Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Alma 41:5 -- On Getting What We Want

"The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh."
Alma 41:5

A lot of people think about life as a scorecard or a report card, and whatever score or grade we get in this life determines where we go afterward.  If we get an A+ and do lots of extra credit, we might make heaven, but if we get a C or an F, eternity is going to be a lot less fun.  Now, I really can't speak to the fun, but the whole scorecard idea is pretty much disproven by this verse and many others like it.
The idea of "getting what we want" makes us all drool a little, I think.  Wow, really?  A mansion, and a puzzle, and all the nectarines I can eat, and... yeah, you know the drill.  We start dreaming.  And maybe our dreams go too far; I don't know.  But truly, in this verse, God *is* telling us that we get what we want, after this life, and probably also an awful lot during this life.  The whole idea of restoration is basically offering us just that.  What we truly want.  That is different than the idle dreaming, because in dreams we don't usually think of the bad things that we want.  So, we also have to remember that getting what we want isn't always a positive.  In fact, if we want something bad enough, we'll get that too, and we can really wreck our lives with things like that.  Drugs, pornography, and other sins and addictions can trap us into patterns and habits that might as well be chains, because once we're hooked, we don't want to reach outside and do other things or learn other things or be anything more than we are.  They trap us in selfishness and we prize our addictions and sins more than we care about other people and their needs.
Sometimes we think that we can participate in a lot of bad things, but what we really want are good things, and it will all work out... but that doesn't really work out either.  If good things were what we *really* wanted, that is where our focus would be, and we wouldn't be participating in the bad things.  Today, let's remember that God gives us what we want.  We don't want the hard times, but often that is a way for us to get other things we want... experience, resilience, knowledge, patience, compassion, etc.  Let's really think about what we want, and talk to God about it.  Let's work on wanting happiness and goodness for ourselves and for others, and let's do better at avoiding evil and harming or offending others.  We don't really want *those* things, right? :)

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