Seek and Ye Shall Find
Continuing on with verse 63 and 64. Both contain a good promise. Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened. Whatsoever you ask the father in my name (Jesus Christ) shall be given unto you if it is expedient for you. I really like the draw near to me and I will draw unto you part. I think Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are very willing to draw near to us if we will allow it. More willing to come than we could ever imagine. But we have to open the door from our side. Jesus and Heavenly Father won’t force their way in.
Cross Reference Psalms 69:18. This is a plan of the psalmist for God to near to him. Because when God draws near unto you, you are delivered from temptation, you become more than just a man, a legend (batman begins quote). But seriously, God sanctifies you. He can and will change you, it is inevitable. He is a celestialized being, He has that effect on people. But like I said earlier, you have to let him in.
Cross reference Zechariah 1:3-4. This is an interesting contrast. Yes it is another instance of turning to the Lord but verse 4 says it hasn’t always been so. Back in the day, prophets used to say, “Turn from your evil way,” but no one listened. Now God is saying, “Come Follow me.” No longer is it stop doing evil, but a more action based sentence of turn to me, a higher law I would say. Before it was,” Don’t be evil. ” Now it’s, “Do good.” It’s similar to when Jesus teaches the higher law. Love your neighbor as yourself, don’t even think bad thoughts, turn the other cheek.
I feel it’s hard to explain what I’m thinking but I’ll try. “Don’t be evil,” is like acting neutrally. You are merely not being bad. Doesn’t necessarily mean you are being good either. But what is being said is turn to me/follow me/do good. That is action. Not neutrality. It is a progressing phrase. By doing good and following Christ, we don’t have time for doing evil, thereby fulfilling the purpose of the old “law” and at the same time we are drawing nearer to God, going about doing good, improving ourselves. That’s what God wants. That my friends, is the path to eternal life. Ezekiel 36:9 talks about how God will draw near to us and till and sow us. In short, he will improve and grow us if we come to him.
The Eye is the Window to the Soul
Moving on. Next verse I want to talk about are 67 and 68. It talks about…well, we’ll start with 67. That one says to let your eye be single to the glory of God that light may fill your body and there be no darkness in you. We have just finished talking about drawing near to God or turning to him and actively following him. Imagine this: you are in a dark room. A light, like the sun in brightness appears above your head behind you, encompassing you completely. You turn around and gaze into the light, smiling because it’s Him. Good image huh? Don’t lose that! The eye is a window to the soul. If you window is facing the sun (Christ) then a lot of light is going to be let in. You will continually be filled with light of Christ not only inside but outside you body too. Total immersion of light. Pretty neat huh?
There are special benefits of having light in you. You comprehend all things. Maybe not all at once but the longer you stay in the light and are filled with it, the guarantee you have is that you will know all things. I offer an example to help. You go to a library. Maybe the library of Congress or one of the other great libraries of the world. All the knowledge of mankind is stored there. Books on politics, cooking, fantasy, biographies, science, history, self-help, poetry and everything in between. Although you are at the source for obtaining all this knowledge you don’t have it all. And you won’t start gaining it until you pick up the first book. The longer and more often you come to the library, the more you learn. Even though all this knowledge is at your disposal, you have to search for the book you want, and read it. Christ is the source of all knowledge. The longer you are facing him and taking in his light, the more you understand. But understanding comes with time. Although you have access to all the knowledge, you still have to search and take time to understand (read the book).
Unrighteousness Diminishes Light
Proverbs 28:5 says that evil men understand not judgement but those that seek the Lord understand all things. This brings up an interesting point. Wickedness decreases understanding. I know I have talked a lot about losing knowledge in this context but I want to shift my focus and talk about this again. I want to apply it to leaders and judgments/decisions. One thing I had impressed upon me while reading the “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” books was fault finding with leaders. Don’t do it! First sign of apostasy. Thinking you are better than them and puffing yourself up. According to Joseph Smith, if they don’t repent, they will apostatize 100% guaranteed. Applying that judgement and understanding now. If your righteous leader is facing the light, and makes a decision based off his light that will be a righteous decision. If you are also facing the light, that decision will make sense to you. Maybe not completely, depending on your experience, but you will be satisfied. Whereas an evil person or someone not facing the light, or maybe not in the light at all will look at that decision and rage. It won’t be what they want and they won’t understand. Go back to verse 40. Wisdom cleaveth to wisdom, intelligence to intelligence, truth receiveth truth. Same thing. The very moment you begin finding fault with righteous leadership, that very moment, you turn away from the source of light who is Jesus Christ and you may entirely leave, if not stopped. I don’t recall which prophet it was but they said if a man is praying for his leaders every day, that they may be sustained, uplifted and supported in their duties and trials. The chances of that man straying are very low.
D&C 93:28. Going back to comprehending all. This scripture backs up the fact that understanding, or knowledge, won’t come all at once but through time. John 7:18. If you are seeking the glory of God, not the glory of yourself, there is no evil in you. That’s a little confusing, let me rephrase it. If you are seeking to glorify God and not glorify yourself, there is no evil in you.
Sanctification Necessary to See God
Moving on to verse 68. It begins with a call to sanctify ourselves so that our minds are single to the glory of God (facing the light). If we do this, the day will come when we will see him, face to face. But it will be in his own time and own way and according to his own will. This reminds me of the stuff I talked about at the very beginning of this project, about the second comforter. That once you have been tried in all things and proven faithful in them all, you will receive that visit from Jesus Christ himself.
Cross reference D&C 67:10-14. This is a scripture describing to some elders what they have to do in order to see God. They (the elders this revelation is given to) must strip themselves of jealousies and fears and humble themselves before the Lord (10). they also need to be patient util they are perfected (13). Finally, they are commanded to not let their minds turn back (14). Don’t look back. The promise is that the veil shall be rent and they will see God and they will be quickened by the spirit. I’m just thinking about all these things out loud. Jealousies, fears are gone and patience till perfected takes a lifetime. But I like the promise, that we will see God in his own time. I am going to see God if I remain faithful. That is a conditional guarantee. Who wouldn’t want to? Now that I want to, I need to live my life so that I can. I feel like once you have decided you are going to meet Jesus Christ-that you are going to be worthy to stand in his presence, it changes everything. Because you now aren’t just preparing for the celestial kingdom and exaltation, but you are literally becoming the person you want God to see. This is a person whose love you have felt when you’re down and happy. Although He cannot be seen now, you know He is still there because of the feelings you’ve had. It’s not, “I’m going to church because I have to,” anymore. It’s “I’m going to church so I can partake of the sacrament, to renew my baptismal covenant, to become clean again, so I can continue to improve so that I can stand in the line to see God.” When you understand gospel principles, you naturally do them. They are of eternal significance. When you know enough to realize this, there is no convincing that needs to take place. People become intrinsically motivated. The challenge remains however, to keep aware that you understand these doctrines enough to be intrinsically motivated. For those of us that have been in the church a long time, and I guess anyone that has been baptized really, this can be had. For investigators, this is hard, especially because they are still learning and Satan is going to be working hard on them. That’s why it’s important to focus on commitments. Commitments encourage action, action allows people to feel the Holy Ghost, feeling the Holy Ghost helps people gain a testimony and know, once you know, and truly know, you do. And the best part, no on has forced you to do any of it. That’s why doctrine always should come before application. If people don’t know the doctrine behind something, no matter how good the application is, they won’t do it, or at least, won’t continue to do long term. Sorry that was a long tangent.
We have another good scripture here that gives some qualifications for seeing God. D&C 93:1. You need to forsake your sins, come unto Him, call on His name, obey His voice, and keep His commandments. Again, like the last scripture, this takes a lifetime to do. But it is possible to do, I know it. Else God wouldn’t have told us to do it.
I want to mark this verse in my scriptures but I’ll write about it first. It’s talking about excess laughter in verse 69. This is actually something I’ve thought about before. But before I put my thoughts down, I’ll direct you to the footnote, 69b. It clears it up pretty well. Rioting and reveling. Reveling means to take pleasure in merry making. I don’t think excess laughter of day to day humor but, like the definition implies, laughter that comes from riotous living and drunken life. Heavenly Father is a funny guy I believe. I’m sure he delights in the clean and wholesome humor in our lives, but I think the line is crossed when it is a joke at someone’s expense or makes fun of sacred things. I’m not smart enough to point out the specifics of what you should and should not joke about. I would say when you lose the spirit, it’s gone too far. Maybe the institute manual has more to say than I do.
The book pretty much says the same. I’ll copy in a quote from Joseph F. Smith.
“I believe it is necessary for the saints to have amusement, but it must be of proper kind. I do not believe the Lord intends and desires that we should pull a long face and look sanctimonious and hypocritical. I think he expects us to be happy and of a cheerful countenance, but he does not expect of us the indulgence in boisterous and unseemly conduct and the seeking after the vain and foolish things which amuse and entertain the world. He has commanded us to the contrary for our own good and eternal welfare. “
That’s it for now. Next week’s blog post will be on knowledge and learning. Stay tuned!