesus will have to "qualify" and "sanctify" me. I can only come as I am (initially).

Because I love Him, I strive to give away all my sins to know Him. I strive to "purify" myself as He is pure. In the end, when I stand before Him, hopefully I will be wearing the wedding garment He has provided for me. Hopefully I will be carrying the oil I have acquired from Him, having stored it in my lamp. Even so, only He can cleanse me -- by His Spirit. Only He can sanctify me -- by His blood. If I succeed, it will be only by His merits. All the glory be His.

I want to "graduate" from this telestial probation. This life is what I have been willing to receive from Him (thus far). Because I follow Him, I have been privileged to come to this earth. (Ironically, even those who reject His leadership are privileged to partake of His goodness. He is that kind of beneficent, unselfish Leader. That's why I love Him! That's why I have chosen Him to be my God!) In Him I have life. As long as I remain in Him, as long as I live and "endure to the end", I will never die, worlds without end. "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 19:26-27.) I will be resurrected in Christ, even born again.

Nevertheless, I perceive that there is more. He offers more. I want more

I seek a terrestrial and, then, celestial existence. I seek these things by faith in Christ. I seek to cast off the "natural man" of this world.

He was calling me this morning. At that very moment, He was directing me to pray to Him.

And I heard Him.

So I slid out of my bed, prepared a place for Him, and knelt in prayer. 

As I opened my mouth, I was not filled with rapturous emotion (as I have been in the past). My tongue was not loosed and given to the eloquence of angels (as I have known before). 

But I did make a connection with Deity. I received pure intelligence in my mind.

The Lord made known to me that my efforts to reconcile my mistakes and missteps with others, while not complete, were acceptable to Him. He gave me intelligence on what to say and do next.

He also told me that my continuing anger resulted from "coveting" even that which I had. (See Doctrine and Covenants 19:26.) In short, for thinking that I "owned" anything and thereafter "suffered" its loss. 

Is not everything in His hand? Including my soul?

I was reminded that I had covenanted to sacrifice all things unto Him, including my time, talents and means. What was "mine" that I was determined to withhold from Him?

I searched my soul for anything I refused to sacrifice to Him.

"Nothing, Lord. You can have it all." 

In that moment, I realized that I had nothing to be angry about! Nothing was mine to regret, mourn or withhold from Him. Not my lost time. Not my wasted labor. Not my membership in His Church. Not my clothes or cars or money. (Any sense that any of that was mine was only illusory. I wasn't going to take it with me!)

Not even my sins were mine. (He can have them, too! In fact, I invite Him to take them!)

When my children destroy or lose anything I "have" (or am currently "steward" of), they lose what was never mine to begin with! It's His stuff. (I do my best to preserve and utilize it, for goodness sake, but I cannot -- must not -- exercise unrighteous dominion over it.) When someone asks me for something -- clothing, money, etc. -- the Owner has given me instructions to give it to them, when it is within my power to do so. They ask for His stuff, not for mine. (I have an "angel" -- impersonating a homeless guy -- who asks me for things nearly every day! I think he now wears more of "my" clothes than I do! I'm getting lots of practice! And seeing a lot more of "myself" lately!)

I stand before the strait and narrow path. I have entered the gate. I am now "pressing forward". The way to proceed is to "feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:3.)  

I knelt before the Lord this morning. I did not see Him, but I "heard" Him. He "spoke" to me in my mind and heart. By His words, He identified Himself. I recognized Him. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

"And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not." (1 Nephi 10:22.)

Update: I was pleased to discover Log's comment after posting this post. You will notice a pattern.

1 comment:

  1. God is so good. He answered my prayers through you. I thank Him for inspiring you to record this post and the one before, and particularly Log's last post on the blog before. Your words matter to me....I thank God for them...you have no idea...................................................