Are We Striving for Exaltation?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple,understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

This series of posts has been a lot of fun for me to go through. It’s been great to focus on the Relief Society declaration and all that it means to me in my life. I’m a little sad to see it coming to an end. The last question of this series is are we striving for exaltation? It goes right along with the previous posts and is a perfect final thought for this series.

What is exaltation? Every person will receive the blessings of immortality that comes with the resurrection, because the Savior has fulfilled the requirements for that and it doesn’t matter what we do. However, there are additional blessings to be received after this life, and they come from the choices we make in this life. Exaltation is what happens when God raises us to a level or glory above where we can reach for ourselves. In Matthew 25:34 we read, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”. Exaltation is receiving our inheritance of the kingdom of God, which has been prepared for us. It is there that we have a fullness of joy. In Psalms 16:11 we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Exaltation is the reward which allows us to live in the presence of God and at His right hand. It is often described in the scriptures as receiving the crown prepared for us. In 2 Timothy 4:8 it says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. . .”. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 59:2 it says, “For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them.” Exaltation is the ultimate reward of the rest that the Savior has promised to us in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Exaltation is the companionship of the Godhead as we live in their glory forever more.

With this understanding of what exaltation is, what are we doing to strive for it? Striving for something, is not simply allowing it to come to us, but making a great effort to obtain it. To strive for exaltation, we must be actively working to do what the scriptures teach us we need to do in order to obtain it.

I think that first, we need to believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. When we come to know Christ, we come to know God. We cannot hope to achieve our potential if we do not understand what that potential is by having faith in Jesus the Christ. In John 17:3, the Savior teaches us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Once we come to have a belief and faith in Christ, we need to live as He did and follow His perfect example. In that example, the Savior showed us that we need to be baptized in His name. In 3 Nephi 11:33 we read the words of the Savior to those on the American continent. He said, “And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

One of the things I found in my study of this, is the reward of salvation from honoring the priesthood of God. This makes perfect sense to me, but probably wouldn’t have come to my mind immediately as a way to strive for exaltation. In Doctrine and Covenants 84 we read the following:

35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

To receive the priesthood, means to allow the power of God to act in our lives. It means to honor it by honoring the men who hold it, by following our modern prophets and apostles, by living according to the covenants we make through it, by allowing the atonement to be a part of our everyday lives, and more. Part of honoring the priesthood, is making sacred covenants with God and taking upon us the ordinances that must be performed with the priesthood authority given to us by God. One mentioned above, was baptism. Others include receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our temple covenants in the endowments and sealings. In Doctrine and Covenants 132, great rewards of exaltation are promised to those who enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, or the new and everlasting covenant.

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

Continually striving to honor the Lord by living according to the priesthood power he has allowed us to have or by making and keeping these sacred covenants with him, will push us towards that reward of exaltation. It will give us the opportunity to be as God and have forever families and rule in glory with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.

There are two things that we need to do, which are often found hand in hand: keep the commandments and endure to the end. In Doctrine and Covenants 25:15 we read, “Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.” I love that it has the word continually in there. We cannot just keep the commandment once and receive that great reward. Rather, we must continually return to Christ through repentance and strive each day to do our best to keep the commandments, for the remainder of our days. That is endurance. Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 says, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” We need to endure through the everyday temptations of Satan as we are instructed in James 1:12 which reads, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” When we endure these temptations, we choose which side we would rather be on. Through our endurance, we can overcome evil and love that which is good. In Revelation 3:21 it says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

This continual path of striving to keep the commandments and endure, will not be easy. In fact, it will probably be harder than any other path we could choose to take in this life. There are many more trials in life, then just those that Satan puts before us. Yet, even with these difficulties, we learn and grow so much more from trials than if we did not have them. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:4 we read, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.” These promised blessings are for the faithful, who are truly striving each day to do what is right. Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 teaches us, “And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.” Again in section 81, verse 6 of the Doctrine and Covenants we learn, “And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father.”

Our efforts in striving for exaltation, really come down to the little decisions of every day. The gospel in this is simple. We either choose to do the things that God has asked us to do, or we choose to follow the path that Satan has made easily accessible to all of us. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we learn this gospel truth. “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Then again we are reminded of the consequences of our choices in 2 Nephi 9:39 which reads, “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.” Our eternal reward is dependent upon the thoughts, words and deeds which we choose to have while here in mortality.

Faith is a Sunrise

I hope and have great faith in the promises of exaltation. I cannot imagine anything better then being allowed to live in the presence of God and have my own eternal family. I know that in order to receive this, I have to believe in God and Jesus Christ, honor all that is truly sacred which is all connected to the amazing power of the priesthood, keep the covenants which I have made with God, keep the laws and commandments that He has given to us, and endure to the end of my days. I know that I cannot allow things to act upon me, but that I must choose these things for myself and be striving for the blessings of exaltation each and every day. I know that I am not expected to be perfect right at this moment, but that if I am willing to make my best effort and rely upon the Lord and the atonement in repenting and returning to the Lord always, that the blessings will come. It is after I put forth the effort to live righteously each day, that my Savior will take me from the imperfect state that I will be in, and raise me to that state of glory and reward that I will deserve. We, as disciples of the Lord, can receive exaltation through our Savior, Jesus Christ, if we will do our best to strive for it each day.

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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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