Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Doctrine and Covenants 101:36-38 -- On Perspective

"Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life."
Doctrine and Covenants 101:36-38

Eternal perspective is challenging.  We're here on this earth without a memory of who we were before this life.  We are surrounded by the corruptible and the short-term.  Nothing seems to last, and there are a lot of things that make life in the moment seem good... instant payoffs in terms of relaxation or enjoyment rather than stress or work.  Of course, just to accomplish normal earthly things we have to think a little bit longer term.  To save money, to maintain employment, or to get a degree, we have to look past the now and see the longer-term possibilities.  We have to choose the job over sleep or television or reading.  To maintain relationships we have to choose the good of the relationship over our own short-term happiness sometimes.  Choose to take out the trash or wash the dishes rather than television.  Choose to work through a problem rather than ignoring it at letting it fester.  Choose compromise rather than what we want in the moment.  We have to think further ahead than the emotion of the moment in order to have what we want long-term.
With God, we can learn to think even further.  In the verses above God tells us that our joy can't be full in the world, but that through him, it can be.  And even though it is hard for us to process as mortal beings that we shouldn't be afraid of death, I think we can grasp the fact that our souls are much more important.  Because it is hard to see beyond death, God encourages us to seek his face always.  He is the one that can teach us to see longer term, and to be patient in our temporary trials.  Beyond this life is eternal life.  That doesn't mean we should risk our lives unnecessarily or desire death... but it does mean that we should value the things that will matter for eternity over the things that only matter now.  Just like working for a degree that will help us in the future, we should work for our salvation and the salvation of those around us.  Today, let's seek God, and be patient with temporary things.  Let's seek eternal things: knowledge, friendships, and always God.

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