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Monday, December 8, 2008
Yesterday, in church, a young woman told us about how she had asked God, "how should I worship today?" The answer came to her, "Worship is reaching, reaching is worship."
I immediately replaced the word worship with a hundred different words - but the word grow - in its many forms - rested upon my mind the longest.
God, how can I grow today?
Growth is reaching, reaching is growth.
This has stayed with me since. I have always known this to be true, but maybe not as much in the spiritual sense. As a former athlete, I was taught the importance of muscular growth and care. I learned that one must set goals and reach them in order to have muscles expand. In order for the muscles to be useful, one must stretch them out before rigorous use, like a race or a game. If a muscle is damaged, there are certain ways to repair it over time.
A young man spoke about turning 30 and the concern he had regarding such a milestone. He was concerned about his physical ability and health and wanted to make sure he was in great shape for his thirties. He read a guide to prepare for a new physical fitness regiment in which the first step is to consult a doctor before making any major changes to one's daily routine. After he found out he was in great shape and had the go ahead to apply a new, rigorous workout to his 30 year old life - he pondered about his spiritual 30. He wondered why he had not worried about where he was with his testimony and spiritual growth. He then made the comment that maybe the scriptures should have a tag on them that reads: Please consult God before starting a rigorous spiritual regiment. How often do we just binge on spirituality in an effort to become closer to God, but leave God out of the process along the way?
I guess I needed to hear about growth yesterday - whether it be in the way I worship, take care of my body or spirit and also the way I treat others.
In Sunday School I read Mormon 7-9, in which Mormon is telling the Lamanites of our time what they must do to receive celestial glory. At the top of the list was that they needed to lay down their weapons of war and delight no more in the shedding of blood. I pondered how I could apply that in my life, though admittedly, I am not a descendant of the Lamanites. Then it came to me that I have various "weapons of war" that I use to battle or hurt others and even myself everyday. Weapons like hate, fear, doubt, sarcasm, lying, stealing, cheating, mockery, gossip, fighting or contention. These weapons can also replace "shedding of blood" - I doubt that I delight in murder, but how much do I delight in the misery of others - heck myself - sometimes I enjoy conflict. At first, I thought, I don't really delight in doing any of these things and yet there are some on the list and some not listed that I do and continue to do even when I know they cause myself or others pain or anguish. Fortunately, I have been able to recognize my faults as I grown up and been able to reduce my weapons of war and my "delight" in the shedding of blood or causing someone else pain or anguish.
So, how can I continue to grow?
Mormon tells me the answer is accepting and living the gospel. Now that's a reach for me, but I don't have to reach all the way to the Celestial Kingdom now - nor could I ever - based upon my own strength or merit. That's why I have a Savior - one who will reach the distance I can not. He is the one who will match my growth times infinity. The first step to growth is reaching. Reaching is growth; in the spiritual sense - it is humility.
In response to President Benson's statements on humility, a young man in Sunday School made the comment that he is weary of praying for humility because it will only bring more trials upon him. Truthfully spoken I think because humility is obtained through trials. However, I responded to him with a story I was inspired to read this last week in scripture study - the story of Moses. Moses saw God face to face and was transfigured before him to be in the presence of glory. It took time for Moses to regain his own natural strength once God left. Moses comments that, "Now for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10) Listen to the sound of humility in that verse. Immediately after this is said Satan arrives to tempt Moses. It is because Moses was in the depth of humility that he could fight against Satan - for Satan had no glory. Moses called upon God for help to get rid of Satan because of humility - he knew God was God and He would add to his strength during a very overwhelming trial. My point I made to the young man is that trials will come regardless of whether you pray for humility or not. The idea is that while you pray for humility you are in essence praying for God - not to take away the trial - BUT to guide you - as He did Moses - in fighting against Satan when the trials and temptations are upon you.
I just wanted to share what I had learned yesterday - I found it all to be enlightening and helpful.
Maybe I am only 5'10 here on Earth - but I hope that as I continue to obtain humility and strength from Lord and as I grow - I will spiritually be at least 10 feet tall or maybe bigger just for effect.
You have been caught Jey Walking! (or "growing" for that matter)