All I am and Hope to Be, I Owe to Jesus Christ

This week in Sunday School we are studying the books of Phillipians, Colossians, and Philemon. In Phillipian, I believe that Paul is writing while in bondage in Rome. He says the following:

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

He explains here that all the awful things that have happened to him, at the hands of others, have actually worked towards the spreading of the gospel of Christ. This is because Paul was called and able to share his testimony with the common person as well as with the leaders of the government. His situation did not sway him from doing what he was called to do, but rather it helped him to be bold in his speaking truth to everyone.

He speaks of all those around him, who spoke and acted as if they did things in the name of Christ, but they were not doing things as Christ would do them. He speaks of the things that he had done before his conversion, which he supposed were the right things to do, but which were not. He teaches that it is better to do as Christ would do. It is better to go through any trials and tribulations, and do that which is right so that we may be prepared to meet God. In Philippians 4:8 we read, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I recently wrote on this scripture when studying the Articles of Faith. If we hope to apply this to our lives, then we need to be actively thinking and seeking for things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. We cannot stand idly by and let the world act upon us. We cannot allow the apathy of the world to take hold of our hearts. We need to constantly strive to find things of eternal value; things that truly uplift our hearts, minds, and souls. We can find these things in the scriptures, by going to church, by listening to the leaders of the church, and by loving and sharing our time and energy with those we love. When we follow Paul’s admonition, we will be blessed with even greater love, understanding, hope, peace, and guidance of the Spirit.

In Philippians 4:13, Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I believe these words can be applied to our lives as well. Christ will help us to all things, if we are willing to turn our hearts to Him. If we are sincere in our prayers, he will answer them and help us to do all things. I know that the Lord wants to bless us and I know that he gives us blessings when we ask for them.

In Colossians 1 Paul writes the following:

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven . . .

We will be able to stand holy, unblameable, and unrepoveable in the sight of God, if we “continue in faith grounded and settled”. This means that if we are able to stand firm and unmovable in our faith, we will be found worthy to be with God again. Our faith in Jesus Christ, can get us through anything. To me firm and unmovable in our faith, means that we do not give in at the slightest temptation or trial. It means we push forward in the gospel. It means that even when life is attacking us on all sides, we stand strong because we know that God is there and that He will bless us for our righteousness. It means that even when those who are near to us, may tell us we should not listen to the counsel of the prophets, or that we need to change with the times, we can feel strong in being a peculiar people. We can do what we know is right, even when the world tells us we shouldn’t do it. I think a lot of what causes people to move away from the hope of the gospel, is the influences they allow to come into their lives. When we begin to rely on the wisdom of mankind and of the world, we will see all the counterfeit as what is truth. Entertainment can influence our ways of thinking even without us realizing it. Advertisers know that if we see something enough times, we will have a desire to try it. Entertainers know they can draw us in by tempting our appetites and desires. The worldly view focuses our attention on the immediate and on purely what we can see now. The attention we should have is that on the eternal perspective, meaning on what we will become and the blessings we can have eternally. The way to avoid the influence of the world, is to put an emphasis on strengthening our own testimonies. We do this by reading the scriptures, saying our prayers, going to the temple, attending church, finding ways to serve others, and so on.

Faith is a Sunrise

One of the ways that we keep the influence of the world from moving us away from the hope of the gospel is by being continually grateful to God for all that he gives us. In Colossians 2 we read the following:

6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

We will be rooted and established firm in our faith if we are abounding in thanksgiving. We need to recognize the Lord’s hand in all that we do. If we begin to take pride in ourselves for all of our accomplishments or relying on the ‘wisdom’ and knowledge of men, instead of seeing that we are what we are because of the blessings God has given us, we will fall away. A constant remembrance to be thankful to the Lord, will bring a peace and joy to the heart. We show our gratitude to the Lord in different ways. One is to remember to express it in our daily communication with God. In Colossians 4:2 we read, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. Verbally expressing our gratitude is important and we will be blessed for it. I think, however, that a greater way to show gratitude to the Lord, is to express it in our deeds. When we are grateful for something, use that thing for good so that it will bless the lives of others. When we want to show God that we are grateful for the scriptures, then we study them and live the teachings in them. When we want to thank God for our families, then we show our family the love of Christ through our actions and words of love and kindness. We show the Savior that we are grateful for His sacrifice by turning to Him, bringing His light to others, and by using the atonement in our own lives.

I know that we have all that we have because of Jesus Christ. I know that I am who I am today, because of Jesus Christ. I believe that we owe all gratitude and service to Jesus Christ. He is the rock of our salvation, the key to our ability to return to live with God again someday, the way that we can be forever families, and the only one who has sacrificed everything for us.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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