By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Some Thoughts About Living the Gospel

I have been thinking about what it means to live the gospel. I don't have any hard and fast rules for such a thing, but I will share some of my thoughts.

Obviously, one has to know the gospel in order to live it. That does not mean knowing every detail and nuance, but it does mean knowing generally what the commandments are and what the covenants are. It means daily scripture study in order to understand how God deals with His children and to understand what is right and what is wrong. It means daily prayer--thanking God for His blessings and taking your problems and concerns to Him. As you do this, as you talk to Him and listen to Him, you will find that you understand more and more about what His gospel means and what He would have you do. You will also learn, as Sheri Dew has said several times, how He talks to you. You will learn what to listen for, what to look for, so that you feel more comfortable about when you've received an answer, or if it is just your own feelings rising up.

Those are basic things, along with meeting attendance and, if possible, temple attendance, that can give you what you need to live the gospel--knowledge, inspiration, encouragement. Add to that paying attention to our Prophet and other leaders and praying to understand what they've said and what you need to do. It takes patience and practice to do all of the above, but as you do them, you learn more and more and understand more and more, giving you confidence to feel in tune with the Lord as you live the gospel.

There is a lot more I could say about the basic things--developing humility, being obedient, having faith and hope and charity, and so forth. We all understand that there are a lot of areas we should develop concurrently and that it takes time to do so.

Among subjects I have been thinking about lately are things like applying compassion and charity in my political views and what I believe our government should be doing. I wonder if I am being too uncharitable when, for example, I believe that illegal immigration has got to stop. I can understand those who think we should let anyone and everyone in and help them, but I believe that is foolish in the extreme in this day and age of terrorism. It is also economically unfeasible. So do we let all in, even at the eventual cost of our country? Then where would people go?

We know that God wants us to be good stewards of the earth, but I do not believe that means putting animals and plants above humans. I do not believe that means we cannot use the earth's resources. God put them here for us to use. We are getting ourselves into an untenable position with regard to energy because we have overemphasized environmental concerns based on uncertain science.

I believe that God wants us to be charitable to people and to help those in need. I do not believe that such charity consists of hand-outs, except in emergencies or in the case of those who are elderly or disabled and will not ever be able to support themselves. What I believe is charitable is to temporarily help people with money or food, but to spend time and effort in finding out what they really need and help them overcome the problems that keep them from being self-sufficient. That can be education or training, sorting out legal problems, or simply learning how to manage their lives better. Those things aren't always easy, but they result in a person who can go on successfully with his life and, in turn, be charitable to others.

These are some of the issues I think about. What is it that God would have us do? Is it different in one situation than in another?

And so I meditate on these things and pray about them and look for things in the scriptures that apply to them. I try to exercise patience with myself because I realize that living the gospel is something that we learn to do better over time. We aren't perfect at it immediately upon deciding to live the gospel. I try not to think I have to be perfect before I can say or do anything. I try to be as merciful and longsuffering to myself as I believe God is toward me.

It just isn't always easy.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the Gospel is a seven day a week life style! There is much comfort and safety and blessings from efforts to live the Gospel. I think that we can have religion and politics. Both can be very emotional and heated. It is always good not to accuse another person for holding a view. I have known you to be very respectful in that regard. I think that if facts are set side by side rather than emotional appeals often used that people will find that really agree a lot with the other side. That is not to say that all are in agreement. I love facts that speak for themselves. Now if it were that easy, I guess that we wouldn't have so many opinions out there. I don't think any of us can understand it all when it comes to politics!--Barb

8:20 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks for your comment, Barb! I do try to be respectful, but sometimes I get a little wound up! I do think that politics and government are complicated subjects and that we would be better served if facts were emphasized so that each person could have a better idea of what is going on. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with everything, but if we at least focus on issues that have the most importance for us, perhaps we can learn enough to vote sensibly.

I do think that living the gospel can help us sort out what is important and what is not. It's a given that with our finite human minds, we aren't going to understand every situation and the correct solution, but we can at least try, especially in our own lives. I think the guidance in the gospel helps us to do the best that we can do and be the best that we can be.

7:33 AM  

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