Thursday, March 15, 2012

charity save my day!

I've set a few specific goals to hopefully share the love of Christ more in my life. The first two goals involve recognizing His hand in my life: 1) I carry a little notebook with me at all times and try to record any time I feel that the Lord has touched my life that day, and 2) I try to say one prayer each day that only expresses gratitude. I've also started focusing my journal writing on recording the Lord's hand in my life that day. My other goals to apply charity in my life is to find someone to serve each day (beyond what I would normally do) and to focus my conversations by starting out with sincere questions about the other person--and then remembering what they tell me!

Yesterday, these goals were what turned a tired, sad day into an amazing one. I hadn't slept well the night before, so I was tired and grumpy, but I still tried to stick to my goals. At the beginning of my least favorite class of the week (physiology lab), I was feeling unmotivated, but as I talked to my friend Josh about his life and how his engagement is going, I felt a little better. Later, I reluctantly headed to my New Testament class, hoping the Spirit there would help. My usual spot was taken, so I sat closer to the front, right behind the girl who plays the piano for the opening song in class. Well, it turned out that she had a bad cough, and my wife had wisely packed some first aid kits in our backpacks that just happened to include cough drops! So I was able to provide service in a way that I wouldn't normally serve AND I was able to record my change in seating as a tender mercy from the Lord, who provided me with a way to share His love. The rest of the day had a spirit of humble reverence for the Lord's hand working through me to bless others, and I didn't feel grumpy for the rest of the day.

Charity is an amazing attribute of Christ, and I know He will continue to help me be happy as I seek to share His love with others.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

wake up and do something more!

I'm inspired by the accounts of President Monson's Christlike love as shared in this talk from the March 2012 Ensign. In response to learning about his care and compassion for people, I set a goal to start all of my conversations off by asking about the other person's life as much as possible, and then actually remembering things about them.

On Thursday, I was fairly successful in keeping my goal. I was happier than I have been in a long time! I even made a friend whom I wouldn't have otherwise made. There's a new guy in my research lab who, for whatever reason, rubbed me the wrong way. I guess he seemed a little cocky or overconfident. In any case, I decided to try talking to him about his life (instead of judging him based on my bad perception), and I found out that we have several things in common. We both served Spanish-speaking missions in the States; we're both on the Super Senior premed track; we're both taking the MCAT this year. I can't remember everything we talked about, but I do remember feeling like I could be friends with this guy.

What's even more amazing to me is that, until I started talking to him, the other students in the lab hadn't really engaged with him much. However, as I started talking to him, the whole lab came alive with friendly conversation, and I could tell that I wasn't the only one who had befriended this person. The love of Christ is something that spreads to all of Heavenly Father's children, and when we make an effort to share the love He has given us, He uses our efforts to bring His love further than we could have imagined.

the pure love of Christ

My New Testament class this semester has taught me things about Christ and His atonement that I never really understood before. There's so much to share that I'm not sure where to begin. I guess what it all comes down to is Moroni 7:47-48:
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
My teacher pointed out that charity is not the sum of all of our efforts to be like Christ, but is instead the love from Christ, given to us, which we then share with others as we follow Him.

I have decided to shift my purpose in writing this blog from sharing thoughts and doctrines that I study to sharing experiences as I try to share the love of Christ with others in my own life. I'll post less often, but hopefully what I have to share will be more inspiring, and I will become more able to share the love that Christ has shown to me with those around me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

suffereth long... and is kind!

The other day, my New Testament professor made a point about the attributes of charity that has completely changed how I plan to continue this blog. He was talking about how many of us suffer for a long time ("charity suffereth long"), but Christ (whose love charity truly is) both suffered long AND was kind amid that suffering. I'm beginning to realize that I can't just study one attribute of charity at a time, because they work together to create that Christlike love that we so desperately need to cultivate.

As I continue studying how charity "beareth all things" and "endureth all things," it is beginning to come clear that it is necessary that one "believeth all things" and "hopeth all things." Christ told us to "be of good cheer" despite our tribulations. And why? "I have overcome the world" is His powerful response (John 16:33).

So from now on, I'm going to mix and match these various attributes of charity in order to understand more fully how they work together, rather than trying to study each one independently. I imagine this will cause my study to go on much longer, since there are so many ways you can combine these attributes, but I'm sure I won't regret spending more time studying the pure love of Christ.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

being prepared for eternal life

Today, I continued reading the talk "Adversity" by President Henry B. Eyring. I've read this talk before, and I've heard a lot about why we face adversity, but I wanted the Lord to send His Spirit to teach me something that I need to learn right now. I believe that we can always learn something new, even if we think we can't, when the Spirit inspires our thoughts and we humbly listen to His counsel.

The thoughts that came to my mind come from Alma 32:6-8, which President Eyring references to illustrate the point of how our trials can prepare us to hear God's word. In this case, Alma hasn't had much success among the Zoramites because of their pride and false teachings. When a group of poor and outcast Zoramites comes to him seeking advice on how they can worship God despite being banned from their own synagogues, Alma rejoices because their sufferings had made them humble and prepared them to listen to his message.

Alma then goes on to say how much more blessed are those who humble themselves instead of being humbled by their circumstances. President Eyring talks about a friend of his who had done just that, and was prepared spiritually to remain faithful when he lost his job and could not support his family. He did more than simply preparing food storage or an emergency fund; he was prepared spiritually to have faith in the Lord and trust that things would work out.

I need to be more like the people Alma defines in verse 15:
Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.
The phrase "endureth to the end" caught my eye this time reading that verse, since enduring is exactly what I'm trying to learn. It reminds me of D&C 14:7. It clarifies Alma's statement by saying that if we keep the commandments and endure to the end, we will be "more blessed" in that we will receive "eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." So if we humble ourselves instead of being compelled to be humble, we start down a path of righteous living and faith that will bring us back to full fellowship with our Father in celestial glory!

I hope that, over the next week, I can find some concrete ways that I can humble myself before the Lord. I'm sure just the act of kneeling down in prayer and seeking His will through scripture study will help, but I also want to focus on gratitude and not complaining, no matter how difficult my circumstances may be. I also think it would be good to make sure I always put righteous works before less important things like games or TV. These really are all simple things, but it can be hard to stay focused on the Lord with so many distractions. As I put the Lord first and try my best to do His will before my own, I know that I will be happier and more content with my life, no matter how hard it may become.

Friday, February 10, 2012

why are we here?

To preface this post, I need to explain that it's a response I posted to a forum for my New Testament class (taught by Brother Griffin at BYU), where we got on a tangent talking about Moses 7:26-36, which discusses Enoch's vision of the Lord crying over His wicked children. It's kind of deep doctrine, so feel free to tune out this post if you feel uncomfortable. The point our teacher made in class was that when the Lord says that there was never so much wickedness as among Enoch's brethren, He's saying that this earth, among worlds without end that God has created, is the most wicked world of all. Christ came here because no other nation or planet would have been wicked enough to crucify their own God.

The point of all of this is that we came to this world instead of going to a less wicked one; this was not an accident. Here is what I wrote in response to this class:
As Brother Griffin talked about Enoch’s vision of the Lord crying for His children, and how we all came to this earth despite the wickedness of God’s children here, it made me think about why I’m here. Whether I chose to come here or simply accepted Heavenly Father’s call to serve on this earth, the whole reason I’m here is because I wanted to be among those who worked to bring about God’s eternal purposes on this earth and bring some of His most wicked children back into His fold. If that was my choice, then the best thing I could possibly do here on earth would be to “waste and wear out” (D&C 123:13) my life in serving others, sharing the gospel, and making myself a servant to the Lord. 
I also appreciated the reminder Brother Griffin gave that we shouldn’t let any of this go to our head, but to our shoulders. This, to me, is what the gospel is all about—he who is greatest shall be your servant. Christ, who was the only perfect being to ever live a mortal life on any of God’s worlds without number, took nothing for Himself, but gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin so that we might live again. If I have any sort of special calling or position in God’s plan, it doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone else; it only means that I have a greater responsibility to serve all of His children. If we can all understand this principle, pride will have no place in our soul because we realize that we gain nothing by having more than someone else. We only gain more by glorifying others, thereby glorifying the Father, who in turn, through Jesus Christ, glorifies us.
I felt like this goes along with some of the things I learned recently as I studied "charity... seeketh not her own." If my purpose here is to do the Lord's will, it just makes it that much more important to have charity and to seek His will instead of my own.

why do we endure?

While reading President Eyring's talk, "Adversity," a profound thought struck me that I knew I had to share or else I might forget what I had learned.

The fifth paragraph down states that:
The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of [Heavenly Father and the Savior's] infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life.
While no one wants to go through suffering, it is a necessary part of our sojourn here on the earth. Without our trials, we would never know joy (see 2 Nephi 2:23). Without adversity, we would never learn good from evil or be able to become stronger because of our resistance to adversity (see 2 Nephi 2:11).

So when we are seeking to be humble and submit to God "as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19), we don't have to act in blind faith. Instead, we submit to the Father because we know He has only our best interests in mind. We know that His plan is a plan of happiness, not a plan of misery. Whatever suffering we must endure in this life, we know that He does not allow us to pass through trials just so that we will be miserable, but because our trials will "give [us] experience and be for [our] good" (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).

My goal starting today will be to face my trials with an attitude of "thy will be done," with gratitude for the plan of salvation that God has created for me, and with faith that the Lord loves me and that His work and glory is truly to bring about my eternal happiness (see Moses 1:39).

Sunday, February 5, 2012

bearing and enduring

Because of life circumstances both for me and my wife, I feel like the best part of charity I can study for the next several weeks are the twin attributes of "charity... beareth all things... and endureth all things." It seems like everything has been thrown at us lately--physical, emotional, mental, social; illnesses, disappointments, failures. Sometimes it feels like there's no point in trying to become more charitable because I don't even have time to talk to people outside of work and school tasks! As I'm trying to stay afloat and support my wife through some of her personal trials, I think charity could help me understand why we are asked to pass through fiery trials and how I can learn from them.

Bearing and enduring seem to be almost the same thing. However, I think there is a significant point setting the two apart: bearing most often refers to the act of taking a heavy burden upon our shoulders, while enduring indicates action being taken despite our burdens. For example, when the sons of Mosiah went to teach the Lamanites, they faced the mockery of the Nephites and the rejection and hatred the Lamanites had developed from generations of false beliefs about the Nephites. They were full of faith, but they still began to lose hope, and as they were about to turn back, the Lord told them, "bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success" (Alma 26:27). Likewise, Alma's followers made a covenant at the waters of Mormon to "bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light" (Mosiah 18:8). From these scriptures, it appears that "bearing" is about allowing heavy loads to be placed upon us without losing hope or faith, or even helping others with their burdens so they can remain strong.

Enduring, on the other hand, is about perseverance. In fact, the Spanish translation used for the phrase "endure to the end" is "perseverar hasta el fin," which directly translates to "persevere until the end." You may also notice that "endure" comes from the same root as "duration," which indicates something that lasts for a long time and doesn't decay or buckle under pressure. This root, the Latin word durare, actually means "to harden," kind of like steeling yourself against a heavy burden.

So as I share what I learn about both bearing and enduring all things, I hope you will keep in mind that we need to not only allow trials to come upon us without complaining or losing faith, but we also need to keep moving forward as much as we can, remaining on the path that leads to the Father without any deviation. I hope I can be that strong as I seek to bear and endure all of the things that are going on in my life now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

teach people, not lessons

Today is more of a quick thought than a developed post, but I feel the need to share my experience with "seek[ing] not [my] own" yesterday. I've been praying each morning before I start studying these things I've been sharing with you that I can find someone to serve, but I often get to the end of the day and can't think of anyone I've really done anything significant for. Of course, I get to serve my wife almost every day, so I guess that counts, but I was hoping I could do more than that.

Well, as I thought about not being able to serve people this morning, I realized that sometimes our service comes in little things that we take for granted. Yesterday, for example, I went home teaching to two people in my ward. I haven't been able to connect with my new companion yet, so I went my myself. Our most recent copy of the Ensign got thrown away in our cleaning spree last Saturday, so I wasn't able to bring that with me and felt very unprepared for my lessons. However, as I went to visit these two individuals, I found that they needed a listening ear and a helping heart more than a lesson. They're both faithful members trying their best to follow Christ, and they each read the Ensign every month, so they'll get the lesson one way or another. But when Steve started talking about his disappointment with not being accepted to his MBA program and having to re-take the GMAT, I felt like the best thing I could do was to let him get out his frustrations and offer my support and empathy. And when Sister Gabbs talked about how her dog gets lonely sometimes, I could tell that my time with her was just as precious to her as it has become to me. I felt real love for these people and urged them to call me over whenever they needed help, no matter how busy my life might seem.

Like King Benjamin said, in sharing this experience "I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God" (Mosiah 2:16). In fact, I feel deeply and profoundly humbled that the Lord has answered my prayers and helped me learn charity without my even noticing! So when you feel like you're not doing enough to serve and love others, take some time to reflect on the little things you do each day, and you'll find that you are serving in ways you don't even know. And there will even be times when the service you provide doesn't even seem like service to you, but it completely changes the outcome of someone's day for the better. That, I think, is the miracle of Christ and one of the many "tender mercies of the Lord" (1 Nephi 1:20).

Monday, January 30, 2012

meek shall inherit

"How anxious we ought to be to emulate the manner in which God wields power!" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Meekness—A Dimension of True Discipleship")

At the heart of "seek[ing] not [one's] own" lies the heavenly attribute of meekness. Throughout the last week, I have been studying what it means to really be meek. Elder Maxwell's talk goes into great detail about the importance of meekness and what it means to be meek. I won't try to summarize his talk, but instead I want to share a few thoughts that came to me as I pondered the words of the talk.

Elder Maxwell notes that "the Greek rendition of the word meek in the New Testament... is 'gentle and humble.'" As a part of the "body of Christ," it's important that we remember to "esteem other better than [our]selves" (Philippians 2:3) and to gently treat them accordingly. Isn't meekness a necessary precursor to charity?

So when we are seeking the Lord's will, instead of seeking our own, we need to remember that Christ exercised His authority in meekness. He did only "those things that please [the Father]" (John 8:29). He was "filled with compassion towards the children of men" (Mosiah 15:9). He was humble. He sought not His own. As we strive for charity, let us remember to meekly and humbly follow the example of our Savior in doing that which pleases Heavenly Father, especially when it involves kindly serving His children.

Monday, January 23, 2012

as a little child

About a week ago, my wife and I attended the temple at a particularly busy time of the day, so we were able to sit and ponder for about 40 minutes in the chapel before entering our endowment session. Whenever I have time before a session, I like to open the scriptures and read the first chapter I open to, as well as pondering and praying about how I can align my will more with the Father's. On this particular occasion, I happened to open to 3 Nephi 11, the chapter I often used as a missionary to teach those not of our faith about Jesus' visit to the Nephites in the Americas. I love this chapter because of its simple statements of truth and its powerful testimony of the love of our Savior. Toward the end of the chapter, Jesus states His gospel in clear and simple terms: "And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God" (3 Nephi 11:38). I've been baptized and try to repent on a regular basis, but I wondered what the Lord meant by telling us to become as little children, rather than something like memorizing the scriptures or doing everything the same way that Jesus would do it.

In Mosiah 3:19, we read that a little child is "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." What struck me then, and continues to shape my perception of God's expectations of me now, is that all of these attributes have to do not with becoming a great man by any normal measure of greatness, such as power, wisdom, financial stability, or even doing the right thing all the time. The Lord simply wants you and me to rely on Him, accept His will, and love everyone no matter what trials might befall us.

I know that as we humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God, He will bless us and lift us up. I love the statement in Helaman 3:35 that says, "sanctification cometh because of [our] yielding [our] hearts unto God." I seek to do this by making a list of priorities in my life, putting the things the Lord has taught me first, and then following that list each day as I decide how to spend my time. So far, whenever I've been able to follow my list, I've finished the day feeling content, happy, and full of thanks to God for blessing me with such a wonderful life. When I've failed to keep my priorities straight, I haven't enjoyed such blessings. I hope each of us can "[seek] not [our] own" by submitting ourselves to the Lord and following His will each day by setting priorities and following them.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

let thy bowels be full of charity

Over the last year, I have had the singular opportunity to lay my hands upon my wife's head and give her blessings by the power of the priesthood. Every single time I do, I am awestruck by the power that allows me to speak for the Lord to my sweetheart. Anyone who has been inspired to speak by the Spirit can relate to this experience. Recently, however, the thought occurred to me that my priesthood service is an extension of Christ's atonement, and therefore must be done according to the Lord's will.

The Doctrine and Covenants reminds us that "the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness" (D&C 121:36). In other words, anyone acting under priesthood authority, or trying to use the priesthood that has been conferred upon them, will only have priesthood power if they are "seek[ing] not [their] own," but are seeking the will of God.

Sometimes, when I give my wife a blessing, I worry that the Lord won't say what she wants to hear. When I let these concerns crowd my mind, I can sometimes think of good things to say to her, but they come without the power that accompanies a normal blessing. If, on the other hand, I clear my mind and allow the Lord to give me the words to say, I feel the blessing come much more easily, and the Spirit is stronger. I'm grateful that the Lord, in His mercy, is able to provide a way to speak to His children without any earthly being having to know the right words to say. And even if I stumble with the wording of a blessing, the Spirit will always speak to my wife and help her understand what I was trying to express.

Anyway, the bottom line that I wanted to share is that as long as we act in accordance with the Lord's will, we will have power to do whatever it is He asks. If we try to do our own will, we'll be left to our own power.

sufficiently humble

The Guide to the Scriptures describes humility as "being meek and teachable" and "recognizing our dependence upon God and desiring to submit to his will." I couldn't imagine a better definition of "charity... seeketh not her own." What keeps getting to me, however, is the fact that as much as I try to be teachable and submit to God's will, I feel like I keep falling back into the same bad habits as before. I remember that the Lord gives us weaknesses so that we may be humble and rely on His grace to make us strong (Ether 12:27), but then I read things like Alma's soul-searching questions to church members who had strayed from the path a bit:
Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? (Alma 5:27)
 I start to wonder whether humility is really enough! On one hand, it seems like the Lord will cover our weaknesses and help us overcome them. On the other hand, it seems like we won't be prepared to meet God unless we're completely cleansed from sin. The footnote for the word "blameless" directs us over to the term "justification," which is defined as being "declared guitless," and is received "by the Savior’s grace through faith in him" (GS--Justification, Justify). It then goes on to explain that faith is shown by repentance and obedience, and now we have completed the circle: we are free from sin if we stop sinning and receive grace.

Right?

Well, if we think that Jesus' grace is only effective if we're doing everything we're supposed to, I think we've missed the point. I would like to share a wonderful BYU Devotional from Brad Wilcox that discusses how Christ's grace can be an effective part of our lives long before we've overcome our many sins and weaknesses. The talk is entitled "His Grace is Sufficient," and you can watch it at byutv.org or read the text at speeches.byu.edu.

If you're like me, you often hold yourself up to an impossible standard. I would challenge you to join me in recognizing that we are incapable of reaching that level of perfection that we so desperately seek, humbling ourselves before the Lord, and relying on His grace to cover us as we strive to learn and do God's will. He will "make weak things become strong unto [us]" (Ether 12:27). But as long as we are still weak, maybe we can follow Peter's counsel and "[cast] all [our] care upon [the Savior]; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

how to be happy

Do you want to be happy? Well, like we learned in the last post, the answer is to be selfless (see Selflessness: A Pattern for Happiness). So how do we become more selfless? This same talk shares two simple steps to help you become more selfless, and therefore, more happy!

First, this talk prescribes "a very careful, introspective evaluation." It then lists some questions you can ask yourself, including things like whether you dominate a conversation or whether you listen carefully without interrupting.

Second, we must "develop an attitude of service—the ongoing desire for the well-being of others." This is similar to what I learned a few days ago when I wrote about being part of the body of Christ. What stood out to me is that this must come after a careful examination of the self to identify how I am being selfish.

I think it's helpful to know what it means to be selfish in order to more fully understand selflessness. This talk has a short paragraph defining selfishness:
The dictionary describes a selfish person as one who is “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking pleasure or well-being without regard for others.” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.) May we add, a selfish person is often one who refers to “I,” “me,” and “mine” rather than to “we,” “ours,” “yours,” or “theirs.” This person is anxious to be in the limelight, to be on center stage in life’s little dramas. He or she may be a poor listener, or a conversation monopolizer. Selfishness is the great unknown sin. No selfish person ever thought himself to be selfish.
My goal, starting today, is to keep careful note of times when I feel myself slipping into selfishness. As I recognize selfish thoughts or actions in myself, I'll be much more able to stop being selfish and work more on serving others and becoming a real part of the body of Christ.

On a final note, I want to continue my thoughts about those who suffer from conditions that limit their ability to serve selflessly. This talk I've been referring to provides an excellent example of a caring mother who is bedridden and cannot serve her family the way she would like to serve them. Her daughter thought about her feelings of wanting to serve but not being able to, and said "You know, Mother, I think in your case wanting to is enough. Surely you will receive a blessing for service and selflessness as though you went to her home and helped." Like Alma taught, we will be judged not only according to our actions, but also according to our desires (Alma 41:3-5). The Lord will bless those who cannot serve just as much as He would someone who did serve, as long as their desires are the same.

Monday, January 16, 2012

life more abundantly

I thought this would be a weekly blog, but I just can't keep from sharing the wonderful things I learn each day! First off, yesterday was a cool little miracle because we studied chapter 2 of our priesthood manual, "Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself." What a timely message for the same day that I posted my first blog entry about becoming part of the body of Christ! I won't share what I learned from that lesson, but I invite you to spend some time with it on your own; it's a wonderful chapter from President George Albert Smith's teachings.

What I wanted to share today comes from a General Conference talk by H. Burke Peterson, "Selflessness: A Pattern for Happiness." In my study of "charity... seeketh not her own," today I felt impressed to look up the word "selfless" on lds.org, and this was where that lead me. There are many precious gems embedded in that talk for you to dig out, but the one that I was really struck by was how being selfless brings happiness back to the person who is selfless. In Elder Peterson's words:
This morning I would like to teach of another divine attribute—a quality which, when it becomes part of our lives, produces as an outgrowth individuals who are happy in their relationships with others and at peace with themselves and those around them: siblings who enjoy each other more; married couples who cherish their relationships; those who are alone, for whatever reason, who find a fuller and more abundant life. You see, there are those among us today who are completely selfless—as was [Jesus Christ].
What a paradox! If we stop worrying so much about our own well-being, we actually end up becoming happier from it! In a way, selflessness isn't really completely selfless. In other words, if you are struggling with sadness, self-consciousness, or anxiety, you can feel better by forgetting yourself and serving others. It's the ultimate win-win situation!

Of course, I must add here that I understand that there are those of you who struggle with real depression or anxiety disorders who will still feel sad or upset whether you choose to serve others or not. This is one of the most difficult trials I could imagine, because I know how much you want to be happy and serve others. My message to you is that you are wonderful. Remember that "the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). He will bless you for your righteous desires, and someday you will be able to do all of the good you desire and feel all of the happiness you yearn for. Because Christ suffered for you, He "[knows] according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). He will help you in His wisdom and His perfect timing.

If we do our best to forget ourselves and serve others with selflessness, "[seeking] not [our] own," I promise that each of us will find true happiness in this life and in the next.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

body of Christ

After careful consideration and prayer, I have decided to start my study of the attributes of Charity with "charity... seeketh not her own."

In Matthew 20:27, Christ teaches that "whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." That seemed like a good place to start. I like the contrast Christ gives before this verse between His mission of love and service without earthly reward and the rulers of the Gentiles, who lived in luxury and power, ordering their servants around. This scripture seems like a pretty good definition of "seeketh not her own."

When we are striving to serve others, our hearts become "knit together in unity and love" (Mosiah 18:21). We care more about each other, and are cared for in return. Moreover, we become "the body of Christ," as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12:27. In the spirit of true unity, we suffer together and rejoice together (v. 26; see also 1 Peter 3:8), everyone caring more for the united whole than for themselves as individuals. Selfishness, pride, and envy cease, and, just like the human body, if one member suffers, the others give some of their sustenance and support to help heal the hurting member.

Christ gave His life as an example of this kind of love. He suffered with us literally in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha. He "took upon him ...pains... sicknesses... death... infirmities... [and] sins" (Alma 7:11-13), and "hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

In light of these scriptures, my goal this week will be to seek the well-being of others instead of worrying about myself. Specifically, I will look for at least one opportunity to help someone in need every day and try to suffer and rejoice with the people close to me. In this way, I can be a little more like Christ.