We often here the saying that through grace and all that we can do we are saved. Taking it for face value we might believe that the grace of Christ will save us as long as we do the best we can do. However defining what our best is becomes very subjective. What I mean by subjective is, what you think is your best might not be the same as what your mom thinks is your best, or what your God thinks is your best. The objective of this blog is to convey the message that our actions are simply a bi-product of the heart and mind. As we right the heart and mind, the actions will right itself. God’s objective is not to command you in all things, instead He desires your heart and your mind to be “at-one” with His heart and mind. Then you can do all things believing that you shall receive, if it be good, and it will be given unto you.
“26. And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.”
The objective of God is to provide for us immortality and eternal life (Moses 1:39) by teaching us His mind and will so that we can learn to ask for that “…which is good.” In proverbs we are told to teach a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. The way is Christ. If a child learns “the way” they do not depart from it because it always works, they find peace, they find joy. Leaving “the way only produces darkness. “That which is good” and “the way they should go” are pointing us to understand the mind and will of God.
The correct order is get the heart and mind aligned with God and the actions will take care of itself, without compulsory means. No more force, no more manipulation, no more impatience and no more frustration, only trust in God. The actions aren’t what the Lord judges, it’s the heart that is weighed. What God is concerned with is the heart and the mind of the matter. Nephi was praised not for being perfect, but for his unwearyingness in which he declared the word of God, not fearing man, not seeking his own will, but instead seeking the will of God. He was told in Helaman 10:5 that God knew that Nephi would not ask anything contrary to God’s will. It is clear that God looked upon Nephi’s heart and mind and found Nephi worthy of great trust. Interestingly, Nephi’s mistakes were never mentioned. It isn’t that he had none (we all make mistakes.) Nephi then goes straightway to preach repentance and uses his new ability to travel in the spirit (being conveyed away in the spirit), not by way of commandment, but as he pleases. Nephi also calls a famine among the people and God delivers one. This is an example of how God doesn’t want drones that are told to do every action. Nephi was not alone in this trust and freedom to act.
The brother of Jared was another character that was aligned with the heart and mind of God and is found asking for God to touch and light sixteen stones. First Nephi is found going and doing the things the Lord commands. All of these examples never really tell us about mistakes made, because that isn’t the emphasis. Actions are simply a bi-product of the heart and mind. Once the heart and mind is corrected, the actions change like Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah, Zeezrom the lawyer with Alma and Amulek, and King Lamoni’s father to name a few.
As a parent, I have noticed the greatest of joy when my children understand my mind and will and then act accordingly. When they act in accordance with one heart and mind with me, there is very little I will not do for them. If they are acting in alignment with my mind and will and they burned down the house (so-to-speak), I could not hold them to blame, I would not hold them to blame. However, when my children try to put on the appearance of being one with me, the fraud is always uncovered in pain and suffering, and the result is greater and greater distance, barriers, and trials for everyone, not only those envolved. When a child refuses to align, parents are left to command, order, and demand. Threats, manipulation, contention, and hurt are the result. God expresses his feelings about those who are commanded in all things:
“26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.”
When we must be commanded in all things, we are most concerned about our actions rather than our hearts and minds. This is exactly opposite to what God wants of us. Our home teaching, callings, scripture study, prayers, and conversations of Christ turn into forced actions (empty of life) that have not the ability to produce saving grace. In reality, such actions can be condemning. Both the Jaredites and the Nephites were wiped out because they had the truth, but they failed to align their hearts and minds to it. They were like the ancient Jews who drew near with their lips (action focused), but their hearts were far from Him (the heart and mind was not aligned). Laman and Lemuel went through the motions, but failed to align their hearts and minds, and kicked against the pricks for the rest of their life and for generations to come as well.
How do we become as Nephi, trusted by God to not ask anything contrary to God’s will? It is by seeking to make His mind and will your mind and will. Scripture study becomes a real keystone, and not just a figurative keystone. The temple becomes your opportunity to learn the mind and will of God, instead of a favor for a dead ancestor. When we are aligned, we can see that the temple is more for the living than it is for the dead. As we immerse ourselves in the aligning with the mind and will of God, we will find ourselves doing things with confidence, knowing that God will provide. Then can miracles occur and angels can return.
“8. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even things of many generations.
9. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10. For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will- yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.”
Read and re-read the promises the Lord offers to us. We are promised the wonders of eternity, the things of the future for generations, wisdom and understanding far greater than those of the scholars and experts (prudent), that which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, or that which has never entered into the heart of man. All these and more are yours. The price that you pay is seeking to know the mind and will of God, by the study of the word and talking of Christ, rejoicing in Christ, preaching of Christ, etc.
Action is the bi-product. The Product is “The Mind and Will of God.” That is the gift that God desires to give to us. That is what we refuse when we seek not to obtain His word. That is what makes us like Him. It is His mind and will that we receive in trade when we submit our mind and will. Only then can we become “at-one” and become redeemed form the fall and brought back into the presence of Christ in the flesh (2 Nephi 32:6).