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Sunday, November 2, 2014

08. Walking and Talking with God, Part 7: The Perfect Alignment, Part 1

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the seventh examining the phrase "obeyeth my voice".

If there's one thing that today's generation knows, it's how to use a joystick.

When I was a teenager, I was "so-so" at games that required a joystick.  Now, even my expert-level friends in their prime would be no competition to the joystick jockeys of today.

As I proceed in life, I've come to realize that all of us have a "Spiritual Joystick" as well, which we control per our own desires.

In my last post, I described one direction of our "Spiritual Joysticks" -- forward.  I'd like to briefly return to that direction, and add one more joystick direction to the discussion as well.  Your responsibility will be to see just how well-aligned and well-balanced your joystick truly is.

A Few Notes On Moving Forward


In my last post, we explored a peculiar dynamic among those who profess to want to do the will of the Lord: the tendency to display overexuberance, overenthusiasm and overzealousness which can often lead to disastrous results. Brother Joseph realized this tendency when he said,
"A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination be aware of be cause the things of God Are of deep import and time and experience and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out."(TPJS p. 137; emp.byui.edu/hammondt/341supch16libertylet.doc)
This is a fascinating statement!  To understand the things of God, we must live by a kind of Celestial Algebra:
   Time
+ Experience
+ Careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts
___________________________________________
= Finding out "the things of God"
It is amazing to me how often I have seen, over the span of many years, people who embark on new directions in their lives without having first spent meaningful amounts of time, without awaiting the tutoring experience that comes from the Lord, and without Spirit-inspired pondering that cannot be forced. Or, if they do spend time on an issue, it's usually measured in minutes, hours or a few days.

Perhaps this is why the Psalms also implore us,
"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning." (Psalms 130:1-6)
(It's also amazing how relevant verses 1 and 2 are to those who have been endowed).

Clearly, if we are wanting to hearken (understand and do) to the Lord's will at a far deeper level, we must accept the fact that:
  1. The things of eternity cannot and will not be rushed (we must repent and make our timetable conform to the Lord's).
  2. Divine timetables vary from person to person (the Lord's timetable for you and I, regarding the same thing, may in all likelihood differ).
  3. Divine timetables also have a certain predictability as well.  For example, the Lord expects us to choose Him over anything/anyone else in short order (Joshua 24:15), yet the process Joseph Smith used in determining which church was correct took time, experience and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts (JSH 1:8).

A Few Notes On Moving Backwards


Nor can we afford the luxury of moving our "Spiritual Joystick" in reverse.  I suppose in spiritual terms, going backwards might be considered "sin".

From the best to the worst of us, all are drenched in a sinful, fallen, unprofitable state every minute of our lives.
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." (Isaiah 64:6-7)
"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12)
"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." (Mosiah 2:21)
Many people often choose to look at themselves and, at least to a certain extent, resign themselves to their sinful state. Why? Because over time, many have come to believe that repentance is a painful, punishing process.  We equate words like "suffering", "punishment", "confession" and "remorse" to repentance.  And so, we delay or event neglect to repent.

And all the while, Satan laughs (Moses 7:26).

Yet these words above are not repentance.

To see what true repentance is, feel free to check out my post here (and in subsequent posts, listed below).

D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 1) -- Re-Learn What Repentance Is (and Is Not)
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 2) -- The First Three (Out of Four) Steps of Repentance
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 3) -- Drop Your Stones
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 4) -- The Daily Return and Report
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 5) -- How Do You Know You're Forgiven?
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 6) -- The Oft-Neglected, Final Step in Having Your Sins Forsaken
D&C 93:1 (Forsake Your Sins, Part 7) -- Crying Repentance Without Tears

There, you'll see that true repentance is "shube".  It is "Metaneoeo".  Contrary to what Satan would have you believe, these aren't painful, punishing concepts. They're joyous, marvelous and wonderful.

About three months ago, I discussed these two concepts with a friend.  Since then, it's been an absolute thrill for me to see him turning to the Lord in ways I hadn't even anticipated.  As he has turned to God, it appears to me that God has exceeded my friend's expectations of divine sensitivity, understanding, mercy, forgiveness and love.
"For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end." (D&C 76:5
"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.
For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy avows.
Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." (Job 22:21-28)
You may think that you have no worth, or that you're unredeemable.  That God is nowhere in sight.

But little do you know that He is there by your side.  He is guiding you closer to Him, and you may not even know it.

He calls you chosen, free, forgiven, wanted, child of the King.  You are His forever, held in treasure, loved...



In Conclusion


Today, you read about two directions of your Spiritual Joystick.

You can move it forward a bit too much, or backwards a bit too much.  Both actions get you "out of alignment" with God.

And both misalignments can be quickly and easily corrected.

In my next post, we'll examine how we move the Spiritual Joystick left or right -- with equally detrimental consequences and equally gratifying correction.

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