27 August 2015

Be Learning

And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. 
 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. ~2 Nephi 31:12-13
"He that is baptized in my name".

The name of Jesus is His nature. His nature is His will. They're all wrapped up together like light, truth, spirit, and matter. If we are baptized in His name, we're baptized according to His will, and according to His nature.

But it's verse thirteen that really sticks out to me, this morning. There's a pattern and promise in that verse:

  1. Follow the Son with full purpose of heart.
  2. Act in no hypocrisy.
  3. Act in no deception.
  4. Act with real intent.
  5. Repent continually.
  6. Be willing to take upon you the name--the will and nature--of Jesus Christ.
  7. Then the Father will send the Holy Spirit to cleanse our souls, and we receive the Holy Ghost. 
  8. Gifts of the Spirit follow.
Numbers seven and eight are the fruit of the first six steps.

If the fruit--the Holy Ghost and gifts of the Holy Spirit--are not present, then it's time to troubleshoot numbers one through six. Because God said if we'll do those first six things, then the promised fruit will follow. Every time.

We don't know what we don't know. Coming out of that not knowing, and into an understanding of where we're erring can be so painful, so discouraging. But the promise of Jesus still stands:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.. ~Matthew 11:28-29 KJV
Joseph Smith said:
 A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.
 And Paul wrote:
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~Romans 12:2 NLT
 We simply must be learning. From Jesus. Whether it's through scripture, or His voice directly, or the ministry of His servants and our fellow-laborers in the vineyard, we must be learning.

Dear Father, refresh our minds to learn from You anew, to seek Your word and Your way of looking at things. Teach us Your wisdom, Your love, how to walk in forgiveness with one another. Show us the difference between pleasing You, and pleasing our flesh---between the peace and joy of the Lord and the fleshly satisfaction exacting justice and earning praise brings. I love You, God. Thank You for the way You have laid everything out so clearly in scripture, and have made the Way so plain and precious. In Jesus' name, amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!