attitude
Week 39 is scheduled for study Sept. 21-27, 2020. The title focuses on Christ as the “law and the light.” My focus this week is on the attitudes our law giver teaches us are necessary to receive his light.

Day 1

3 Nephi 12-14 – The Savior’s teachings show me how to be a true disciple.

There are many principles to find in 3 Nephi 12-16. Some are highlighted in this outline, but you may find others. Let Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, teach you what you need right now.

The assignment for today’s lesson is to go through the verses in these chapters and try to identify the attitudes of a true disciple. The example the manual gives comes from 3 Nephi 14:1–5. It says, “True disciples of Jesus Christ are not judgmental.” I sat and struggled with this statement for a few minutes trying to figure out why I was bothered by it. I finally decided I feel more comfortable using a positive statement, rather than a negative statement. I would write this down as, “True disciples of Jesus Christ are forgiving, tolerant, compassionate, and accepting of others’ weaknesses.” I find this much more instructive (for me) than just a condemnation of being judgmental. I guess looking at each of the verses we choose to evaluate should be examined from both sides to get a clearer picture of what we are supposed to be like or not be like.

Homework:

Evaluate the following sets of verses and see what principle(s) of discipleship each are teaching. Be sure to write down your answers. Writing it down will make you do more thinking than just a cursory glance and quick decision. Writing your answer will force you to commit to a position you can live with.

3 Nephi 12:13 – Here is a short article on salt you might find informative:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1999/04/i-have-a-question/what-does-it-mean-to-be-the-salt-of-the-earth?lang=eng

3 Nephi 12:14–16 – Do you think this reference to being a light has anything to do with the previous verse about salt? If so, what do you see as the relationship between the two topics?

3 Nephi 12:23–24 – What do you think it means to reconcile our self with our brother? How does this reconciliation affect our discipleship?

3 Nephi 12:33–37 – What does it mean to our discipleship to be a person of “Yea, yea; Nay, nay?” What character traits are required in order to be this kind of person?

3 Nephi 12:44–45 – How does loving our enemies make us a child of our Father in Heaven?

3 Nephi 13:3 – What personal traits are needed in order to fulfill this commandment?

3 Nephi 13:19–21 – What are our treasures? What difference does it make which things we choose to have as our treasures? Why must a true disciple have their treasures focused on heaven?

The verses above are only a few of the verses that might have been chosen. If something else catches your eye as you read your scriptures, forget this list and follow the Spirit, and study the verses He leads you to think about.

Day 2

3 Nephi 12:1–2; 15:23-24; 16:1-6 – Blessed are those who believe without seeing.

There are many principles to find in 3 Nephi 12-16. Some are highlighted in this outline, but you may find others. Let Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, teach you what you need right now.

I find it interesting that, as humans, we have a penchant for wanting whatever it is we don’t have. I have no idea why that is, but it is a universal condition of the whole human family. As you read in the Book of Mormon, there are at least two prophets who mourn because their days on earth were not someone else’s days on earth. Somehow, to them, someone else’s experience was better than their own seemed to be. Both of them expressed their desire to have been born in a different day and time, but then immediately corrected themselves and acknowledged that they would have to make due with the days that were allotted to them by God.

This same principle is true of many of us in the latter days. Oh that we could have been born in the days that the Savior walked the earth. Oh to have seen him and his miracles with our own eyes. We drool over the privilege that was theirs to enjoy. Then we read the statements from Joseph Smith about how all the prophets of old dreamed of our day and longed to be here. I guess there’s just no pleasing us. Sigh.

The manual points out an important point about the Savior’s comment about believing in him. The number of people who actually got to see Christ and listen to his sermons are infinitesimally small. It was so easy for them to believe in him when he was standing in front of them and performing miracles for them. But most of us must exercise great faith to believe, since we have no visual proof to rely on. I think this is why the Savior says that those who believe, without seeing, will be blessed even more greatly than those who see then believe. For we must choose to believe in something we have no hope of seeing right now in order to exercise faith unto repentance. This is why we are “more blessed” than they.

And this is why we need to be understanding and compassionate when we teach others about the gospel. Remember, they haven’t seen what we have seen. They haven’t experienced the things of the Spirit we have. Understanding, patience, and love are the only way we can win them over. They need to find the strength to choose to believe what they cannot see, just like we did.

Day 3

3 Nephi 1221-30; 13:1-8, 16-18; 14:21-23 – Righteous acts are not enough; my heart must also be pure.

There are many principles to find in 3 Nephi 12-16. Some are highlighted in this outline, but you may find others. Let Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, teach you what you need right now.

Go to this article to read today’s lesson.

Day 4

3 Nephi 14:7–11 – If I seek “good things” from Heavenly Father, I will receive.

There are many principles to find in 3 Nephi 12-16. Some are highlighted in this outline, but you may find others. Let Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, teach you what you need right now.

I find this title for today’s lesson a fascinating choice. It is as though we have to be taught explicitly that God loves us and wants us to be happy. The most cruel prank ever played on me was pulled by my brother. I was in a very vulnerable position at the time, and he used examples of things that had happened recently to twist the events into demonstrations that my mother didn’t love me. Such a concept was so new to me that I was shocked to my core. Even being able to conceptualize such a thing as my mother not loving me made it possible for me to feel all the emotions associated with being rejected by the person I loved the most. I was devastated. My heart was broken. We got past his attempt at humor, and I was assured once again my mother did actually love me. But what the experience left behind was the niggling doubt in the back of my mind that there would always be a possibility that she could withdraw her love, an idea I had never even considered before.

My point in sharing this story with you is that there are events and people in our life that would lead us to believe that God does not love us, that He doesn’t care about our situation or our feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. God’s goodness is the single greatest defining characteristic of his personality. All good comes from Him. Goodness is actually defined by the laws He uses to rule the universe. Without God there is no goodness, no love, no compassion, or kindness.

God’s purpose is to bring about our immortality and our eternal life. That is, our exaltation as gods. That is why we have a plan of salvation, a mortal world, and our time in it. All of this is part of His efforts to exalt us and help us achieve godhood ourselves. This is what we are putting our faith in every day. We must come to trust His intentions for us completely, so that no amount of “evidence” or lies by others can convince us that God does not love us or that He is unfair to us in any way. What appears to be an imbalance in this life will always be balanced to our benefit in the next life. We need to remember that this life is temporary and very restrictive.

We will never see the whole picture of our possibilities and God’s plans for us while we are still in mortality. His greatest blessings for us will be revealed to those who learn to exercise faith in Him in the next phase of our life, in the eternities. God lives as an eternal being. We are also eternal beings, but are currently in a mortal phase, like a caterpillar in its cocoon. Our true glory and the blessings we seek won’t be available to us until we emerge in the day of our resurrection. This is why we put our faith in God. This is why we believe that He wants us to have good things.

FHE/Scripture Study

3 Nephi 13:19–21 – It’s all about your treasure.

What do the scriptures mean when they refer to our treasure? We are told that where our treasure is there is our heart also, that we need to lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth, etc. What does it all mean?

A treasure to me is what I place great value in. If I live to accumulate wealth or possessions, like vehicles, cabins, vacations, travel time, etc., then these things are my treasures. If the focus of my life is on finding ease and comforts, like manicures, movies, nice clothing, etc. then that is where my heart lies. These things become my reason for living. My heart, meaning my focus and devotion is placed on obtaining and maintaining my treasures. My treasures are what are most important to me in my life. Here is a quote I made into a meme a number of years ago.

Think about the number of people you hear “preach” that you need to seek wealth and success in this life. If you spend much time with social media you probably have seen this doctrine taught extensively by those who want you to focus on how strong and healthy your body should be or by those who want you to follow them so you can make a lot of money and be financially successful. These people are following what President Benson describes in the first part of the sentence – “Pride is characterized by What do I want out of life?”

When the scriptures teach us to seek for the kingdom of God first, that is before we seek for wealth or success in this life, they are promoting the second part of President Benson’s quote – “What would God have me do with my life?” Where is your treasure, your focus? In other words, which is more important to you, the rest of eternity and the condition of your soul forever more, or how much money or toys you can accumulate while you are here in mortality? Remember, upon leaving mortality you also leave everything you have accumulated behind.

All we take from this life when we enter eternity is who we have become. Everything else is left behind. When we seek for treasures in heaven that means we are trying to become better than we are today. We are trying to become worthy of the blessings of exaltation. This is the treasure God, our Father, wants us to want more than anything else.

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BoM Week 39

(3 Nephi 12-16)