Wednesday, October 5, 2011

God's Ways Vs. Our Ways

God's ways are not our ways. Many of the things that God teaches seem to go against human nature. Here are a few examples:

Forgive others.
Human nature often prickles at the thought of letting someone "get away" with an offense. Our first reaction is often to desire revenge. But God teaches us to forgive those who have hurt or used us. It's not for their benefit, but for ours. Holding onto that pain or anger gives that other person a power over us and harms our spirit.

Lose your life in service to others.
In our day and age, it's hard to think that we can still pay bills, take care of our families, and have a little time to our self if we spend some of our time doing things for others. We think we really "lose" ourselves. But when we take the time to serve others, we suddenly find that there is more to our life than what we had previously recognized. We might have thought our life was full before, but in serving others we find that it takes on new and fulfilling dimensions. It puts things in perspective and helps us realize that only when we are "lost" in service can we ever truly "find" our self.

Love the Lord thy God, and love thy neighbor as thyself.
Is any human immune to the desire to put themselves above others? I don't think I've ever met any. It's in our nature to love ourselves and to not be as concerned about others. In fact, in our society there seems to be a definite trend to focus on "me, me, me" all the time. Take time to figure out who you are, leave a marriage if it isn't worthwhile to you, don't bother having children because they'll take time away from what you want, push and shove your way over others to get what you want... the list can go on and on. But we miss out on life's most important and fulfilling blessings when we focus on our self. When we put God and others first, we find our proper position in this great universe.

The wealth of this world is nothing. (Build your treasure in heaven.)
It's human to want to have nice things in this life, to want comfort, ease, security, and fun. We work and worry and go after the things that appeal to our carnal nature. It's easy to want to wear nice clothes, live in a beautiful house, drive a nice car, and be able to go out and do the fun things we enjoy. But God has taught us that all of this mortal "stuff" is just that- stuff. We can't take it with us. All that will matter in the end is what kind of person we became. The riches of heaven, while not readily apparent in the here and now, are of eternal value.

Keep the Sabbath Day holy. Rest on the Sabbath.
In our ultra busy way of life, it seems counter-intuitive to "waste" an entire day doing nothing but attending church, worshipping God, and serving others. Human nature says that working seven days a week should guarantee a bigger paycheck and more productivity. Too bad that's not the way it works in God's society. If we have the faith to set aside His sabbath day, to let our bodies and minds rest, to let others around us rest, and to spend time drawing closer to God, He will bless us physically, spiritually, and economically. No, I don't have hard numbers to prove this, but I know from my own experience that I have prospered and been more productive as I've followed this commandment.

Freely give to others.
If we give things away, we'll have less for ourselves. We might even become destitute! Aaaah!
Thankfully, this isn't true of Christ's teaching. Somehow, God's law in this universe makes sure that as we share what we have, we will have enough for our needs. And often, we get what we give. If we are generous and give freely, we will find that good comes back to us multiplied. When we receive anything it is from God. And when God sees that we then pass it on, He blesses us with even more because He knows that we will use it to benefit others. I think it's part of His system that another's need is supplied through what we have been blessed with. In this way, everyone can have enough and to spare.

Act on faith.
If we give in to our natural self, we'll want to see some proof that what we are going to do is going to work. We want instant (or at least measurable) results. We don't want to take steps into the dark unless we've got a flashlight in our hand. But God tells us to take those first few steps and grab His hand. He requires us to move forward, not knowing where the final destination is. We have to learn to trust in His perfect knowledge of where we should be going, even when it seems like He's sent us on a circuitous route through the most desolate lands.

Pay tithing.
The human mind says that if you give away 10% of your income, you're going to be poorer. But God's way goes against this. He somehow makes the rest of your money go farther, and often blesses you with a greater abundance. It may take sacrifice to give the initial 10% but when we look at everything we've been given, isn't 10% a really small amount to give back?

Be meek and humble.
The worldy view is that a person needs to be tough, strong, and sometimes ruthless to be powerful. Rarely is it pointed out the the gentle, quiet strength of a person can be more powerful and wield more influence than any amount of yelling, boasting, and intimidating. Picture an employer who patiently explains things to you and provides you with a good example, versus a boss who threatens your job and belittles you... which one will have the greater positive influence? Christ was the ultimate example of strength and power through meekness and humility.

Most of God's commandments are interconnected. They are all meant to bring us to a higher level than we would naturally reach on our own. He helps us overcome our human nature to become better people, and to be more like Him. It makes sense, since he's our Father... and what is more satisfying to a parent than when a child wants to be just like them? And who wouldn't want to be like our perfect Father??

1 comment:

Karen said...

I love your posts. They're so thought provoking! You really should send some into the Ensign so that more people like me could enjoy them!