Becoming as little children: lessons from my children
My husband and I have started waking up together at 6am so that we could get a good 30-45 minutes of study in before our kids wake up. This specific Sunday morning we were both feeling excited but stressed as we were in the middle […]
Scriptural Meaning of Divine Identity
3 Nephi 20:25 And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
I am “the children of the prophets” and “of the house of Israel.” These both identify me and bind me to divine mission and purpose on this earth. The tribe of Ephraim is called to missionary work. I cannot don a badge and ride a bike today as I was able to do 20 years ago but I am still called to missionary work. What am I doing to fulfill that divine mission and purpose? Raising up future missionaries is certainly a strong part of my mission at this time and supporting the missionaries I have out. But personally can I do more to serve as a witness of God at all times, including this time, and in all places, including this place?
As the “the children of the prophets,” I am blessed with light and truth every six months. What am I doing to implement and take advantage of that great blessing in my life? What am I doing to change and grow from the semiannual call to repent? How am I remembering always what is said and what I was inspired to do?
As the covenant seed of Abraham what I am doing to progress on my covenant path back to my heavenly home, and what am I doing to help my flock progress on their covenant path?
2 Nephi 25:26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
Witnessing of Jesus Christ is a divine mission and purpose forever and ever. The importance of bringing others to Christ never changes and is something I can hang onto in each season of life. The way I implement this call to do everything for Christ will change. No longer do I sing lullabies and rock babies to “I am a child of God.” But now I am called to write emails of testimony each P-day for my son on a mission. Now I am called to text my high school and junior high children favorite scriptures and powerful experiences I have had. Now I am getting more time to sit at the feet of my Savior as Mary did, as my life stops being so “careful and troubled.”
Bearing my personal testimony and witness of my Savior Jesus Christ, is something solid and powerful I can do. Mentor meetings with each child weekly are one way to impart this important eternal knowledge, “that [my] children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
This reminds me of this quote from our living prophet today: “When firmly planted, our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do” (Thomas S. Monson, “Keep the Commandments”).
3 Nephi 15:12 Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, my Savior, and therefore a disciple. I am a light unto the people around me, and as Elder Neil L. Anderson said, “Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible” (Oct 2015). It is my job to shine as much as possible to help as many people as possible. Not to be “a light unto myself” but to lead others to the Savior only.
3 Nephi 27:27 …Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.
That is certainly enough identity and purpose for a whole lifetime. Becoming more Christ-like is purpose and divine identity that follows me no matter the season of life. Seeking and praying for the divine gifts and strength to overcome the natural woman, who is an enemy to God, is a never-ending challenge that requires all I can give to it. Embracing growth and progress toward my eternal destination as each new stage unfolds will bless me to find myself “on the right hand of God,” where I long to be. This reminds me of a great quote, “Oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God”).
When was the last time you were hungry? I mean really hungry, where the pain of an empty stomach made you buckle, or the audible growl of your insides echoed to remind you of your lack of food. Sometimes it happens for a good cause, other times it is due to our negligence and forgetfulness to plan ahead for our basic need of nourishment. This happens with our physical insides yet also occurs in our soul. What if your heart could cry out or your spiritual insides ached just as loud? Would you or could you hear it? Spiritual self-awareness takes work and planning just as our bodily nourishment, yet may I say it is needed and craved so much more!
The challenges of regular life, as well as the weight and mantle of extra responsibilities, require a deep emotional strength, which in turn create Souls that can do much good and feel great joy in life. In order for us to not just survive but thrive in this mortal adventure, we need to be wise, self-aware, seek it and be connected to a source of true reliable soul-filling nourishment. God is that source. Our Heavenly Father is the One with a loving and merciful Plan of Happiness, a Plan of Salvation, that contains all the pieces for peace and eternal growth. This mortal journey is a great step along the way, yet our ultimate goal is eternal increase, and soul-stretching opportunities help us acquire the strength and growth to merit such blessings.
In the scriptures we read of various people, their journeys, hardships, solutions to mortal problems and conflict. We read of how some sought God, others did not, and in the success stories we read of how they daily needed nourishment provided by the Lord. They went forth every day to gather Manna.
There are many important points to scripture stories, some worth diving in deep to understand and apply in our lives. Here are a few ideas worth considering recommitment about spiritual manna. Manna which literally means in Hebrew “what is it?” also has reference to being “grain from heaven” or “bread of angels” and the “good of truth.” (Psalm 78:24-25) If we seek it and daily gather our own manna (truth, spiritual bread) the promise is sure to deepen our conversion and strength.
The faithful people in the scriptures who gathered manna did the work and did it daily. These children of Israel, an entire generation of forty years survived on manna, and knew from Whom their source of nourishment came. (Exodus 16, additional resources below) Gathering manna took effort, it was work, and each person had to do it. The food was not dropped in their hands but each man, woman and child had to go out and gather it for themselves. The physical and spiritual nourishment was needed on a regular basis, every day. It was a daily reoccurring need, a repetitive process of nourishment. Just like we daily eat food, bathe, clean house, reconnect with loved ones, and tidy from the regular routines of life, we also need the spiritual side of renewal. We have healthy habits that must be constant and consistent in our lives in order to survive the physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual battles of mortality.
Seeking spiritual manna is a habit we ought to prioritize more often. Sometimes with the flurry of family life, work demands, community and church service, self improvement, etc., the spiritual self-survival and soul-maintenance gets set aside for seemingly urgent issues that yell louder than our own soul’s needs. Yet as our stress or worldly worries increase, so must our spiritual time increase if we want to survive and thrive in this amazing mortal journey. That is the miracle of the Atonement. Through God’s Grace, we are enabled to do great things, endure hard things, and excel at doing our part in life.
In Jesus’ sermon on the bread of life we are reminded to work for that which lasts longer or for that which “endureth” (John 6:27). Elder Dallin H. Oaks reminds us: “The Savior taught that He was the Bread of Life, the source of eternal nourishment. Speaking of the mortal nourishment the world offered, including the manna Jehovah had sent to feed the children of Israel in the wilderness, Jesus taught that those who relied on this bread were now dead (John 4:49). In contrast the nourishment He offered was the ‘living bread’ which came down from heaven’ and, Jesus taught ‘if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever.’ (John 5:51)” (Teachings of Jesus, October 2011)
Gathering daily spiritual manna for me is creating spiritual time every day. Immersing in holy words which will turn my heart Heavenward. It could look different for each person – more time in the scriptures, reading pages of holy writ or words of prophets, electronically exploring on our devices or listening to the scriptures, wise words of leaders or sacred music and hymns as we get ready for the day or drive or do our routines of life. It is better to immerse ourselves in the scriptures and holy words in any form, than to miss that precious daily time to ponder on our Savior Jesus Christ. And if you’re taking the time, double it, or find an increase and see what miracles occur in your life in acquiring peace, answers, solutions and connection to God.
We are all invited to “Come to Jesus” to do the work, daily and deeply. Let us seek the spiritual manna that will nourish our souls and help us connect to Christ forever.
[Additional reading in the Bible about Manna: Exodus 16:31-35 (4-36); Joshua 5:12; Nehemiah 9:15, 20; Psalm 78:24-25; Deuteronomy 8:3, 16; Joshua 5; Matthew 4:4; John 6:31-35, 6:48-51, 58; Numbers 11:6-9; Hebrews 9:4; 1 Corinthians 10:3; Revelation 2:17. In the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 17:28; Mosiah 7:19.]