Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Phillipians 1-4: Finding Solutions in the Scriptures to Life's Challenges

1. Be like-minded (Phill 2:2)

As ward members we are counseled to "be like minded", love one another, be of "one accord" and "of one mind". (Phill. 2: 2) Naturally with all the different personalities in a ward family, there will be different opinions. However, we never accomplish anything through strife--vigorous or bitter conflict or antagonism. Another definition given is competition or rivalry. ( We are to esteem--regard with respect or admiration ( other better than ourselves. This doesn't mean that we degrade ourselves, but we work to respect one another's ideas and thoughts and find a common ground. Even the Savior, who was a God, "took upon himself the form of a servant", and humbled himself, and "became obedient unto death". (Phill. 2: 7-8) Sometimes we dig in and refuse to consider another person's point of view. I find it interesting that the phrase for this is "choosing that hill to die on". We aren't asked to die, just to work well with others and not be critical, "without murmurings and disputings". (Phill 2: 14)

2. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phill 3:12)

I wonder if perhaps Paul was concerned that some of the Saints were depending a bit too much on Paul's testimony, and hadn't found their own faith. He seems appreciative of the fact that they have been obedient whether or not he is present. ( Phill 2: 12) He is now urging them to work out their own salvation. He teaches them that it is the Spirit that is working in them--"God which worketh in you". (2:13) We must "demonstrate by activity, by thoughtful, obedient effort the reality of faith." (David O McKay in CR, Apr. 1957, p. 7) If we rely on someone else, regardless of how strong that person is, we will eventually be let down. We must "seek the strength of God for inspiration, to obtain the final victory." (McKay, CR, 1957, p.7)

3. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: (Phill 3:8)

I can't even the imagine the turmoil in the heart of a convert facing the loss of family should he choose to be baptized. However, my mother experienced this to some extent. When she married my father and joined the Church, her father never would allow my father into his home. I was only nine when my grandfather died, but I remember that we would go with my mother and stay at Grandpa's house. We lived a good eight hour drive from them. So, Dad would drop us off and get a hotel room in Spokane. I think he must have called once a day or so, I have a memory of speaking to him on the phone, but I wasn't particularly aware of why he wasn't with us. Mother worked very hard to re-establish and maintain a relationship with her father. Her mother wasn't angry about it, but she was never open to any gospel discussion, even after my grandfather passed away. Mother had children by a former marriage. They were also angry. I observed Mother working to keep a connection with her children. When she passed away, I found journal entries containing lists of inspirational thoughts and quotes that she had sent to each of her children. I heard her pray for their hearts to be softened, and she was constantly putting their names on the temple prayer roll.

Mother also served four missions with my father. I know that she continued to "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phill 3:14) And I know that she had hope of her parents' and children's hearts someday being softened, trusting in the Savior's grace, after all that she could do. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phill 4:13)

4. The words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

I know that I quite often try to figure out a solution to a troubling situation by using my own limited resources. I pray for guidance and then I trudge along. 2 Nephi 32:3 reminds us that we should "feast upon the words of Christ;" I sometimes compartmentalize the feasting--reading for the sake of reading, finding the doctrine, preparing a lesson, etc-- and I don't read the scriptures to find answers to everyday problems and concerns. "for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (italics added) I guess I need to remember that ALL means ALL!

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