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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Ten Characteristics of those who've had their Calling and Election Made Sure, Part 1 of 5

Controllable vs. Uncontrollable Events -- Which are more important to you?

In today's world, it's pretty easy -- practically effortless -- for us to get "sucked in" to the news of the day. 

Everywhere you turn, there are news stories about economic collapse, conspiracies, wars and rumors of wars, famine and the kind of behaviors you'd expect to find in a telestial kingdom.  I know many, many people who practically thrive on today's depressing news -- as well as topics regarding events that may or may not even occur in the future -- believing it to be some sort of psychological preparation for when times really get tough.

What do these news stories all have in common? They concern issues or events over which we have little to no direct control.  Even worse, with some, this interest becomes an obsession, and the current and potentially future events begin to control them.

Don't get me wrong; I couldn't agree more that we should prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally for the future.  You'll find no bigger advocate of that doctrine than myself. 

However, IMHO, while it's good to be aware of what's happening in the world, your country, state and city, it's also wise that we prioritize our minds and hearts to topics we can control. 

"And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." (Mark 4:19)

How to obtain true hope and knowledge that will support your soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation

On May 21, 1843, the Prophet Joseph Smith stated:

"...you have got to make your calling and election sure." (HC 5:403.)

A week earlier, on May 14, 1843, the Prophet also stated:

"... I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy,..." (HC 5:388 389.)

How is this relevant to what I'm discussing?

“Having this promise [of Eternal Life] sealed unto them,” spoke Joseph, “it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation.” (HC 5:388 389).

I get a couple things when I read that last paragraph:
  1. Joseph didn't say that focusing on "bad news" (and back then, they had plenty of it) would prepare you for the temporal and spiritual challenges which would lie ahead.  Something deeper, more lasting is required.
  2. When you read Brother Joseph's pronouncements of eternal life on others, you'll see a clear sequence to his statements: first, the promise is given to make the receiver strong, and then the thunders roll. This may be why, at age 37, Heber C. Kimball and many others were given the promise so early in life: it was to shore up their courage for the coming storms and furies that would befall them.

Having One's Calling and Election Made Sure

To have your calling and election made sure -- to be sealed up unto eternal life, to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world -- is one direction which should be pre-eminent in your life.

To receive this blessing is to receive the assurance of godhood; it is, in effect, to have the day of judgment advanced, so that an inheritance of all the glory and honor of the Father's kingdom is assured prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence to sit with Christ in his throne, even as he is "set down" with his "Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:21; Doc. New Test. Comm., 3:331)

How important is it to seek after having your Calling and Election made sure?

Two of the greatest prophets since Christ's resurrection both pleaded with members to pursue this righteous desire.  In 2 Peter 1:10, Peter says we should "...give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."  The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Oh! I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 366).

Peter's and Joseph's statements were not limited to certain periods of time.  They are invitations to us...today...right now.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:21)

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