Monday, May 15, 2017

D&C 88:28-32 -- On Being Willing to Receive Heaven

"They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.
Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:28-32

This is talking about the resurrection, and I find it fascinating that it is all about willingness, and that apparently, before the resurrection, we are quickened by a portion of that spirit.  So, it seems to be that it isn't about a checklist of being good or an average of our good works against our bad works or any of the other ways that we are graded in this life.  It is about who we are willing to be.

I definitely am not trying to depress anyone here.  I have times where I wonder if I really want what God wants, because his will seems hard, and I am sorta lazy.  I think that this can happen to all of us.  We can examine our feelings and our hearts and realize, you know... I just don't want to do that.  Home teaching, visiting teaching, missionary work, genealogy, tithing, our callings, going to church, or even at the most basic level--resisting temptation or being nice.  Love instead of hate--whatever it is, we don't always feel it.  I don't think that means we are lost though.  I think it just means we have more to learn.

When we were young, we didn't always want to learn things.  Tying your shoes is hard, and learning to read, memorizing the times tables, and doing the dishes and the laundry.  Some things are pretty awful: playing the piano, being reverent and polite, showing respect, learning to ride/drive a bike, a car, or a unicycle, and worst of all... being *responsible.*  Ugh, right?  And yet, we didn't only learn things we liked.  Often, we learned things that we didn't want to learn, and sometimes we learned to enjoy things that we started out hating.

It's the same now.  We aren't going to insta-hell because we don't want to go to church today.  Instead, we look at the big picture, we go anyway, we realize that we like it when we go, or we feel the spirit, and it is a good idea anyway.  We learn to think through our whininess, and learn how to like the things that we don't like--how to love what God loves.  Some say it is impossible, but I know from personal experience that it is not.  We get to be whatever we choose to be.  No external force can dictate that (except God probably, but he *would* never do that).

That's how God can make our weaknesses into strengths.  That is how God can change our hearts... because we *want* to be different than we are, and we ask for it, and he helps us change who we are.  It reminds me of the question that Lamoni's father, the kind of the Lamanites asked: "What shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day?" (Alma 22:15).  The answer then was, and the answer now is, repent and ask God, and he will grant us hope and help.

Today, let's be willing to receive all that God has to give us, and let's work on the attitude part as well.  We're little kids, and we don't always want to grow up, but as we do, we are capable of so much more, and we increase our capacity for love and joy.  Let's get to the point where we can have a portion of Heaven within us.  Let's ask for God's help with growing into who we can be rather than fighting so hard to remain as we are.

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