Sunday, March 18, 2012

Do I Please God?

If you have read many of my pondering posts, you may realize that I think often about what I need to do to become a better discliple of Jesus Christ. Elder Neal A. Maxwell has written many talks on the subject so I have used many of his quotes. I continue to learn as I re-read and re-ponder his words on the subject.

I had this part of an article saved in a file that I was reading today. As I was reading, four main points stuck out to me. You will find those four points in bold (bold added by me) as you read the quote.

"Shouldering the yoke of discipleship greatly enhances both our adoration and knowledge of Jesus, because then we experience, firsthand, through our parallel but smaller-scaled experiences, a small but instructive portion of what the Savior experienced. In this precious process, the more we do what Jesus did—allow our wills to be 'swallowed up in the will of the Father'—the more we will learn of Jesus (Mosiah 15:7). This emulation directly enhances our adoration of Jesus.

"Simultaneously, in this same process, the more we become like Jesus, the more we come to know Him. There may even be, more than we now know, some literalness in His assertion, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me' (Matt. 25:40). We lack deep understanding of the implications of that remark of Jesus. As with so many things, He is telling us more than we are now prepared to receive.

"The Prophet Joseph Smith, writing redemptively to his rebellious brother, said to William, 'God requires the will of his creatures, to be swallowed up in his will.' The Prophet Joseph then pled with William to make 'one tremendous effort … [to] overcome [his] passions, and please God' (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee [1984], 115). Alas, William didn’t do it, just as some of us fail to overcome our passions and thereby fail to please God. We are too busy pleasing ourselves.

"In contrast, meek Enoch reached a point in his discipleship, wrote Paul, when he received a testimony that he pleased God (see Heb. 11:5). Ponder that. One can come to that point where one knows that he or she pleases God."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "Becoming a Disciple", Ensign, June 1996, pp. 12-13

It's a fairly short quote, but has so much in it!

1) This emulation directly enhances our adoration of Jesus.
    When we model our behavior after our Savior's, not only can our behavior change, but our heart changes. We love him more. We want to be even more like him than we did before. We are even more grateful of his sacrifice and love.

2) We lack deep understanding of the implications of that remark of Jesus. As with so many things, He is telling us more than we are now prepared to receive.
     I have never thought it was difficult to understand that when we are helping someone, we are also serving Jesus. But we are told here that there is more to the scripture than we can currently comprehend. There is so much I don't know and don't understand, but to be told it is "more than WE are now prepared to receive" means even the scholars may not fully understand it. 
    We do know that in the parable of the sheep and the goats, the sheep will be blessed for their service to others and the goats will be cursed for not helping their neighbor.
Jesus with Lamb by Mary duCharme

Matthew 25: 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  

 Also the opposite is true. When we mistreat others through our words or actions, we are mistreating our Savior. We may cringe thinking of those people who whipped, mocked, spit on Jesus, but we may sometimes treat others badly and maybe even think they deserve it. The way we treat others is how we treat Jesus, literally.

3) 'God requires the will of his creatures, to be swallowed up in his will.'
     As a natural man, we have our own will. As we grow spiritually and progress, we can work on our will being closer to the will of our Father. It is not always easy, especially in times of trial, to give up our view of our lives for something better. That "better" is the will of our perfect, all-knowing Father. When trials come in our lives that aren't a result of our sin, the Lord is helping us grow and become more like him. He can even help us grow through our mistakes if we change our hearts and follow his will. How do we know his will? Through the Spirit which we can feel when we fast, pray and ponder and by reading the inspired words in the scriptures, and listening to the words of our prophets and bishop and stake president. The Sprit will not tell us to do something contrary to the commandments and our covenants.
4) One can come to that point where one knows that he or she pleases God.
    We don't have to wonder if we are on the right path for our lives and if our efforts are pleasing to God. We can know by the Spirit testifying to us that what we are doing is God's will. We can know by the true peace and happiness that only comes from living a righteous life. Our interviews with our church leaders for a temple recommend help us to review many of the things we should be doing. We may know the gospel, but if we don't live it, that knowledge is useless. It is even more important to become what he wants us to become than just to know what we need to know.   


  1. From the snippets, it sounds like a great talk. Giving our will to the Father is such a hard thing to do! It's a good thing He doesn't expect us to be perfect yet...cause I am pretty far off from that!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. I've struggled lately, and especially today with something in particular that is closely tied to this, and I really appreciate the last paragraph. It's true that only true peace and happiness comes from living a righteous life.

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  4. Very thought provoking.
    I need to do so much better.
    I love the wisdom.

  5. I loved Elder Maxwell so much. There never was or will be a speaker like him. Thanks for these great reminders about discipleship.

  6. Wonderful Sabbath post! I can do so much better! It seems that lately I've been hearing a lot on this topic. Hmmmm, I better start taking some action steps, eh? Thanks for the nudge ;)


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