Sunday, September 4, 2016

D&C 29:34-35 -- On Spiritual Self-Actualization

"Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual."
Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35

I read this today after a lesson on temporal self-reliance, and I was thinking of that, and of tithing, and the Word of Wisdom, and not stealing or murdering... there are a lot of commandments I think which seem temporal, or affect temporal things.  Then I started thinking of the New Testament where people asked Christ if he was going to pay tribute / taxes.  He did, but it was nothing to him... just an afterthought, not something important at all.

I think that is the key to all of this.  The temporal part is always the footnote, but the headline is always spiritual.  We sometimes think that the temporal is the most important, and that is usually because it is right in front of us... like Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs.  We have to have food and shelter before we can start worrying about self-actualization, but self-actualization is a higher, more important goal.  God's principle is similar.  Temporal is never the point.  All of these things are temporary, but they are here to teach us spiritual lessons... spiritual self-actualization if you will.  Achieving the goals and learning the lessons that God has set for us, and fulfilling that potential that he has given us: Becoming our best selves, and helping others to do the same.

Fasting seems temporal to us, but the whole purpose behind it is spiritual... to teach ourselves, in fact, to prioritize the spiritual over the temporal, and not let anything interfere or distract from that primary goal.  Same with Word of Wisdom, self-reliance, and all the rest.  The ultimate goal of any commandment is to teach us a spiritual lesson, to help us learn to *be* something, not just to *do* something.  And as we get those footnote temporal things out of the way, we can focus on the headline, which is God.  As we put him first, everything else falls into place.  If we keep those first commandments, to love God and love others, then we'll know what to do with the smaller details as we go.

Today, as we recharge and get ready for a week full of footnotes, let's remember the true headlines.  Let's choose to prioritize people over problems.  Let's make sure that God comes first as we're dealing with the necessities of life.  Yes, we absolutely need food, shelter, clothing, and all the rest, but let's not imagine that those things are the purpose of our lives.  Let's stay focused on what truly matters.

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