Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seeking to Do His Will

Today, I was blessed to witness the baptism of a husband and wife. They had received the LDS Missionaries and learned about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and desired to follow Christ's example in being baptized by immersion in His name. Having had swim lessons at an early age and feeling very comfortable in the water, I am not sure I appreciated until today how scary baptism by immersion can be to a non-swimmer. Even though the water in the baptismal font was warm and only waste deep, there is rich symbolism associated with the act of immersion that can cause a bit of anticipatory anxiety.

We know that Baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in addition to that, baptism also symbolizes our complete submission to God. Allowing one of God's servants to hold you under water, trusting that he will bring you up again does require a bit of faith in and of itself.

However, thinking on this further, baptism as well as other gospel ordinances, symbolizes our rebirth, devotion, and commitment as children, followers, and disciples of Jesus Christ. Life is short in comparison to eternity and this life is not about seeking our own pleasure. This life is not about getting what we want, or doing things the way we want them to be dome. What this life is really about, is seeking out and doing the will the the Father. Christ summed it up in the Garden the night before His death when He said, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.'

The wisdom in complete submission to God, and surrendering our own desires is that our desires can be manipulated by our environment. Many of the things we want are a result of what we see on TV, or what we see our neighbors have. However, when we sacrifice to attain these superficial desires, most of the time, we are left dissatisfied and just as empty or even more empty than at the start. Too often, what we think we want does not satisfy. Even if we could have it all. Also, seeking our own will makes it easy for Satan to enslave us. Without God we have no real imagination, and our sights are limited and our choices can be limited by a controlled media and society.

However, when we give ourselves to God, then we seek His will and not our own. Christ says to take His yoke upon us because His burden is easy and His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. we are taught in the Book of Mormon to never labor for that which is of no worth, or for sacrifice for that which does not satisfy. Rather, we are invited to lose ourselves in the service of others and thereby find ourselves. Or in other words, we are instructed to "forget [ourselves] and go to work." The New Testament again invites us to lay up in store treasures in heaven where moth and rust does not corrupt, and where thieves cannot break in and steal. And we are taught that we are not to set our hearts upon our riches or the riches of others.

The truth is that we don't know what we should desire. We don't know of ourselves what will bring eternal happiness and joy. To often, our happiness just centers around having more than the others around us. When what should really bring us happiness is tirelessly sharing what we have with others so that others have the same blessings we do.

Seeking our own pleasure, and doing our own will has a name (do as you will). It is called pride. I am not taking about the kind of pride where we are proud of a job well done. What I am talking about is the pride in the scriptures which is described by Pres. Ezra Taft Benson as "enmity towards God". too often we want to do things our way, and just want to do what we want to do, when we want to do them, and how we want to do them. However, this life, which is very short compared to eternity, is the time we have to prepare to stand before God and be judged. And a major part of our testing here during this Earth life is to prove us whether we will seek to do the will of our Heavenly Father. This is the purpose of life.

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