Saturday, June 28, 2014

Helaman 3:33-35 -- On the Strength of Humility

"And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—
And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God."
Helaman 3:33-35

These are some interesting verses from Nephite history, less than 100 years before Christ came.  I like in the first verse how it makes it very clear that the church wasn't having a problem... the people were having a problem.  And in the second verse we see clearly that the problems of probably a small part of the people had an effect on a large part of the people.  The humble people were being persecuted because of the bad examples of the prideful people.
And the answer to that?  They did fast and pray often.  I love that, truly.  God's way is so simple sometimes that I think we overlook it.  We feel overwhelmed with big problems and we search around for big solutions... but we don't need a miracle or a lightning bolt from the sky.  We need to pray... and fast, and work on our humility.  It's awesome how it says they became stronger and stronger in humility. :)  It almost seems like an oxymoron.  I'm TOUGH at being MEEK... but it makes sense in the end, like everything God inspires.  It takes strength to be humble.  Strength to endure the persecution and not retaliate.  Strength to know ways to get ahead of other people and to work at being equal instead.  Strength to encounter tribulation and anxiety and to hold tight to our inner core of peace.  ... And, here, we learn that as we build our strength in humility, and become firmer in our faith, that it leads to our souls being filled with joy, and consolation.   It leads to purification, sanctification... being utterly and completely clean and pure, because we've learned to yield our hearts to God.
Today, let's take this example to heart.  Let's let go of our pride, and make sure that we are not part of the problem, persecuting others.  Let's not lash out or retaliate or demand or get defensive.  When we feel persecuted, instead of any of those things, let's pray.  Let's fast.  Let's have faith in God to sort out things that we have no control over.  Let's get to a place where we can partake of that joy and consolation rather than letting external things affect our emotional, mental, and even spiritual health.  Let's throw our strength into humility and learn calmness and peace.

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