Ye Would Not Murmur – 1 Nephi 16:1-6

You can read 1 Nephi 16:1-6 here.

Context and General Information

  • After Nephi finished speaking to his brothers, they said that what he declared was hard for them – more than they could bear.
  • Nephi admitted that he knew that he spoke hard things against the wicked, according to the truth.
  • Nephi then exhorted his brothers to choose a righteous path, then they wouldn’t murmur and complain that the words of righteousness are hard for them.
  • Nephi’s brothers humbled themselves – so much so that Nephi even started to have great hope for them.
  • All these things were done while they dwelt in the valley Lemuel.

Ye Would Not Murmur

There are a lot of good nuggets of truth in this short scripture passage, but the one that keeps standing out to me is Ye Would Not Murmur because of the truth.

It has me thinking of murmuring. So – let’s figure it out for a second.

First, I thought I’d look in the Bible Dictionary…Nothing.

So then I checked the Guide to the Scriptures. There IS an entry for murmur…so let’s see what it says!

“To grumble and complain against God’s purposes, plans, or servants.” – Guide to the Dictionary: Murmur

It’s pretty simple.

I also noticed that murmuring is related to rebellion. Just for kicks, let’s read what The Guide to the Scriptures says about rebellion.

“Defying or opposing the Lord, including refusing to follow His chosen leaders and willfully disobeying His commandments.” – Guide to the Scriptures: Rebellion

Yikes! We don’t want to get into rebellion territory. Which is why it is important to understand murmuring. Murmuring often (but perhaps not always) leads to rebellion. On the other hand, someone who is rebelling against God will also always murmur against Him.

Okay. Let’s keep studying this.

So – a reminder – Murmuring: To grumble and complain against God’s purposes, plans, or servants.

Purposes

How might we complain or grumble against God’s purposes?

I suppose we should take a moment right now to remind ourselves of what God’s purposes are. I’ve done a little bit of research – in the Bible Dictionary, the Topical Guide, etc. And it led me to the scripture that I was already thinking of…

“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” – Moses 1:39

This is what we know. This is what has been revealed to us. Ultimately, the Lord’s purpose is helping US to have immortality and eternal life. That is a big-time macro level view of God’s purpose. But He also has “micro” purposes that we aren’t always aware of…

For example, as we read in 1 Nephi 9, Nephi was commanded to make two sets of plates. The larger one (which was the one that he was already making) was to contain the history of his people. The smaller one (which was the one that God commanded him to make in addition to the large plates) contained the ministry of Nephi and the things that were of most spiritual value.

It wasn’t all that easy for Nephi to write another set of records. I mean, it’s so easy to overlook this fact! I’ve got like 3 blogs. I don’t know how many journals. I can type around 80 words a minute. Writing more! hahaha! That is not that difficult. It would be harder for me to be commanded to write less!

Nephi didn’t have a laptop, a journal with fun and colorful pens. He didn’t have a typewriter. He wasn’t writing on a scroll of paper with a quill pen and ink. He was engraving his writings on metal! This would have been hard to do.

Not only would it have been hard, but the Lord didn’t exactly tell him why he needed to do it. Nope. The Lord simply commanded Nephi to do this thing. And Nephi explains:

“Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.” – 1 Nephi 9:5

Even though Nephi didn’t understand God’s purpose, he didn’t murmur against it! It’s remarkable. There are times when we do understand God’s purpose, yet we murmur. Nephi didn’t know God’s purpose, nor did he murmur against it. Instead, Nephi rooted his faith in what he knew about his Heavenly Father: the purpose would be wise.

We have the advantage of hindsight, and we know the Lord’s purposes. The first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon (comprising of the record of Lehi, Nephi, and the others who kept historical records up until King Mosiah) were lost and destroyed. But we aren’t completely void of these early records. Instead, Nephi started writing that second record – of the ministry. He trusted in God’s purposes without grumbling. He obediently began a new record, and taught those who inherited these plates to record the ministry of the people. And because of His obedience, we still have his words.

I think that you could argue, still, that God’s purpose was our immorality and eternal life – that is why we need scriptures! To know how to inherit what God has. So it is probably best to keep this major purpose in mind, and feel confident that the little things – the little commandments – will serve a great purpose.

One last thing on purpose…what if we murmur against that purpose? The immortality and eternal life of man…I suppose it happens sometimes. I suppose that there are people who murmur against this beautiful purpose. Maybe they think it is foolishness – that there is no such thing as immortality or eternal life. Maybe they have such a hard time understanding God that they can’t even begin to grasp that He would be a God with a purpose.

Murmuring against God’s purpose probably doesn’t apply to most people. Most of us want to be happy! Most of us don’t want to be cast off from all light and life and joy. Most of us hear of God’s entire purpose, work, even glory, and we are filled with comfort and joy. I mean, hearing that God wants to bless me with His greatest blessings fills me with comfort and peace! I bet most people feel the same way when they learn God’s purposes.

Why would people think of murmuring against this purpose? I suppose it’s the same thing we’ve read before:

“…And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.” – 1 Nephi 2:12

Okay. I need to move on.

Plans

So, the next thing that we might grumble or complain about are God’s plans. I think that this is where the purposes of God are put into action. So, we may murmur against His beautiful plan – outright. It’s beautiful and hopeful!

But we forget that the purpose can’t be accomplished without plans and execution. And that is where we sometimes start to murmur.

Let’s think of another scriptural example.

When Nephi and his brothers went to obtain the plates of brass from Laban, they didn’t succeed after the first attempt. They were pretty depressed, even, when Nephi thought of a plan. They returned to Jerusalem, got all of their goods and precious things, and then approached Laban to essentially buy the plates. He refused. Laban chased them out of town and robbed them of all of their possessions in the meantime. Laman and Lemuel didn’t take this failure well. We read:

“And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.” – 1 Nephi 3:28

Laman and Lemuel had already been murmuring about this entire exercise – to get the plates. And yet, somehow they were cajoled into doing it. Then…after two attempts – they still don’t have the plates, have lost all of their precious possessions, they nearly lost their lives, they are being hunted by a powerful man in the city, and they have no more hope. How will they get the plates? Unfortunately, it’s not all that surprising that they murmured.

They aren’t the only ones who have experienced this in life – choosing to obey God’s commandments, only to be faced with extreme difficulty and adversity.

It’s easy to forget the God that created us, and murmur against Him. When we murmur against His plans and commandments for our lives, we are also murmuring against His purpose. We forget that these plans and commandments and are given to us so we can succeed – in receiving immortality and eternal life. When we murmur at the onset of afflictions, we forget that God is capable of consecrating our afflictions for our gain. (back to that purpose again).

and finally…

Servants

This one can be the hardest, in my opinion.

It’s one thing to trust in God and even to trust in His plans. God is perfect. His purpose – it’s amazing. His plans, though difficult, have purpose, and He will strengthen us to overcome them.

But his servants…well they’re human.

It’s easy for us to judge them and murmur against them because they aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. They don’t have the big picture that God has. They may not have as much intelligence or experience as we do.

Not only that, but we are taught:

“We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.” – Doctrine and Covenants 121:39-40

Sad Experience! It’s the nature of almost all men to exercise unrighteous dominion. Yet God lets us, feeble humans, serve Him in so many capacities.

So – we need to sustain and love our leaders, rather than murmur against them. Does this mean that we need to blindly obey our priesthood leaders, point blank? Not really. It probably means that we need to understand their true roles, and then delineate between what they do and do not have dominion over.

But we can still sustain them in their calling, even when they might step on our toes. We can forgive, still make our choices, and still even support them to do what is in their mantel to do.

It is what God has asked us to do.

And, if we trust His purpose, then we’ll trust His plan. If we trust His purpose and plan, then we will not murmur against those whom He has called to execute His plans.

This is really short, and I’m sure that we could write so much more about this. I don’t want to say that all leaders are perfect! They aren’t! I don’t think that we should just blindly say, “we must obey the priesthood!” Because there have been times when I’ve had leaders that exercised unrighteous dominion. There have been times when I’ve needed to raise my voice – not in anger or in contention, but lovingly and persuasively, to show that I truly sustained my leader – we are on the same team with the same purpose.

I know that it isn’t always black and white. I know it gets grey, but I also know that there is a way for us to sustain our leaders, even when they aren’t perfect. If it wasn’t possible, then the Lord would have organized our church differently.

***

I’ve got to wrap this up. We don’t want to murmur! I don’t want to murmur! It is a sure path to apostasy.

So – what’s the antidote? As usual – humility. Prayer. Trusting in God. When we know the God that created us, we will believe Him. We will adore, praise and worship Him. We won’t even think to murmur because we love Him.

***

Thanks for reading today…I didn’t have time to proofread. Please don’t judge me!!! And remember, this is a short look at a huge subject. What I’ve written isn’t complete. It’s just a starting point.

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Pride and Temptation – 1 Nephi 12:12-23

You can read 1 Nephi 12:12-23 here.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi is seeing the vision of the tree of life and learning its interpretation.
  • Nephi saw many of the fourth generation (from the time of Christ’s coming) of his people pass away in righteousness.
  • Nephi saw the multitudes of the earth gathered together.
  • Nephi saw his the people of his seed gathered together in war against the seed of his brethren.
  • The Angel teaches Nephi the meanings of the fountain of filthy water, the mists of darkness,and the great and spacious building.
  • Nephi saw the seed of his brethren – that they overcame his own seed.
  • Nephi saw wars and rumors of wars among the seed of his brethren. Many generations passed away.
  • Nephi saw the remainder of his civilization dwindle in unbelief. They became a dark, loathsome, and filthy people.

Temptation

We’ve been studying about the destruction of the Nephites in the past few blog posts. The Savior, after being resurrected, visited and ministered to the people of the Americas. As a result of the visitation from the Savior, the Nephites became one people. They lived in peace. There were no classes, no wars, no wickedness. They were very happy.

This joyful society lasted for about four generations, but then pride crept into the hearts of the people. Soon, they no longer had things in common. Class was reintroduced. Then, it wasn’t long before all manner of evils started to become commonplace again. Sin, wickedness, and pride spread through the people like a wildfire – with devastating effects.

Nephi sees some of this – one thousand years before it will happen. We read:

“And while the angel spake these words, I beheld and saw that the seed of my brethren did contend against my seed, according to the word of the angel; and because of the pride of my seed, and the temptations of the devil, I beheld that the seed of my brethren did overpower the people of my seed.” – 1 Nephi 12:19

The self-destruction of the Nephites

  1. They became proud.
  2. This pride set them against God, and they gave into the temptations of the devil.

As I read this verse, I am kind of fixated on that word: Temptations. It has a footnote – to the Topical Guide. I think that I will study a few of the entries here today.

Temptation is a Part of Mortal Life

Even before the foundation of this world, the Lord had a plan – we would come to the earth to be tried and tested.

“And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;” – Abraham 3:25

God created the world and then created Adam and Eve. He set them in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve dwelt in His presence, but there was a condition – they could not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and then remain in His presence.

The Lord then allowed them to be tempted.

Temptation has been a part of our experience always. It is something we should simply accept. When we understand that temptation is a part of our experience, then we can have power over it.

We know that Adam and Eve were tempted, and they fell. This fall introduced death and sin into the world. But it had a positive effect, too – they were able to have children. The plan of salvation would move forward. We could all come to the earth to be tested and tried.

Pride and Temptation

We read in 1 Nephi 12 that because of the pride of the Nephites, they entered into temptation, and then they were overpowered by their enemies. In the Doctrine and Covenants a similar warning is given to Oliver Cowdery:

“1 Behold, I speak unto you, Oliver, a few words. Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.” – Doctrine and Covenants 23:1

Why does pride lead us into temptation? I mean, really – I want to search that. Why does pride lead us into temptation?  Because, obviously it does. And, honestly, we don’t even need to know why in order to understand the pattern that when we have pride, we are more easily beset by sin and temptation. However, maybe if we understand the mechanics of it – maybe if we deconstruct it – then we will fight and rage against pride – so that we aren’t led into temptation – so that we don’t wander off, get lost, and become miserable.

I suppose that we first need to understand, really, what pride is. And I know that I’ve already studied this before, but it’s fine. I am feeling that I need to study this, so here we go. I love President Ezra Taft Benson’s explanation of pride:

Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us. – Ezra Taft Benson

I love this explanation because I think that we often do get stuck on the first paragraph – we think of pride as being some kind of braggart-ly jerk. We think of someone who is conceited and cocky. We might think of an arrogant loud mouth boaster. We may even think of it more subtly – the “rat race” or someone who needs to “keep up with Joneses” by wearing a fancy watch and driving a nice car.

Even in the Book of Mormon, when we read that pride is creeping into the hearts of the people, they are described as wearing fine clothing. And yes – this is a part of pride.

But the jerkiness, the haughtiness, the boastful dude who talks trash to others, the subtle passive aggressive lady who gives back-handed complements, the name dropping, the nice cars, the peer pressure, the politics, the condescension and judgment of others – those are all symptoms. They are correlations, but not the causation of pride.

President Benson teaches more than the little outward symptoms of pride. He gets to the heart of the matter – which happens to be the heart. Pride is enmity toward God. And enmity toward God is anything that causes us to hate Him, have hostility toward Him, or put us in opposition against Him. When we really think of it that way, then we will begin to see that even if driving a supercar isn’t important to us, we may still be suffering from pride.

President Benson also explains:

“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s.” – Ezra Taft Benson

It’s starting to get easy to see why giving into pride will then lead to giving in to other temptations. What chance do we even have to ward off temptation if we already have our wills pitted against God’s?

The first great commandment is to love God. The second is love others. When we allow pride into our hearts – our enmity may be directed toward God, which, of course, is breaking that first commandment. It is also possible to have our enmity directed to others. President Benson taught:

“Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them. (See Hel. 6:17; D&C 58:41.)

The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)” – Ezra Taft Benson

Does this sound familiar? I wish it didn’t to me. I have often found myself frustrated by the success and joy of others – rather than also joyful for them. This is a form of pride. Left untamed, it can lead to giving into more serious temptations – I mean, really, what is at the root of coveting? Pride. Adultery? Pride. Murder? Pride.

If you keep your hearts pure and full of charity, then you probably won’t go out and commit a gross sin against others. It just won’t be a temptation anymore. Well, actually maybe it will be a temptation. There are always temptations in life. But when we learn to get a handle on pride, then we also won’t succumb so much to temptation.

One more thing about pride. Not only is pride related to enmity, it is also very intimately related with fear. President Benson said:

” The proud stand more in fear of men’s judgment than of God’s judgment. (See D&C 3:6–7; D&C 30:1–2; D&C 60:2.) “What will men think of me?” weighs heavier than “What will God think of me?”

“Fear of men’s judgment manifests itself in competition for men’s approval. The proud love “the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (John 12:42–43.) Our motives for the things we do are where the sin is manifest. Jesus said He did “always those things” that pleased God. (John 8:29.) Would we not do well to have the pleasing of God as our motive rather than to try to elevate ourselves above our brother and outdo another?” – Ezra Taft Benson

Sometimes we become at odds against God because we worry more about what others think than what He thinks. When we start worrying about others, we then might be led into temptation – we might say yes when the right thing is to say no, we may think that we need to live outside of our means, we might even be willing to hurt others if that pleases those we fear.

Pride just leads to temptation -plain and simple. If we want to have strength against temptation, then we need to attack it at the root – pride.

Prayer Wards of Pride

Both pride and temptation are thwarted by true prayer. Remember what we learned about pride – it is enmity against God. We have pitted our will against His.

Instead, prayer is an exercise where we align our wills with Gods. In the Bible Dictionary we learn about prayer.

“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.” – Bible Dictionary: Prayer

First of all – prayer becomes more natural when we learn the true relationship. Think about pride right now – when we have pride in our hearts, are we remembering that we are children speaking to our loving Father in Heaven. When we understand the being that created us, prayer becomes more instinctive.

“Difficulties” about prayer arise from our own silliness – in forgetting that our Father in Heaven is our Father in Heaven!

Pride – plain and simple. So – when I pray, I need to remember that I am a daughter of God. Which means, He is my Father. Which means that He may have just a little bit more knowledge than I do.

The Bible Dictionary continues:

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them.” – Bible Dictionary: Prayer

When we try to pit our will against God’s – this is pride. When we try to change the will of God – this is pride! We have forgotten who we are and who He is. We have forgotten that He created this world! We have forgotten that His ways are higher than our ways, and that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We have become so puffed up and sure of ourselves that we foolishly believe that our knowledge and will to be better than God’s.

Prayer – real prayer – is a way that we can remember our relationship with God and realign our wills with His. It is a way that we can discover His will. (I don’t want to get into this now, but often I think that His will isn’t some specific point by point plan for our lives. We are co-creators. Yet, there is an ideal, and if we seek to understand His will, then we will be much better off!) Prayer can help to ward off pride.

Prayer Helps us Overcome Temptation

This post is rather long, but I want to finish with a few scriptures about the connection between prayer and temptation

One – Matthew 6:13

The Lord’s prayer is a pattern for us to follow. He specifically asks for help – not to be lead into temptation but delivered from evil.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:13 

I ask for a lot of blessings, and I do plead that the Spirit can be with me, but I’m not sure that I always ask for protection against evil and temptation.

Two – Alma 34:39

Amulek taught:

“Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.” – Alma 34:39

Not only do we need to pray that we won’t be led into temptation, but we need to pray continually!

I love the phrase, that he may not overpower you. I have to admit, yesterday I was feeling a little overpowered. Overwhelmed. Things go great for a while, and then it’s just hard. And what is the problem – most likely my lack of prayer. I try to pray, really pray, each day. Usually, I’m pretty okay at it. Right now, I’m not living in my own house, I don’t have my own space, so sometimes it is hard for me to find the right time or place to pray in a way that I would really like.

So I get a little casual.

And then, it just adds up and I feel overpowered and overwhelmed. So….PRAY! The Lord will give us the strength or insight that we need so we don’t feel overpowered or overwhelmed. We will be guided on what we need to do to stay the course and be happy.

Three – Matthew 26:41

The Savior spoke the following words to Peter, James, and John after he found them asleep while He suffered in Gethsemane:

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41

At first glance, this seems like pretty pointed advice to the three apostles that were accompanying the Savior. Not only that, I kind of understand the plight of Peter, James, and John. Every single night, my husband and I try to watch a little episode of Psych or some other fun TV show. And every single night I fall asleep. Usually, I can’t even make it to the OPENING credits before falling asleep! I can get how it would have been hard for Peter, James, John to stay awake – because my flesh is weak.

And that’s the thing, though. This scripture probably applies to all of us in most situations. My flesh is weak. I need the Lord. I need His help. I am willing, but my flesh is so weak. This isn’t an excuse. It is actually meant as a motivation: PRAY! We can’t do it on our own.

When we pray, we are strengthened by the Lord and His spirit. We calm and clear our minds in thoughtful, humble prayer. We align our wills with His. We can feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost – to know what actions we should and maybe even should not take in life.

Our flesh is weak – and on our own, it is way too susceptible to temptation. But we haven’t been left alone. We have a loving Advocate who pleads our cause for us. However, He can’t plead our cause if we aren’t pleading it, too – in His name. The Lord will make us strong. He wants to make us strong. We just need to humble ourselves and pray.

***

I needed to read this today and to be reminded. I can see why the word “temptation” was standing out to me. I can see why I needed to study temptation, pride, and prayer. I need to remember to really pray and to really believe that Heavenly Father answers our prayers.

I needed to remember that Heavenly Father does allow us to be exposed to challenges and trials in our lives, but that we aren’t alone. We have His help, His constant companionship.

I needed to remember that His help doesn’t mean that He will navigate rough waters for me, but that He will enable me to do it, and that a big part of this is through prayer. Through prayer I will be able to come off conquer and not be overcome by temptation.

I’m so grateful for the scriptures. I know that they will help us every single day if we will just crack them open and listen to what the Lord wants to teach us. I also know that the Lord is guiding us. Every time I learn something in my personal scripture study, I realize that the Lord truly knows me, is mindful of me, and wants to answer my prayers – but He will not rob me of experience and growth when He does answer them. Understanding this helps to strengthen my faith and trust in Him.

I’m so grateful to know we have a loving Father in Heaven. I’m so grateful to know that we have a Savior who is also pleading our cause for us. I am so grateful to know that we don’t have to travel through our lives alone. I’m grateful to know that there is a way out of temptation. We have One we can turn to, and He’s only a prayer away.

The Pride of the World (Part Two) – 1 Nephi 11:32-36

You can read 1 Nephi 11:32-36 here.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi is seeing the vision of the tree of life.
  • The Spirit tells Nephi to Look! Nephi looks.
  • Nephi sees the Lamb of God judged of the world, lifted up on the cross, and slain for the sins of the world.
  • Nephi saw multitudes of people gathered to fight agains the apostles of Christ.
  • Nephi sees the multitude gathered in the great and spacious building.
  • The Spirit explains to Nephi that the great and spacious building is the world and its wisdom. Nephi then saw that the great and spacious building, which was the pride of the world, fell.

The Pride of the World

If you like, you can read The Pride of the World – Part One here.

I was struck, yesterday, by the following phrases:

“…And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world;…” – 1 Nephi 11:32

I think that I usually read things like “by the people” and “of the world” and I think that this means others. I mean, I tend to think of “worldliness” as a way to describe the outsiders – those who don’t participate in Christianity. Maybe I think of them as secular people. I’m not sure.

I just know that I don’t think of “the world” as being covenant members of the House of Israel.

Yet, if we take a few minutes to ponder this scripture and the circumstances of Christ, then we know that “the people” and “the world” were in fact covenant members of the House of Israel. The Egyptians didn’t come in and kill the Savior. His own people took Him and judged Him.

***
Another phrase that stands out to me:

“…behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” – 1 Nephi 11:35

Notice in this verse – it is The House of Israel that has gathered to fight against the twelve apostles. It wasn’t some “other” group – It wasn’t the Romans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, or any other group that came and fought against the twelve apostles of the lamb and the Savior. It is the House of Israel that fights – against their God, against their apostles. I know that there were times when the apostles and the Christians were persecuted by other faiths. That is to be expected. What is interesting to me, is how the disciples of Christ were persecuted by those of their own faith.

The Problem with Pride

So – I’ve been pondering a lot about pride, but what’s the big deal, really? Maybe it’s annoying, but what’s the problem with it?

Well, first of all, pride can lead us to do some pretty stupid things. For example, it was pride that motivated the Pharisees to have the Savior crucified. Probably one of the dumbest things to happen in history. Pride makes us blind. Jacob taught:

“3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.

4 For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God.

5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.” – 2 Nephi 10:3-5

The pride of the people in Jerusalem made them blind to the greatest gift our world has ever received. It made them blind to the fact that they lived among the Son of God, the Creator of this world. If the Savior had come to any other nation or group, they would have recognized Him as God, but the pride of the people blinded them to the extent that they killed Him.

It’s funny. They didn’t like Jesus’ message, so they killed Him. But the thing is – killing Christ doesn’t change the truth of the gospel or the precepts He taught.

The Romans could lock up Galileo, but it didn’t change the fact that the earth did indeed revolve around the sun.

If you hated gravity, you could have locked up and killed Newton, but killing Newton wouldn’t keep you from plunging to your death if you stepped off the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Pride is silly, and we see what happens to the pride of the world and the great and spacious building – even after they have “eliminated” their opponents:

“And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

36 And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” – 1 Nephi 11:35-36

Despite their efforts in fighting against the Lamb of God and His apostles, despite the martyrdoms and wars, truth still stands, and the great and spacious building falls.

The Antidote

So – what’s the point of studying all of this? Is there a solution? YES!

First of all, let’s remember this little fact about the great and spacious building:

“26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.” – 1 Nephi 8:26

This great and spacious building had no integrity. It was just standing on…nothing.

Contrast this with what we are taught later in the Book of Mormon:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” – Helaman 5:12

If the wise man built his house upon the rock, and the foolish man built his house upon the sand, what did the prideful man build his house on?…nothing? Silly!!!

We can be wise. Instead of letting pride into our hearts – (and remember WE, covenant members of the house of Israel ARE susceptible to this problem) – we can root out pride and build our foundation on the rock of Christ. Christ is the only sure thing. If we build upon Him, we cannot fall. It is simple. It’s not sexy or exciting like that great and spacious building, but it is sure.

The Pride of the World (Part One) – 1 Nephi 11:32-36

You can read 1 Nephi 11:32-36 here.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi is seeing the vision of the tree of life.
  • The Spirit tells Nephi to Look! Nephi looks.
  • Nephi sees the Lamb of God judged of the world, lifted up on the cross, and slain for the sins of the world.
  • Nephi saw multitudes of people gathered to fight agains the apostles of Christ.
  • Nephi sees the multitude gathered in the great and spacious building.
  • The Spirit explains to Nephi that the great and spacious building is the world and its wisdom. Nephi then saw that the great and spacious building, which was the pride of the world, fell.

The Pride of the World

Well, I’m not exactly sure what to learn/write about today. But that’s just how it goes sometimes.

As I keep reading through this selection, I keep noticing the word pride.

This series of things that Nephi sees is pretty interesting. Nephi sees the Savior being taken by the people…His people, judged of the world, lifted up on the cross, and slain.

I think that it is crucial for us to really accept the fact that Jesus was killed by His own people. We need to remember this because we need to learn from it. Just because we are well-versed in the scriptures doesn’t really mean anything. We must have faith, and we must be doing all we can to strip ourselves of pride on a daily basis.

The people who fought (and were successful, by the way) to have Christ crucified were those who knew the prophecies of the Messiah, they were religious – so religious that they “enlarged their phylacteries. (Meaning, they made sure to show others how pious and religious they were!) Their identity was religious, but the Lord accurately describes these so-called followers:

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” – Matthew 15:8

I know, and I’ve known for as long as I can remember that the Pharisees were major antagonists to the Savior and, as the Bible dictionary states, ” a major obstacle to the reception of Christ and the gospel by the Jewish people.” (See Bible Dictionary: Pharisees.) I’ve known this fact, but it is good to really think about it, and then maybe ask some further questions.

Like – are we really all that different today? Are there times when I act like a Pharisee rather than a disciple?

We learn from the Bible Dictionary:

“They prided themselves on their strict observance of the law and on the care with which they avoided contact with things gentile. … They upheld the authority of oral tradition as of equal value with the written law. The tendency of their teaching was to reduce religion to the observance of a multiplicity of ceremonial rules and to encourage self-sufficiency and spiritual pride.” – Bible Dictionary: Pharisee

(Note: there were other groups that opposed the Savior (like the Sadducees, I realize). They were another “caste” among the Jews. As the Bible dictionary states about them, “They formed the Jewish aristocracy and were powerful, though quite small in numbers.” (See Bible Dictionary: Sadducees.)

Though the beliefs between the Pharisees and the Sadducees varied a little bit, what they had in common was pride. The Pharisees prided themselves on their overzealousness. The Sadducees were aristocratic. They were a class of Jews. If you think that it is bad to have “cliques” in your ward, imagine if we had entire “classes.” This completely goes against what the Savior teaches about Zion:

” And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” – Moses 7:18

So, I suppose that these are the questions that we must ask ourselves. Do we act like Pharisees and/or Sadducees?

Do We….

  • Pride ourselves on strict observance – to what we consider to be the traditions of the gospel – Notice, isn’t a bad thing to obey the commandments. It is good for us to keep the commandments and covenants that God has given us. But do we “miss the mark” with our observance? Do we create our own “rules,” programs and initiatives that get in the way of what we truly ought to be doing? Jacob taught:

    “But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.” – Jacob 4:14

  • Do we uphold “tradition” as if it were equal to the law?…and then judge against people who aren’t keeping tradition. Do we confuse to the two?
  • Have we reduced religion to a set of “ceremonious rules” rather than remember that the religion we claim to have is the doctrine of Christ -the pattern of salvation?
  • Are we so obsessed with our traditional rules that we begin to over-emphasize self-sufficiency and spiritual pride? Do we sometimes forget that we need the Savior?
  • Do we think that there is such a thing as “church royalty?” A group of select individuals – probably in local leaderships and such, that are just “model mormons?”

Unfortunately, I think that there is more Pharisee and Sadducee in our religion than there ought to be, and there are times when I get caught up in the traditions, the expectations, etc. I let a little bit of pride creep into my heart. And I lose focus on what we are really here to do.

I’ve been studying long enough for today, so I’m going to break this study up into two parts. But perhaps it is worth a little bit of self-reflection. It is so easy to become Pharisaical in our worship. We are human beings, social creatures, fallen men. We like to compare. Sometimes comparison can be a helpful way of gathering data.

But when it comes to our religion, our discipleship it is a way that the Adversary sneaks into our heart. If we aren’t careful, we might begin to think that our works are more important than our faith. We may forget the role of grace – that even after everything we can do, it isn’t enough. In fact, I feel kind of bad saying that “it isn’t enough.” But I don’t mean that in a derogatory “you aren’t perfect way.” I mean it in the way that we learn in the scriptures.

YOU AREN’T PERFECT! I’m not perfect! The Pharisees weren’t perfect. We all need Christ. We don’t have to be perfect to qualify for His grace. We just have to come unto Him. He is the one who will perfect us and make us whole. Sometimes our expectations are a bit Pharisaical, and we think that in order to qualify for grace, we need to be perfect. But if we were perfect, then there would be no need for grace.

This perfectionism, this overzealousness, is really just a form of pride. Pride is “enmity toward god.” And what is enmity?

“Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” – Ezra Taft Benson

I used to think of Enmity merely as “hatred toward or hostility to,” but it is only a part of the definition. Enmity is also “a state of opposition” against God.

I don’t think that the Pharisees thought that they hated or had hostility toward God. They were so obsessed with God and His commandments, they were trying to take each commandment and tradition, and “do one better.” While this overzealousness may not have been caused by their “hatred toward or hostility to” God, it did set them in a state of opposition” against Him.

We can learn from the Pharisees and the Sadducees. If we search within ourselves, we may just find some pride within us. And, if we search within ourselves and we do find pride, then we know that we can root it out with the help of our loving Savior.

okay…really…I have to finish. More on this tomorrow, most likely.

1 Nephi 1:16-20

I’m still thinking about how I want to organize these blog posts…Not sure yet, so bear with me.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi is making an abridgment of the record of his father. Which meant that his father made a record.
  • After the Lord showed Lehi the marvelous vision as recorded in 1 Nephi 1:1-15, Lehi then begins to share the message with others in Jerusalem.
  • The Jews are angry with Lehi, they want to kill him.
  • Despite this anger, Nephi will show us in the record that follows that the Lord’s tender mercies are over those whom he hath chosen – unto the power of dliverance.

005 Lehi Preaching to the People in Jerusalem

Analysis, Observations, and Application

Now that we have a few points on this block of scripture, let’s try to understand it and make some meaning.

In 1 Nephi 1, we read:

“And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him…;” – 1 Nephi 1:19-20

When I read about this, I think that I can understand why the Jews might not like the message all that much. Lehi is testifying of their wickedness and abominations.

Have you ever been corrected? I have been. And I’m not even talking about being corrected by a teacher or a parent, or the usual. But by someone who loves me and has my best interest. I’ve been corrected by friends and my spouse even my children. It is not easy.

Even when their isn’t much on the line – say when I was in college and I wrote essays or creative pieces of work. It wasn’t always easy to be critiqued and corrected.

You have to eliminate pride at first.

And the kind of correction that Lehi is doing with the people of Jerusalem isn’t about the mechanics or grammar of their essay. It isn’t about writing better transition or using a more active voice. He is telling them that they are doing wicked things that will result in the destruction of their lives as they know it.

If they choose to listen to Lehi, a lot is on the line. It’s not like they just have to correct a few grammar mistakes. They might have to completely change their lives.

I can see why they might not be receptive to Lehi.

Not only would it be hard to hear this message, but Lehi’s message is not the majority opinion of the culture of that time. No doubt it sounds a bit unconventional or maybe “old fashioned.” His is the only voice telling them they are wicked in a world that is shouting the opposite message.

It sounds familiar. It might have been hard to accept Lehi’s message if you were in Jerusalem.

That being said, Lehi said God’s message. And if the people were willing to listen with the Spirit, then the would have heard Lehi’s message loud and clear. In fact, not only would they have heard Lehi’s message, but it would have become a message of hope and joy rather than condemnation.

Lehi’s message was a testimony of their wickedness, yes. It was also a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem because of their wickedness (which prophecy was fulfilled not many years later). Additionally, Lehi’s message was of the Messiah – the hope and redemption of the world.

If the people of Jerusalem would have chosen to hear this message, then they could have been filled with joy. They could have made another choice. Instead, they were stirred up into anger. They wanted to kill Lehi.

The good news of the gospel was a message that angered them!

Think about this – how do I react to the words and warnings of the prophets? Do I mock and jeer at their message as if it is old fashioned, unintelligent, or just plain wrong? Is my heart open to the Spirit so that I can hear the message that the Spirit wants me to know?

This example of Lehi’s happened on a big scale, but I think that it happens on smaller scales every day – if we will let it. If we will be humble, then the Lord will refine us. Though painful in the moment, we can remember that ultimately such refinement points us to the Hope of our Redeemer. In other words, though painful for a moment, the pain gives way to great joy.

Recently, in my life, the Lord has been giving my husband and I the opportunity to go through refinement – both individually and as a couple. It isn’t always very easy. In fact, the other night, we went on a date that was relatively painful.

But, thankfully, because my husband is close to the Spirit and because I am trying to also be close to the Spirit, the Lord helped us to see our situation with discernment. He helped us to see that our flaws aren’t something to be ashamed of. But that we can accept these flaws as ours, look to our Savior, and be healed.

Though the date night started off a little crummy, instead of being like the people of Jerusalem – instead of getting emotional and prideful – we turned to one another, the Spirit helped us to see clearly and it comforted us. We drew together in love, and we ended up having a really great date that has helped us to draw closer and have more love and joy in our lives.

Lehi’s message, though it took a tone of correction, was ultimately a message of joy. That is God’s message for each of us – and we can be filled with joy if we will hear it with the comfort and discernment of the Spirit.

Pride – A Block to Our Happiness (Alma 42:30)

In Alma 42, Alma is still teaching his son, Corianton. He says something very interesting to his son:

“O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.” – Alma 42:30

Pride so often stands in the way of happiness.

Instead of changing, so many people excuse their sins by denying the justice of God, instead. I can see why this is a common pattern, but it doesn’t work!

We can deny God and His justice all we want, but our denial of God doesn’t make God non-existent. We can deny God and His justice all we want, but we are still subject to it.

Think of it this way. We may “disagree” with gravity. We may even let our pride in the matter wrap and distort our minds so much that we then deny the law of gravity. Despite such denial, if we stood at the edge of a cliff and jumped, we’d soon find that we were still subject to it.

Instead of denying God’s justice as a way to “justify” ourselves, we ought to simply accept the justice of God. The beauty of accepting God’s justice is that we can also accept the companion blessing He has offered us through Christ: His mercy.

Through accepting God’s justice and Christ’s atonement, we then will humble ourselves to let Christ’s Atonement take place in our lives. We do this by submitting to Him – by being righteous. And the result…HAPPINESS!!!

Denial gets us nowhere. Accept. Be humble. Obey. Be happy!

Accepting and Rejoicing in God’s Blessings (Alma 26:16)

I’ve noticed a trend lately. Maybe it’s a trend in only myself…but maybe not. It seems like we can’t accept the way that God has blessed us in our lives. I’m not saying this the way I mean it. It seems like it is popular to only notice our shortcomings and our “opportunities for growth” instead of rejoicing in the ways that the Lord has blessed and strengthened us.

I’ll give an example. Let’s say you meet someone who is really fit. You might say to her, “Hey, you are so fit and strong. You look great.”

What do you think her response will be? Most of the time it goes something like this, “Thanks, but you shouldn’t say that. My __(insert some kind of dissatisfied body part)____ is not what I’d like it to be.”

Why can’t she say, “Thanks. The Lord has really blessed me to get a handle on my health and fitness.”

Or maybe you meet someone who is very wise with her use of time and talents. You might say to her, “You are so organized!”

What would be her response? Probably something like, “Oh, no. You should see my desk…”

I do this. In fact, it is so common, I find myself preemptively discrediting myself – I’m not sure why. I guess it is to appear humble. And it happens all the time.

Thankfully, we have the Book of Mormon in these latter days. And we can see that many of our foibles aren’t relegated only to this time or to a specific sex. It seems like the faithful have had a hard time with acceptance and rejoicing in the blessings of the Lord for a long time. I think it comes from a good place. We don’t want to appear proud. But it is important to be honest. God is perfectly honest, and He wants us to be, too.

***
In Alma, we read about the experience of the sons of Mosiah preaching the gospel to the Lamanites. After fourteen years, they experienced many hardships and also unimagined success. As they were traveling back to Zarahemla, Ammon begins to rejoice in the miracles and blessings that they experienced during their missions.

In fact, his joyfulness caused his own brother to comment to Ammon:

“And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting.” – Alma 26:10

After this brief censure, Ammon responds:

“But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.” – Alma 26:11

Why shouldn’t Ammon rejoice?! He had just spent the last fourteen years of his life serving people. He had experienced highs and lows. He saw the fruits of his labors, and was feeling great joy in this fruit. I’m sure that he also developed relationships with many of the people served. There is a difference between pride and rejoicing because God is good and has blessed us.

Ammon later states:

“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.” – Alma 26:16

I love this! I need to apply this into my life, too. Who can glory too much in the Lord? It isn’t wrong to accept and rejoice in the blessings and successes He has given us. This is a show of our gratitude and love for Him.

I have struggled with this. There are times when people pay me a compliment. I have a hard time accepting it for various reasons 1) I feel inadequate 2) I don’t want to become prideful, and I know that my successes are 100% results of blessings of God.

Instead of beating around the bush and acting shy, I can say thanks. Instead of saying, “You shouldn’t say that…” in an I’m not worthy tone, I can use the opportunity to glorify and testify of God who has blessed me in the first place. I can recognize the hand that God has had in my life, accept His blessings, and remember Ammon’s honest question, who can glory too much in the Lord?

The Attributes of a Saint (Alma 7:23-24)

Yesterday, I wrote about how the people of Zarahemla were corrupting the religion. I wrote a pretty exhaustive list of the bad things they were doing.

Today, we get a list of what faithful saints should, instead, be doing.

“And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.” – Alma 7:23-24

These attributes of a saint are actually the keys to a joyful life

  • Be humble
  • Be submissive
  • Be gentle
  • Be easy to be entreated
  • Be full of patience and all long-suffering
  • Be temperate
  • Be diligent in keeping God’s commandments
  • Ask for what we need – both spiritual and temporal
  • Be grateful
  • Be faithful
  • Be hopeful
  • Be charitable

When we work to cultivate these attributes, then good works will abound.

when good works abound, then blessings and peace abounds.

It’s such a good deal. Yes, this list might be hard at times. I think that the hardest part is that it requires us to give up our pride and trust in something else. But the result is peace! Our pride is such a little cost for such a great reward.

The Double Edged Sword of Truth (Mosiah 13:8)

In Mosiah Chapters 12-15, Abinadi the prophet is delivering a message to the wicked priests of King Noah.

Abinadi preaches a message of truth. It is, for the most part a message of hope. It is the message that Christ will come. It is the message of the gospel and how God’s commandments bring us joy and peace in this life and in the life to come.

Of course, the gospel of Christ is also a message of our agency. We don’t have to choose to keep the commandments. We don’t have to choose to covenant with Him. We can do whatever we want to do. However, we are warned that when we don’t keep the commandments, then we will experience pain and misery.

Abinadi is teaching the priests truth. This message is “laws of the universe” kind of stuff. That might not make sense. What I mean is – the connection between righteousness and joy is as sure of a universal truth as gravity is. You can’t really disagree with the law of gravity. It’s a law.

I mean, I guess you could disagree with it. But you are still susceptible to it, and must be obedient to it or else experience grave results. The Lord’s laws are just as sure. But not everyone accepts or rejoices in truth.

The Priests, who claimed to be preaching the gospel, didn’t rejoice at Abinadi’s words. They didn’t nod their heads and give an “amen.” Instead, we read:

” Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.

Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.” – Mosiah 13:7-8

I’ll try to cut the priests some slack. Abinadi was calling them out on their wickedness. This is because they were ripening for destruction, and God loves His children. He sent a prophet to warn them – with the hope that they would repent and unite themselves again with a God who loves them and would protect them. It isn’t always easy to hear or take correction – especially if you’re somewhat fond of your sin.

So, I can learn a lesson from these wicked priests, and ask myself, Do I respond in like manner? When someone corrects me, am I filled with “wonder, amazement, and anger?” or do I swallow my pride, accept correction, and seek to repair my relationship with God?

Don’t Confuse Pleasure with Joy (1 Nephi 11:36)

“And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

36 And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” – 1 Nephi 11:35-36

So – in this verse, Nephi is learning about the interpretation of his father, Lehi’s dream. Lehi had seen a great and spacious building. This building is full of people. It sounds like a pretty good time:

“And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.” – 1 Nephi 8:27

The people are looking good. They’re having a good laugh at the expense of those who are on the “strait and narrow.” I don’t know, but I’ve always imagined this great and spacious building as a giant party or something. The people are dressed very nicely, and I’m guessing that they are doing all of the things that will give them pleasure and satisfaction.

I mean, the great and spacious building – not the building itself, but the people inside it and its representation – is extremely alluring. Even after partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, some people are ashamed and want to go to the great and spacious building. Many people wander off and become lost – all so they can get into this elusive, beautiful, magnificent building – with its beautiful, magnificent and posh people.

Now, though things seem to be going great for the people in the great and spacious building, it is floating in the air, and soon enough it crashes to the ground. And, as the angel states, “the fall thereof was exceedingly great.”

So – let’s read between the lines. What would happen if a great and spacious building, full of reveling people – dressed nicely and having a good laugh – falls? What would happen to those people? Yikes. It all becomes a little less alluring.

Satan’s way, though glittering and attractive, is ultimately death and misery.

Joy is simple. It is steadfast. It is comfort during trial. It is not glittering or sexy. It is pure. It is sweet. And it is enduring. The joy that comes from God is His pure love, and it endures forever.

It’s easy to be confused. We are natural beings and therefore have natural desires. But Satan’s way, no matter how it is packaged, no matter how much pleasure you can take in the moment, always ends the same way – shattered, a puff of smoke, and illusion that leaves you with misery and pain.