The last post (Awake and Arise) ended with “what is more” and “how do we receive more”. Here we will start to look at things that we have probably read or heard about before. The difference will be in our focus. We will flex our muscles a bit. We will strain our sight. We will try to look beyond this telestial world and recognize what awaits us further down the path.
Before we look specifically at those things that are further, it is important to accept two vital truths. One truth is, these things are available in this life. If you do not believe this truth, you do not read the scriptures. And if you read the scriptures but do not believe this truth, then you do not believe the scriptures which you read. They testify boldly of this truth.
The other truth is that there is a difference between believing IN something and believing something. There is a difference between believing the scriptures and believing IN the scriptures. To believe IN the scriptures is to believe that they are holy writ, sacred and an expression of Gods will and love recorded through the hand and record of prophets. To believe them however, is to acknowledge the promises, blessings, warnings and cursing contained in their pages, ever applying them to yourself. So when we read D&C 93:1, we not only believe IN the scripture…we believe the scripture.
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; (D&C 93:1)
Most of us (those who will read this) believe IN the Lord. But, the question we should now ask ourselves is “Do I believe the Lord”.
Do you? Do you believe that you might see His face and know that He is?
This part is not optional. You must believe Him. He does not lie.
And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. (Enos 1:6)
In order to forsake our sins, to come unto Him, to call on His name, to obey His voice, to keep His commandments, we must believe Him…so that we will see His face and KNOW that He is.
Believing IN Christ brings an abundance of potential. Believing Christ starts to manifest that potential.
Two separate principles. We should start to believe Him now that we believe IN Him.
So, you have decided that you believe Him but you are not convinced that these things are supposed to occur in this life. You are satisfied with the idea that these things will occur in the after life. You acknowledge that they may occur in this life but that they are not necessary. To you I say “okay”. I acknowledge however that if these things are not occurring in our lives it is because of unbelief and not because God is withholding the light of heaven until we pass through mortality.
Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain. (Moroni 7:37)
To those of my brothers and sisters who have participated in the endowment ceremony performed in the temple, let me remind you of the apron you wear. Ponder, if you will, if this apron is not a symbol of your agency and mortality. And if it is, do you posses this apron while participating throughout the ceremony? (For thoughts on the endowment, see The Journey – Receiving our Endowment)
These blessings are for this life. They are not limited to the afterlife. They should not be treated as something we receive after enduring to the end of morality. The Lord promises these blessing for our mortal life. He outlines the pattern and requirements. The scriptures contain the testimony of individuals who have received these things. Do not reject them.
Okay, enough introduction to “more”. Lets look at what “more” is.
Here is a brief and incomplete list of some “more”:
- Dreams (1 Nephi 2:2)
- Visions (JSH 1:24)
- Ministering angels (Moroni 10:14)
- Desires of the heart granted (1 Nephi 11:10)
- The Father and Son taking up their abode with you (John 14:23)
- Communing with the Church of the Firstborn (D&C 107:19)
There are many more things we could add to this list. When you read the scriptures, pay attention to what these individuals experience when interacting with heaven. Those are things that go on the “more” list. The simple matter is, God interacts with His children on a personal level. Learning to communicate with Him is a challenge just as an infant learning to communicate with a parent is a challenge. Sometimes all we can do is cry. But those cries are heard. Thank God He hears our cries. But true communion involves a type of communication in which souls speak the same language. Effort is required to remember this language. Time is necessary. Sacrifice and obedience are needed to communion properly.
It can happen. For some, IT DOES happen. Every. Single. Day.
Where does it start? It starts with DESIRE.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers. (1 Nephi 2:16)
Nephi alludes to possibly not believing the words of his father. But he had a desire to KNOW. Because of that desire he cried unto the Lord.
Do we know what “great desires” are?
Do we know what it means to “cry unto the Lord”?
These are not desires that are satisfied by the vain things of this world. We may be distracted. We may be content and tied down by the chains of unbelief, but deep inside us is a longing. We want to SEE. We want to TOUCH. We want to HEAR. We want to KNOW. We desire further light and knowledge… even when we don’t know it. There is a portion of our soul that constantly looks to the heavens and desires… more.
Nephi had that desire for more. He called “more”, “the mysteries of God”. It was a “great” desire. It caused him to “cry unto the Lord”. When this kind of conviction is present, heaven takes notice.
…and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you… (Moroni 10:4)
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. (JSH 1:15)
In this “desire” stage we might be experimenting. We might have but a particle of faith. We have just enough desire to “give it a go”. We might not believe, but we desire to believe.
But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. (Alma 32:27)
In this stage we allow our hearts to be softened. If we don’t, we will find ourselves with a lesser portion.
And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11)
If we want “more”, we desire what Nephi called the “mysteries of God”. To know the mysteries of God we must not harden our hearts. Notice how Nephi mentions his heart was softened so that “I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father”.
Receiving “more” starts with desire. The pattern the scriptures lay before us to obtain what we desire is:
Each bullet point contains more detail. But that is the pattern. In the case of this message, the desire message, “desire” is sincere. It is real intent. It is the desire heaven takes notice of.
Next we will look at belief. Disbelief, unbelief and belief. These beliefs will determine what we obtain knowledge of.