There is a plan for each of us but we need to be participants in that plan for it to be successful. We also need to have an understanding of that plan so that it can work.
We are asked to do a few things regularly which I talked about in my post from May 21. Almost every week at church we review and go over those things. So let’s remember what those things are.
- Study the Scriptures daily
- Pray daily – even constantly
- Serve Others
- Attend the temple
These four things, if done with introspection, can help us to grow and learn and fully become what Heavenly Father sees in us. So let’s look at a few of the purposes for these things we are asked to do regularly. Although, like everything that has to do with our spirits, there are multiple purposes for each of these things, we’ll just look at one for each right now.
Daily Scripture Study
The purpose of daily scripture study is to liken the scriptures to ourselves. To look at the people in the scriptures and see how we may resemble them. If they are people who are generally making good/right choices then we can ask how can we become more like that. We can then set goals and take steps in that direction.
If the person in the story is not moving in a direction which is good or desirable then we can look and see if there are traits they are displaying that we might also have and we can begin to work toward removing those things from our life or personality.
We can change. It takes hard work and focus but we can.
The purpose of daily prayer is to bring our will in line with the will of God. In addition it hopefully opens us up to being able to hear his voice. Then, when we hear Him we need to act on the direction we get.
Sometimes the voice is a voice of comfort but often it is suggesting ways in which we can improve ourselves or how we can reach out to others to help them. If we hear the voice of God asking us to be better humans then you can bet he is going to help us to get there so it’s important that we move forward with faith that all will be right in the end.
We are asked to serve others. We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, have been assigned sisters or families to care for. These assignments aren’t random or given out easily. There is prayer and pondering and a lot of behind the scenes work put in to make sure that these decisions are as correct as possible.
As we serve others and minister and look outside of ourselves there are at least 2 things that happen.
First, we get a glimpse of how Heavenly Father sees others. So often when we are just seeing what people are projecting to the world we don’t get an understanding of why they are the way they are. But as we spend time and get to know them our hearts are softened toward them and we feel love for them and a desire to help where we can.
Second, we feel the love that God has for us, our confidence grows and we once again have an opportunity to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives.
As I type that I am reminded that perhaps the benefits of helping others far outweigh the benefits of being helped.
Attend the Temple
The purpose of attending the temple regularly is about more than just performing ordinances for your ancestors. It is also for you. There is so much packed into each portion of the temple ordinances that there is no way that going just once for yourself is enough. There are people who have been attending the temple for 50 years who still learn new things when they go.
This is similar to the scriptures where you may have read a certain chapter 20 times but today there is something new that sticks out. Isn’t it a beautiful thing that Heavenly Father arranged things in such a way that we can get an opportunity to learn all that is available by doing the work for other people who didn’t have that opportunity for themselves.
Isn’t it amazing that God trusts us to do this work even though there are only a few of us? Isn’t it a great blessing that we are given to be reminded of our covenants and to have that opportunity always available to us.
All four of these things we are asked to do require us to change our minds in some way. They require us to do some work. They require us to have faith that doing them will help us and help others.
All four of these things can feel difficult. If you don’t pray you may feel silly talking to someone you can’t see. If you don’t regularly read or study the scriptures it can feel overwhelming or seem hard to understand. If you don’t serve outside of the people who live in your own home it can feel scary to reach out to someone you don’t know, or you don’t want to inconvenience, and you don’t want to feel foolish or helpless. If you don’t regularly go to the temple you may feel nervous that you’ll never understand or that you’ll never remember everything.
Well, I will tell you from all of my own experience that Heavenly Father will help you in all of those situations. All that is required of you is that you begin. Start small, but start. It’s amazing the doors that open up when you just begin.
There is a quote by John A Shedd that says “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” We were made for more. The prophets tell us that all of the time. But to be more you must do more. We need to believe God when He tells us He wants us to be successful. And success means joy in our lives. Incorporating these for things into our lives will propel us forward and the joy that is promised can be ours.