As I said last week, using my blog for homework for my religion class is a great way to think about the things I read and learn. It always helps me when I write down my thoughts and also answer questions to really understand the material.
In Philippians 2:1-8 and 14-15 it talks about how we as members should be and what will help us to become better members and disciples of the Savior. It’s true we do complain about petty matters with regards to the gospel. We sometimes even argue about gospel doctrine or try to change something we think should be doctrine and yet it isn’t. I also think that we as members tend to be too pushy sometimes and try to pressure others to do things in a certain way. (And I am not talking about our prophets and apostles because they receive directions from the Lord and need to address it over and over again if we still don’t get it.) 😉 I am talking about pushing someone in a way that is too much for that person and too fast. We have to remember that we all progress at a different speed and so putting too much pressure on someone who might take his or her time to move forward is definitely not the right approach. We need to do it the right way, be understanding, like-minded, loving, don’t envy each other, let each other progress their own way, and try to be like Christ. He was all these things and did not try to force anyone to do what is right. He preached about it in a kind and loving way, but He wanted us to have agency and choose for ourselves.
Philippians 2:12-15 talks about how we need to work out our own salvation and how important it is that we gain our own testimonies. We just can’t rely on someone else’s testimony forever because we will get to a point when we just have to know or believe for ourselves. Borrowing the light from someone else won’t be enough. I love what David O. McKay says in the commentary for the above scripture: “To work out one’s salvation is not to sit idly by dreaming and yearning for God miraculously to thrust bounteous blessings into our laps. It is to perform daily, hourly, momentarily, if necessary, the immediate task or duty at hand, and to continue happily in such performance as the years come and go, leaving the fruits of such labors either for self or for others to be bestowed as a just and beneficent Father may determine.” Gaining a testimony and working on our salvation is action. We have to do something. Even when we do have a strong testimony we need to work on it every single day so it will not get weakened. If our own testimony is strong we can fight back Satan, however, if we rely on someone else’s testimony it is very easy for Satan to tempt us and lead us astray.
Philippians 3:7-16 and 4:13 brings up an important point and that is that we fully have to trust our Savior and that no matter what He will be by our side and He will strengthen us. Joining the church, especially against family wishes, is hard and requires a lot of faith when those we love and care about turn away from us. I have seen that happen to people. I have seen young people trying it for a while but in the end they gave up due to all the pressure they received from their loved ones. I think turning against your family is the hardest thing you can do, but I also know it is right to do when the Savior is on your side. He will protect us and loves us unconditionally. It is not easy, but possible as long as we have trust and faith.
What a great way to learn more about Paul and his teachings. This assignment is a wonderful example of the principle taught in 2. Nephi 32:3. We need to hold on to the gospel and learn all the things we can. If we listen to the words of Christ (which include the words of ancient prophets and apostles as well as those who live today) and obey the word of the Lord, we will be blessed and we will be guided through this life and always know what we have to do. Heavenly Father gave us the tool of the Holy Ghost and through that we can receive confirmation of the truth as well as receiving personal revelation and guidance. Christ is the only way and I am grateful that I can learn of Him every time I listen to our prophet and apostles as well as reading the scriptures. If I want to have a strong testimony, I need to rely on Him and only Him because He will lead me through life to salvation.