Thursday, January 14, 2016

Our Hope is in Jesus and Knowing His Words

We Must Know His Words

Have you ever noticed how many people make up quotes? Now, I’m not saying that we can’t be original and come up with great ideas to share and, as a result, we’ve made a quote. No; what I mean is when people attribute sayings to someone which, in all reality, that person never said…or at least there is no record of it.

While it is easy for all of us to draw conclusions from content we hear or read, we need to be able to acknowledge what is our opinion and what was actually said. That’s important. Even if we give a gist, we need to be careful that our interpretation isn’t way off from the intended purpose.

I think that this is especially true when we consider quoting the word of the Lord. We can’t just assume that since Jesus is a loving God, He would want things the way that we individually think they should be. No matter how loving and kind we are, we need to read His word and become accustomed to hearing His voice through the Holy Ghost and through His prophets if we really want to understand who He is and what He would have us do. Interestingly enough, when we do that, we really won’t have a desire to misquote Him. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (see John 10:27).

In today's world, especially, it is important for us to know what Jesus actually said. When we quote Him, we must be careful not to misquote Him or twist His meaning.

We hardly need to make Jesus into something He is not. He is our Savior and our Redeemer; and that does not ever need redefining, no matter how well-intentioned the self-appointed critic believes he is.

Now I have heard many people say things like they don’t understand a God who wouldn’t treat all His children the same. They think that no matter what path we choose to walk, God will invite all of us to sit down with Him in His kingdom. But He cannot deny His word, and what He really has said is that no unclean thing can enter into His kingdom (see 3 Nephi 27:19-22; Matthew 7:21-23; Moses 6:57; Revelation 21:27; 1 Nephi 15:34). 

The Need for a Savior

Well, of course Heavenly Father knew that all of us are unclean and fall short of the glory of God; that’s why He sent His Son, our Savior, who can makes us clean through His atonement, if we come unto Him (see Romans 3:23-24; Isaiah 59:1-2; Alma 11:32-40; ). 

We are of the Most Worth to God

Some have misquoted Him, thinking they are rather clever. Jesus never said, “I didn’t say it would be easy; I only said it would be worth it.” I guess because we have experience in this life, we know it isn’t easy; and if we believe His promises and trust in Him, we have hope that it will all be worth it. But what did the Lord actually say about “easy”, and what did He actually say about “worth”?

Matthew 11:28-30:

“28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

In other words, following Jesus and taking upon us the good news of the gospel through obedience to His commandments is easier than falling in all the pitholes we may encounter if we ignore His word. Plus, His burden is light. I don’t think that this just talks about weight, but about direction and purpose. If we know that the burden we are carrying is aiding our journey, we will be much happier to carry it.

What is really of most worth to God? We are. We have been made a little lower than the angels (see Psalm 8:5). It is His work and His glory to bring about our immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39). The worth of souls is great in the sight of the Lord (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16) . So what will be worth it? It will be worth it for us to keep the two greatest commandments (see Matthew 22:36-40). It will be worth it for us to choose to return to Him and to help others do the same.

As far as the misquote, the implication is that if we put up with hard things the Lord will give us great things. That’s both right and wrong. If we turn to the Lord, He will make difficult things become easier for us, so that we can carry the load with His help and His guidance (see Ether 12:27). What about the misquote of “It will be worth it.” That is actually one of the biggest understatements there is. It’s worth it if we put in a 40 hour week and we get a full salary, plus health benefits, plus vacation. But the Lord isn’t paying us for our efforts alone, because we could never buy or earn our salvation (see Ephesian 2:8). The Lord is inviting us to come unto Him and be perfected in Him and to share His glory (see Romans 8:16-18). 

God is our Father

So in the increasingly crazy environment we find ourselves in, with so many professing to proclaim profound truths; we need to remember that we are the children of God (see Hebrews 12:9) and that his purposes are higher than the purposes set forth by the world (See Isaiah 55:9). We need to have the faith, hope, and trust to rest assured that his promises will be fulfilled and that His love for us will never be betrayed (see Matthew 24:35; Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38); and no matter what we have done, His hand is stretched out still (see Isaiah 5:25), mighty to save. The world’s views don’t make sense, but be not afraid, Christ has overcome the world (see John 16:33). Our hope must always be in Him.

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