I have always felt that living the gospel is not easy and definitely requires a lot of action on our part. We can’t just go to church every week, listening to what is being said there and think that’s all we have to do. Heavenly Father expects a lot from us and He wants to see us put His words into action.
My favorite verses in James 1 are 5 and 6: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” God is there for us and all we have to do is ask Him in faith and be sincere. He will give us the directions we are asking for and will lead us where we need to go. The best example of receiving directions is through our patriarchal blessing. What a wonderful way to know what the Lord wants us to do and what has to be done so we can return to Him.
Faith is definitely a big part of Heavenly Father’s plan. I love how it is said in verse 6 that we have to ask in faith but shouldn’t waver. Our faith needs to be strong and we have to be willing to listen no matter what the Lord is going to tell us. He can only give us directions if we are willing to truly listen and trust in Him no matter what. Are we willing to put forth such a faith and doubt not? Are we willing to not only accept personal revelation as the word of God but also listen to His prophet and apostles who speak for Him?
We are asked to follow the Savior and we can only do that 100%. I have heard so many people say that the gospel is not a buffet in which we can choose the things we like best and ignore what we don’t like. Matthew 6:24 makes it very clear that we need to make a decision whom we want to follow. I think we can see it so well in today’s time, how people want to do both, but they just can’t. It’s either the world or God. It’s either Satan or God, there is no in between. Gray isn’t the color we can choose. It is either black or white.
To be fully committed to the Lord we need to realize that temptation is not coming from Heavenly Father. Things that lead us away from the truth are not from God. He will let us be tempted by Satan to test our faith, but He will not try to lead us towards sin. That is not coming from Him. The natural man is lazy and wants an easy way out. Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ means we have to put the natural man aside and work hard.
I think there are many people around us who are willing to put forth the effort and live the gospel even if it inconvenient and uncomfortable at times. They are willing to step up and stand for what they believe in even if that means losing friends. You can see more and more who are willing to stand with our leaders and follow their counsel and those who are more “Sunday” disciples and know the doctrine but don’t really live it and so they get offended when it is pointed out to them. It reminds me of the scripture in Nephi that talks about how his brethren found the truth he spoke harsh and that’s how it is, those who do something wrong, try to justify it by trying to pull everyone else down with them and people pointing that out, are threats because they make them feel bad and guilty. Our prophet Thomas S. Monson and all the brethren of the quorum of the twelve apostles as well as other general authorities are truly living what they preach. I also have seen many around me being willing to stand with the brethren and not go with the world.
“And it might well be added that every investigator of revealed truth stands, at some time in the course of his search, in the place where Joseph Smith stood. He must turn to the Almighty and gain wisdom from God by revelation if he is to gain a place on that strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.” (Bruce R. McConkie) There will come a time in life when we have to find out for ourselves. We need to gain a testimony ourselves and ask God directly if the gospel is true. Nobody can do that for us and nobody can tell us it is true and we automatically know for sure. Again the gospel is a word of action and we must put forth action to gain a testimony and take steps to get the answer we are looking for. Isn’t it amazing that Heavenly Father gave us the tools of prayer and the Holy Ghost so we can receive those answers from Him? God does His part and will bless us, but we need to do our part too so we are worthy of the blessings He will give us.