I know what you’re thinking. There’s a scripture you have memorized in the book of Moses that answers this age-old question:
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
This, from the mouth of the Almighty, is absolutely true. However, this is only part of the purpose—His part.
What is our part? What is our purpose?
At BYU recently, the section outlining the do’s and don’ts of homosexual behavior was removed from the Honor Code. Chaos ensued and many who identify with this group interpreted their absence as one big greenlight for same-sex dating. Others were confused, and many more, outraged at social media posts revealing same-sex PDA in front of Brother Brigham. *face palm*
It reminded me of the Israelites who had more than 600 commandments to follow. SIX HUNDRED! Let’s look at the list of merely the first TEN of what they were commanded to do:
- Know there is a God
- Not entertain thoughts of other gods besides Him
- Know that He is one
- Love Him
- Fear Him
- Sanctify His name
- Not profane His name
- Not destroy objects associated with His name
- Listen to the prophet speaking in His Name.
- Not test the prophet unduly
If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that’s a whole lot of sin-micromanaging. And doesn’t it all fall under “Love God?” Why did they need it so specifically stated?
The Israelites were unable to live the law of the Gospel—so a law of carnal commandments, or the law of Moses, was given as a schoolmaster to ready them for a higher law.
Learn by doing, right? Check all these boxes, and one day living a holy life would become “delicious” unto them and they would desire to live according to what God has said would bring them the greatest joy.
In reality, many of the Israelites “despised the word of the Lord” and ended up wandering in the wilderness until dead, not worthy of the Promised Land.
What does this mean for each of us, and our purpose here on Earth?
Fact is, like the Israelites of old,
God wants us to learn to LOVE His commandments and be willing to humbly keep them at all costs. THAT is our purpose in life. That is how we begin to fulfill the measure of our creation!
In Section 88, the Lord tells us that after this life, we will “Enjoy that which [we] are WILLING to receive.”
“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?”
In our mortal probation, what we love and enjoy NOW is a good indicator of which master we are serving:
“For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light.”
And those who “[Seek] to become a law unto [themselves],” and as a result, are willing to “Abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.”
Those who are prideful and unwilling to submit to God’s Eternal laws in this world and the next will be damned, or, halted in their progression.
These last verses are some of my favorites:
“For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.”
I really understood these verses when I read them in Spanish on my mission. The word, “abide,” is translated as “soportar” in Spanish. I hadn’t realized that “abide,” in English had additional meaning beyond that which we understand from the hymn, “Abide with me.”
In Spanish, when you use the word, “soportar,” it is a verb that means you can’t STAND something. When you can’t stand someone you would say, “No te soporto!” (Of course, as a child of God, you should refrain from such exclamations. But that’s for another post.)
The lesson here is for those who have not accepted and utilized the atonement, kept their covenants, and understood the doctrines and laws of God, will not be able to STAND the Celestial glory.
The same is true in this life. The more we are willing to obey, the more the Lord qualifies us for more light and truth. “For unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”
Even now, what we are willing to receive is reflected in our actions and who we are.
In the BYU Honor Code conundrum, we saw two types of people:
The Slothful Servant: The people who ignore the doctrine and can’t wait to get permission to sin.
Slothful Servant: “This is awesome! Now, as long as we don’t “violate the law of chastity” by having sex, we can date anyone of the same gender we want! Out in the open! I’ve been waiting for the day when God listened to what I want. Thanks, BYU!”
The Faithful Servant: The people who know the doctrine and want to obey no matter what.
Faithful Servant: “So, the Honor Code says that we still need to keep the Law of Chastity. That is God’s law, and according to the Proclamation to the Family, it means marriage is between a man and a woman and the spirit of the law indicates that same-sex dating is wrong. I think I remember a gazillion talks about that, and scriptures on this topic so I won’t be basing my testimony on Honor Code changes.”
So, again, what is the purpose of life? To prove to ourselves and to our God that we are willing to do and be all He asks. To demonstrate we are willing to become who he knows we can become. And show we are willing to stay on the covenant path to receive all He has promised to His faithful children.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.'” – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Let us be Faithful Servants and not be as slothful servants that look for ways to justify their desires to sin, or, like the Israelites, look to be commanded in all things.
Let us not be as those who seek the acceptance and praise of the world, rather than the humble reassurances from God.
Let us love the commandments and love our Heavenly Father as did Elder Robert D. Hales:
“How I love the commandments of the Lord! They guide and protect us and allow us to return back into the presence of our Heavenly Father. If we faithfully obey the commandments, we are promised the blessings of eternal life. Eternal life, ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7), is to be exalted and to live with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ in all the eternities to come. He dearly wants us to return to Him.”
Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.”
When each of us look into our Father’s eyes, will we be filled with regret or filled with hope? Will we regret being deceived and filled with pride? Or will we be as Jacob and Moroni and long for that “pleasing bar of God” because we humbly endured to the end?
- “To Draw Closer to God” -Elder Henry B. Eyring, April 1991
- “Abide in My Love” -Elder D. Todd Christofferson, October 2016
- “Obedience, Consecration, and Sacrifice” -Elder Bruce R. McConkie, April 1975
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