What do you think of when you hear "Happy Fruit"?
Or cute little pillows?
Maybe you remember the fruit that Lehi talks about in his dream
"I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." 1 Nephi 8:7-10
I heard a devotional by Michael Murray at BYU-Hawaii called Happy Fruit a while ago and quickly added it to my file of great talks and I'm just now getting around to sharing it with you. It is such an interesting talk to me since I have the desire to be happy and to know what to do to have true happiness. I have included some excerpts below in italics (with a couple of brief comments by me, not in italics), but I encourage you to go to the link above and watch his talk or read the transcript.
What does Michael Murray say about the fruit? What does it do to us and how can we partake of it?
"When you eat this fruit, it transforms your vision and your outlook on life. You literally feel different. You see different. You act and react different. You become happier than you've ever been!"
"So what does it mean to partake of the fruit? How does one do this? It means to come unto Christ. It means that you have accepted Christ not just as your Savior, but as your blueprint for life. You desire to act as he acted. You desire to react and he reacted. You desire to treat yourself and others as he treated himself and others. You choose to believe his words and to make them your words. Using scripture language, you will 'deny all ungodliness' (
10:32). You will
'becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a
child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to
all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him'(Mosiah 3:19). As the
Apostle Paul taught, you have 'put on Christ' (Galatians 3:27). Moroni
"When you commit to truly live, breathe and act like this, then something astonishing happens: God changes you from the inside out! You are transformed. You become a 'new creature' (Mosiah 27:26). You feel different because you are literally filled with the love of God.
"Even though you have changed, life will continue as it has in the past. There will be good days and bad days. There are good people and bad people. But now you are proactively dealing with life in a profoundly more positive, purposeful way. You are living as one who has come unto Christ. You are yielding to the will of God and it is making all the difference. You can honestly say, 'Not my will, but Thine be done'(Luke 22:42). Because of your purity, desire and worthiness, God can now endow you with real, tangible power - emotional power, intellectual power and especially spiritual power."
What are the reasons people can't feel the happiness? One would be not obeying the commandments, but Michael Murray speaks of an additional reason, which I believe is true also. He says that even after the missionaries began to live righteously and truly work in the vineyard with diligence and faith, it took about 9-14 months for most missionaries to feel happy and to feel the results of eating the fruit. Why?
"The reason for the 9-14 month delay is the consequence something I call 'Bad Thinking'. And it takes about 9-14 months of obedient living to clean up 5-10 years of Bad Thinking."
"… Bad Thinking is that part of our life view that is off track. And the pure love of God cannot penetrate our soul and transform our being until we’re completely on track. Getting back on track means rooting out anything and everything that is incorrect in the way we live and the way we understand life. We must deny all ungodliness in our lives. This is what it means to come unto Christ!
"Your outlook on life may be partly muddled by incorrect interpretations of events and situations from your childhood and teen years. You may be 60% right about 'how life works' and, more importantly, 'how Heavenly Father works'. But this is not a passing grade because it means that you are 40% wrong – you are seeing life through a blurry lens and misinterpreting what you are seeing. The Apostle Paul said it this way, 'For now we see through a glass, darkly' (1 Corinth13:12)."
None of us can see through the glass completely clearly in this life because of the veil that was placed over our eyes and because we are still progressing in our obedience and understanding. All of us have imperfect vision and thinking.
"When a person is using Bad Thinking, he is placing a protective shield around him - so that he won’t get hurt. His feelings won’t get hurt. His pride won’t get hurt. His ego won’t get hurt. He won’t be embarrassed and won’t feel shame. There will be no pain or injury to body or soul. Not only will there be no pain, but there will also be no growth. There will be no outward charity. There will be no service and no sacrifice. No earthly pain, no heavenly gain.
"When we are young, we are often vulnerable. People with power can take advantage of us through mental, emotional and physical abuse. The scars and terror of these actions torment us with Bad Thinking.
"When we are young, we also try to control things that can't be controlled. We therefore learn to use anger and to lose our tempers as ways of falsely trying to gain control of others. We blame others and refuse to take personal responsibility for our choices and weaknesses.
"Replace your fears, your insecurities, your pride and all the bad thinking from your teenage years with complete trust and faith in the Lord. You must Let Go of your old self and Let God show you, here a little and there a little, a new and better you. For within each of us is a child of God, waiting to become a man or woman of God. It might take 9-14 months, but I can't think of a better investment of your time."
Okay, go watch the whole devotional from Michael Murray on May 3, 2011 cuz it sounds better when you hear the whole thing.