Sunday, 22 January 2012

Submitting our will

Today I happened to teach a lesson in Young Women's that touched on a subject which has filled my thoughts these past few weeks. In this lesson I received the answer to my question about how far we are to go in submitting our will to the Lord's will. The answer in following the Saviour's example is clear: ALL THE WAY, NO HOLDS BARRED. Through this particular blog I wanted to share two extracts that have been fundamental to who I am. 

So this is the extract from the Young Women's lesson today that spoke to me. It is by Elder Marion G. Romney:

“During my early teens a small book or pamphlet titled ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ came into my hands. …The question posed epitomized the desire I had had from my Childhood.  Countless times as I have faced challenges and vexing decisions I have asked myself ‘What would Jesus do?’ … As I pondered [that] question [I turned] to the scriptures in search of the answer. There in the Gospel as recorded by St. John, I found the clear and certain answer:  Jesus would always do the will of his Father. This he himself repeatedly declared ‘… I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
“‘And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.’ … (John 7:15, 16, 18; 8:26, 28, 29; 10:30)..... Having learned that Jesus would always do the will of his Father, my next objective was to find out what Jesus would do to ascertain
the will of his Father. Searching the New Testament, I discovered that one thing he did was to thoroughly familiarize himself with what his Fatherhad declared his will to be, as recorded in the Old Testament. That he did this is evidenced by the fact that in his statements as recorded in the New Testament, Jesus quoted or cited scriptures from the Old Testament more than one hundred times.

“Finally, and most importantly, I learned that he communed constantly with his Father through prayer. This he did not only to learn the will of his Father but also to obtain the strength to do his Father’s will. He fasted and prayed. … It would seem that during his earthly ministry he never made a major decision or met a crisis without praying [see Matthew 4:2;Luke 4:2; 6:12,13; Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42, 44]. 

“Relying upon the foregoing and companion scriptures, I decided in my youth that for me the best approach to the solution of problems and the resolving of questions would be to proceed as Jesus proceeded: foster an earnest desire to do the Lord’s will; familiarize myself with what the Lord has revealed on the matters involved; pray with diligence and faith for an inspired understanding of his will and the courage to do it. …“The most satisfying solutions to problems and the best answers to questions that I have been able to make in my own life, I have arrived at as follows:

“1. From my youth I have searched the scriptures.
“2. I have tried to honestly face the challenge or question presented with asincere desire to solve it as Jesus would solve it.
“3. I have, through diligent study and prayer, sought to weigh alternatives in light of what I knew about gospel principles.
“4. I have made a decision in my own mind.
“5. I have then taken the matter to the Lord, told him the problem, told him that I wanted 
to do what was right in his view, and asked him to give me peace of mind if I have made 
the right decision” 
(“What Would Jesus Do?” New Era, Sept. 1972, pp. 4–6).

In addition to this talk, I have as my favourite talk one by Elder Neal A Maxwell called, 'Consecrate They Performance' (April 2002). While the talk as a whole is pretty incredible ( this is an extract from that talk:

"We tend to think of consecration only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God. Heart, soul, and mind were the encompassing words of Christ in describing the first commandment, which is constantly, not periodically, operative (see Matt. 22:37). If kept, then our performances will, in turn, be fully consecrated for the lasting welfare of our souls (see 2 Ne. 32:9).

Such totality involves the submissive converging of feelings, thoughts, words, and deeds, the very opposite of estrangement: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)."
 and again:

"In striving for ultimate submission, our wills constitute all we really have to give God anyway. The usual gifts and their derivatives we give to Him could be stamped justifiably “Return to Sender,” with a capital S .Even when God receives this one gift in return, the fully faithful will receive “all that [He] hath” (D&C 84:38). What an exchange rate!.....

Breathtaking submissiveness was achieved by the Savior as He faced the anguish and agonies of the Atonement and “would that [He] might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18). On our small, imperfect scale, we face tests and wish that these would somehow be taken away.

Consider this: What of Jesus’ ministry if He had performed additional miracles but without the transcending miracle of Gethsemane and Calvary? His other miracles brought blessed extensions of life and lessened suffering—for some. But how could these miracles possibly compare with the greatest miracle of the universal Resurrection? (see 1 Cor. 15:22). The multiplying of the loaves and fishes fed a hungry multitude. Even so, recipients were soon hungry again, while those who partake of the Bread of Life will never hunger again (see John 6:51, 58).

In pondering and pursuing consecration, understandably we tremble inwardly at what may be required. Yet the Lord has said consolingly, “My grace is sufficient for you” (D&C 17:8). Do we really believe Him? He has also promised to make weak things strong (see Ether 12:27). Are we really willing to submit to that process? Yet if we desire fulness, we cannot hold back part!

Having our wills increasingly swallowed up by the will of the Father actually means an enhanced individuality, stretched and more capable of receiving “all that [God] hath” (D&C 84:38). Besides, how could we be entrusted with His “all” until our wills are much more like His? Nor could His “all” be fully appreciated by the partially committed."

I re-state in terms as clearly as I can that I seek to submit all that I have and all that I am to the will of the Lord, that I am prepared to go where He sends me, do what He asks of me and be what He wants me to be. I can't pretend that I am perfect at this but it is my goal and my heartfelt desire. My hope is that the Lord will give me the strength to do this even in the face of times when it is difficult and I don't feel up to the challenge.