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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

22. Spiritual Land Mine #8: The Missing Link to Seeing the Lord

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the 22nd examining the phrase "calleth on my name".

Summarizing the Spiritual Landmines


In past posts, we've seen that in genuinely calling upon Christ ("calleth on my name"; D&C 93:1), we face a multiplicity of challenges:

1. We assume our timing, not the Lord's, in seeking greater spiritual experiences.
2. We make excuses for trusting in the arm of flesh.
3. We encourage or accept adulation.
4. We build a second residence in Babylon.
5. We seek knowledge while neglecting weightier matters.
6. We're too easily distracted from God's will for us.
7. We believe in -- but not believe -- Christ.

As you work on resolving all those tendencies, you begin to realize one inescapable conclusion: In the final analysis, it's just you and Christ.

We find ourselves with faces turned downwards as we look upon the idols we've had (and may still have) in our lives.  We look upon what we've believed was right, but in our own eyes.  We look upon mistake after mistake through tear-drenched eyes, and wonder -- really wonder -- if we are even worthy to beg for His forgiveness, let alone if it's even appropriate to seek His face.

We are desperate for His hand.  We're reaching out, hoping He will reach back to us.



A New Hope


This is the final "Spiritual Land Mine" -- the eighth one in the series.  Eight has typically been considered symbolic of "new beginnings":
  • There were eight people on Noah's Ark.
  • Male infants are circumcised on the 8th day.
  • Lehi's family soujurned eight years in the wilderness.
  • Alma and his people fled for eight days from King Noah.
  • The Jaredites came across the water in eight vessels.
  • Children are baptized at age 8.
Perhaps the greatest "new beginning" one can hope for in this life is to see a fulfillment of D&C 93:1 in their lives: to see the Lord's face and know -- independent of anyone past or present -- that the He lives.

Such people move through life, sometimes cautiously and sometimes carelessly implementing the guidelines specified by the Lord in D&C 93:1.  They may try and try for weeks, months and years to do what they believe is necessary to see Him.

Undoubtedly, their words and behaviors catch Satan's attention.  So he successfully implants thoughts like "It's taking too long," "Christ doesn't want to see me as much as I want to see Him," "I'm just too ________ to see Him" and more phrases into their spirits.

In many cases, Satan's efforts succeed in downgrading, degrading and diminishing their chances of ever seeing Christ.  While a few are able to continue this spiritual endurance run, many give up under the weight of Satan's crushing, relentless attacks.

Seeing the Lord in this life was never meant to be a cakewalk.

But it was never meant to be a hopeless endeavor, too.

If you truly seek His face, then the Lord has some good news for you: He's embedded into the scriptures a little-known strategy which will give you tremendous hope as you seek His face.

Brother of Jared Pattern Before He Saw God


As we know, God works according to eternal, predictable patterns.  Know the pattern, and you know the truth and can therefore avoid deception (D&C 52:14).

One pattern that the Lord provides us (pertaining to seeing Him) is found in the story of the Brother of Jared:

Dialogue The Lord "came down and talked" with the Brother of Jared without revealing himself (Ether 2:4).
Instruct The Lord gave the Brother of Jared (and his party) instructions (Ether 2:5).
Obey He and his party obey the Lord (Ether 2:6-13).

Dialogue "the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared" and "talked with him" (Ether 2:14).
Instruct The Lord gives the Brother of Jared more instructions (Ether 2:15-16).
Obey He and his party obey the Lord (Ether 2:16-17).

Dialogue He asks questions of and receives answers from the Lord without seeing him (Ether 2:18-25).
Instruct Although no instructions are written in the account, it's obvious the Brother of Jared heeds promptings to...
Obey Molten 16 small stones (Ether 3:1).

Dialogue He again approaches God with "exceeding faith" (Ether 3:1-5).
Unveiling "the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord" (Ether 3:6)

The pattern here is clear: The Brother of Jared dialogued with the Lord on several occasions before he saw the Lord.  Think about it.

(Isn't it interesting how in Ether 2:4 and 2:14, it was the Lord who started the dialogue.  That’s a very real thing, and a shining example of Christ's personality.  More on that in an upcoming post).

Now let's look at the last half of D&C 93:1, in light of the above pattern:

Dialogue "calleth on my name"
Instruct (It's logical to assume that in dialoguing with God, you will receive instructions, which must be obeyed in the next step)
Obey "obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments"
Unveiling "shall see my face and know that I am"

The Divine Dialogue

"We read the scriptures and have complete faith that the Brother of Jared (or any other righteous figure) truly experienced the profound blessings, visions, revelations, and angelic visitations they record. And, even though the same prophet records that God is no respecter of persons, and liberally grants the same blessings to all who righteously seek them, we believe that the scriptures are largely for our education, and not a prototype of our personal spiritual potential. We may conclude that such things do not happen in this day, or if they do, they would happen to someone more highly placed, or more obedient. We thereby doubt -- not God's power, which is a byproduct of our faith -- but we doubt His will, to grant us a place within His promises. Such doubt is by definition, unbelief.  In other words, we extinguish the fire of faith with the cold rains of unbelief." (John Pontius, “Journey to the Veil”, Terri Pontius, ed., 2013).
If you want to see God face-to-face, then you are going to be dialoguing with the Lord way before you see Him.  And more than likely, it will not be just once or three times a day, but ALL day -- the literal fulfillment and fulness being known as "walking and talking with God."

This is a crucial step in our progress through D&C 93:1, for as Brother Joseph aptly stated,
"It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another."  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
Conversing with him “as one man converses with another” is a very real thing that not just the prophets of old, but also we too can do, for
“God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).
It's also a blessed thing, for you are believing Him, without seeing Him (yet).
“blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

“...to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another"


Because "all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27), we must start with "square one" (the first principle of the Gospel) in our quest to walk and talk with God.

In upcoming posts, you’ll learn new insights into “the Character of God” -- insights that are very real, yet hardly (if ever) explored in-depth.

With that knowledge as a foundation, you’ll know who and what to listen for, as you find -- like the Brother of Jared did -- that the Lord is eager and anxious to come down and converse with you as one person converses with another.

6 comments:

  1. This is a great post, PerfectDay. Really clear, and it gives me a good hope. :o) Thank you!

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  2. It feels like you wrote this post for me. I can also add that my experience is as you say: dialoguing, receiving instruction--now if I could just get the obeying part down. Thank you! :)

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  3. Thank you for this. I have realized that in my own weakness, I am constantly in a precarious flux of hearing and not hearing - all as a result of obeying and not obeying. The Spirit has been a witness and testifier of this to me over the last few days and now, in the divine model, you are the second witness. Thank you again.

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  4. Just awesome! Thanks so much.. Another great post (like always) :)

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  5. Even if we perceive it as a marathon, it is but a moment in our eternity. Yes, the conversations have begun. As Dani said - the obeying is more difficult. I will endure, and He WILL keep His promises, and that PERFECT DAY will be glorious indeed.

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  6. Thank you for this great and wonderful post! The BoM was written for one purpose and translated for that same one purpose. It is our guide book, our how to manual to come to know Jesus in this life. That is why we are under condemnation in section 84 of the D&C. When we read, ponder, pray and apply its principles we will draw nearer to Christ than any other book so the Prophet Joseph Smith declared. We cannot draw any closer to God than the loving arms of Christ. May we all read it with that intent, for that is why we have it at all. Thanks again.

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