I had the thought when I did my post on Individual Worth that I would really enjoy doing more posts on the Young Women’s Value’s. I’ve thought about it some since then, but it hasn’t been till recently that things have plopped into my lap (God’s providence plopped in my lap, really) to share some things with you that I am learning about FAITH.
I have been reading a book entitled He Did Deliver Me From Bondage by Colleen C. Harrison. Her book takes the 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and correlates them with the principles taught in The Book of Mormon. Basically, she ties a connection between the gospel of repentance and the Alcoholics Anonymous program and the two correlating together break it down into doable, understandable steps.
In her book she has an section that you read and then you have seven days of preparatory work for the next reading section. Each day has one verse from The Book of Mormon that you read and study and write about.
Well, it just so happens that the first day of the first week’s reading assignment spurned what I want to share with you today. First off, our scripture:
2 Nephi 9:39
“O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.”
Colleen C. Harrison asks the reader to look up carnal in the dictionary to more fully understand what it means. It just so happens that I love looking things up in the dictionary (I got this from my mother) and so that was not hard to do. NOTE: My favorite dictionary to use is now online: Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Use it, and it will become your new best friend! 🙂 You’re welcome to open it up as well as lds.org and study into it. The words that I looked up will be in ALL CAPS.
So the first words that I looked up were CARNALLY and CARNAL. (I’ve found that sometimes looking a word up in different forms helps you to flesh out it’s meaning.) The definitions of these words talk about things that have to do with things of the flesh, things to GRATIFY the flesh, SENSUAL desire and pleasure; UNREGENERATE; CARNAL ordinances or commandments, etc. In several of the definitions there were scriptural references that I looked up as well and found quite helpful (Romans chapters 2-5, Hebrews 9-11, as well as various other verses).
As I looked up definitions and scriptural references I found a picture being painted in my mind. Being carnally-minded can be summed up in: 1) physical, tangible evidence that you can experience with your senses, 2) pleasure, 3) comfort. Now, remember, as the scripture says, “to be carnally-minded is death”. It also warns against “the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one”. Suddenly, these three things connected like dots in my mind and I could see “that cunning one” entices us by using evidence, pleasure and comfort… I don’t know about you, but I found this fascinating. Wow! What an eye opener.
Think about it. How often are we hindered because we have no tangible proof of something, no actual physical evidence that something is true? Also, how often do the hard things in life cause us to look for things to bring us pleasure and comfort–that is false comfort–comfort that will not last or solve our problems?
In the definition of CARNAL it references Hebrews 9:10–where it refers to the law of Moses as being “carnal ordinances”. Through the course of my learning I found this interesting because what was the law of Moses but a physical, tangible, symbolic evidence pointing to something which they had no “evidence” for–the coming of God himself, Christ himself, to the earth to atone for the sins of the world.
After reading the definitions shared thus far I found myself wondering, ‘well, if this is what carnally-minded means, what is the opposite?’ The scripture answers one: SPIRITUALLY-MINDED, which basically means that we live our lives according to 1) the guidance of the Holy Spirit and 2) according to law and principles 3) having our affections placed above SENSUAL object–affections placed upon God instead.
The second thing that came to mind was FAITH! I here found myself reading on in Hebrews chapters 10-11. Here it mentions how God himself, and several men throughout the scriptures did things “by faith”. I found myself wondering what that even meant. I know the commonly quoted Hebrews 11:1, but I still did not see how this translated to doing things exactly. So, I pulled up my handy dandy dictionary and looked up FAITH.
I cannot tell you how excited I was with what I found out. In the introductory definition, where it talks about the Latin, or Greek, or Hebrew roots etc. that the word comes from it mentions several things: trust, persuade, to bind or make fast, to believe, to obey. I found this really striking.
I have been reading the Old Testament with my children and I have been amazed as we have read about the children of Israel from the time that they left Egypt to their dwelling in the promised land. I have seen two main issues that God had with the Israelites–every time there’s an issue it is traced back to one of these two things. Unbelief (or a lack of FAITH), and idolarty. Basically, putting it in the terms we’re learning, not trusting and obeying God, but trusting in something or someone else, to save us or solve our problems.
Another thing that stood out to me about the definition of FAITH is that it is believing what someone says to be true, without having any evidence, other than their word. As I thought about this in my relationship with God I found it very striking. You’ve heard the term “leap of faith”? It makes me think of Aladdin when he offers his hand to Jasmine from the flying carpet saying, “Do you trust me?”
Well, beloved friends, God is saying the same thing to us. Do we trust him? Do we have faith in him enough to obey Him, even though we have nothing else to support what He’s telling us other that His word?
You know, I think sometimes it get’s tricky for us because from a realistic point of view, very often what God is asking us to do, to trust and obey Him on, is something that without Him is literally impossible. And that’s no understatement. The story of Gideon in the book of Judges is a good example–300 men against a host without number. Abraham and Sarah having a child in their old age–and not just a child, but posterity that would number as the “sand of the seashore and as the stars in multitude”. With God, nothing is impossible; without Him, everything. And how is God’s power made manifest in our lives? By faith–by trusting Him and obeying His words to us individually.
In Ether 12 from The Book of Mormon, he talks as well about how all things are done “by faith”. An excerpt from that chapter:
“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”
So, beloved friends, what is there in your life that is impossible for you to fix? I have a list of things in mine. Let us lean on the One, have faith in the One, who can restore us to perfect wholeness, who knows us and our circumstances better than we do. Let us lean on the “everlasting arm” of God, and not on the puny “arm of flesh”–whatever form that takes in our lives.
I invite you to enjoy this hymn Trust and Obey as you contemplate what we have learned today. I hope that it encourages you as it did me.
Until next time!
~Thoughts From A Mother’s Heart