Thursday, January 29, 2015

As you sow, so shall you reap

Reading the Book of Mormon doesn't come easy to me. I've always struggled to understand the stories and the doctrine that come from the scriptures. For the past month, I can't seem to get enough of my scripture study. If someone asks me what I do in my free time, I laugh because studying my scriptures IS my free time. I'm studying while I'm drinking my hot chocolate in the morning. I'm studying when I go home to eat lunch, and I'm studying up until the late hours of the night. I can't seem to put all my amazing gospel books and scriptures down to save my life. I have a tendency of leaving these books around the house because they are in my hands at all times. 

I wanted to share some insight into why I believe that has changed for me personally.

The church just barely came out with a new bible video, if you haven't seen it, you should! The church does such a good job at putting these videos together, they are very well done. This one is called 'The Parable of the Sower'. 

When they ask The Savior "Why speakest though unto them in parables?" (Matthew 13:10) he replies... 

    . . .Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  (Matthew 13:11,12) 
The JST for verse 12 says: “For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance;   But whosoever continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."  (Matthew 13:10,11, JST)  

Christ then goes on, saying...
 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias concerning them, which saith, By hearing, ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see and shall not perceive.  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them."  (Matthew 13:12,13,14, JST) 

Christ had been addressing “great multitudes” (Matthew 13:2) and generalizing about the Jewish people, many who were unbelieving.  Perhaps some of their attitudes were like the attitude of Amulek who testified, “I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart, . .” (Alma 10:6). 

For the one who were faithful, however, the lessons in these parables were understood in a completely different light. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. And blessed are you because these things are come unto you, that you might understand them.”  (Matthew 13:15, JST)  Our ability to “see”,  “hear”, and learn the teachings of the parables is directly correlated to how much we desire to see, hear, and understand. 

People seeing the exact same event, reading the exact same words, and hearing the exact same words can often see, see, hear, and learn differently. This is the reason you can open your scriptures and learn something new every time you do so. You will never run out of lessons to learn depending on what you're going through in life. Depending on where we are, what we are doing, and the lesson He is trying to teach us is what determines what we get out of the words we read. Our hearts can't be touched if they are in the wrong state (such as hard-hearted and cold vs. humble). 

So for me personally, I always had the desire to understand the words of the scriptures, but a lot has changed in my life as of late. I have never sought so hard to seek out the words of Christ. I have never put everything I had into scripture studying like I do lately. My eyes were always there, but they are now constantly open as I'm reading, always searching for more. I'm understanding things differently because I'm approaching the studying differently.

Questions for pondering:

How much do you desire to understand His teachings?
What are you willing to sacrifice until you do understand?
What are you willing to give up for the Lord to be able to speak clearer to your heart?

I'm not perfect at this by any means, but day by day I am learning and growing because this desire is in me and I'm reaping what I sow. (D and C 6:33)

This morning I had an interesting experience, I usually read my scriptures before I leave for the day. I woke up meh, there is no other word for it. My heart wasn't as humble as it could of been and I yearned for that feeling so I started studying a few principles, and nothing. I got on my knees and prayed for understanding as to why I was feeling motionless and I was putting in the effort and I still wasn't receiving anything. Then I got up and started reading some more. NOTHING! I then got on my knees again, pleading to feel the spirit so I wouldn't feel like this all day long. I started reading about a different principle and slowly but steadily light came, reading that principle led me to ask differently questions in my prayers than I initially was just a few minutes prior.

Now, I don't think what I was studying was what made the difference. Sometimes Heavenly Father will make you aware of the lessons He is trying to teach you and the principles and doctrine you need to focus on, but usually He doesn't care what you are studying as long as you are studying. What I learned from this experience, however, is sometimes Heavenly Father wants to see just how much you care to feel of His spirit. How far are you willing to walk to understand His teachings? How hard are you willing to work to nourish the seeds that have been planted within you? It took 3 prayers and an hour of reading, studying, and pleading before He was willing to show me the light. 

When light and understanding doesn't come easy, stay faithful and just keep going! The harder you work, the greater your reward!

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