As much as we would like to be able to do what we want in this life, our lives are not without obligations. We do not come to mortality by chance. We were sent here with a purpose, and that purpose requires us to be answerable for how we behave while here. One of the major lessons to be learned in this life is to trust the Lord, even though we cannot see him. And one of our most important obligations is to stay true to the mission that sent us here.
Trust and belief are not forced upon us, but are chosen by us. We either choose to accept a piece of information or we choose to reject it. That choice is completely within our control. We can choose to believe a lying child, for whatever reason, or we can choose to reject the truth being told by that same child. We who have children have probably done both in our day.
The point is that who we believe and trust, and what we believe and trust is completely up to us. There are, of course, factors that influence us to lean one way or another, but the end result is still the same, it is a personal choice. We are always free to accept Satan’s lies or accept God’s truth. Which of these two people we accept or reject is what will determine the basis for our judgment.
Initially we accept most people at their word, placing faith in what was said then looking for confirmation to see if we trusted and believed correctly or if we are betrayed by what was said. This is why the Lord reserves his miracles for the faithful. The faithful have chosen to put their trust and belief in His words, and have lived accordingly. The miracles are the rewards given to the faithful to confirm their faith. Those who look for the confirmation before being willing to believe will never be able to exercise faith in God, for they have refused to believe willingly. Instead, they required payment for their belief in the form of performances on God’s part. He does not work that way.
One of the most important lessons we can learn in this life is that choosing to trust in God and his promises brings us happiness. In a 2010 Conference address entitled “Trust in God, Then Go and Do,” President Henry B. Eyring said that God “… knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness.” He said in two other quotes,
That lack of trust has brought sorrow to Heavenly Father’s children from before the world was created.
Those who lost the blessing of coming into mortality lacked sufficient trust in God to avoid eternal misery.
We can take comfort in the knowledge that we had at least enough trust in our Father, and His plan for our happiness, to make it to earth life. Now is not the time to change course and start listening to Satan’s lies that will only bring us the same sorrow and misery he lives with all the time. Now is the time to stay close to everything and anything that comes from our Father in Heaven so we are able to pass through mortality safely, and experience as much happiness as possible while here.
In Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14, the Lord gives us a roadmap for how to return to Him safely. Verse 12 tells us how to identify His Spirit.
And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
The Lord’s Spirit will never lead us into contention, betrayal of another, anger, or anything negative. His Spirit is here to teach us to “do justly, to walk humbly, and to judge righteously.”
What follows in verse 13 is a promise for those who listen to His Spirit.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
Our choice to believe and live by God’s words brings into our lives, through covenants we make, His Spirit which fills our lives with joy and enlightens our minds with knowledge, both physical and spiritual in nature.
In verse 14 he describes the end result of believing and making covenants with him, and having His Spirit active in our lives.
And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
Even after he has filled our lives with joy and knowledge, and has promised that we can learn “all things … pertaining unto things of righteousness,” even then, we can only receive these blessings if we exercise faith in Him by choosing to believe that He will give it to us.
This is where so many of us struggle. We have chosen to believe in the most basic of promises, have made covenants in the waters of baptism and even in the temple, but then we find it difficult to muster the belief that He will give us knowledge of “all things … pertaining unto things of righteousness.” Is that because we don’t yet believe we are worthy? What will it take for the Lord to prove to each of us that He will be true to His word?
The Lord has been true to his word to us in all things. What is holding us back from putting full trust in His promises? Perhaps because Satan, and others, are constantly working on us to convince us we are not yet good enough or that the Lord intends such promises for more noble people than little old me. Whatever the reason, many of us are living far below our privileges because of our own lack of trust in the Lord’s promises.
What does it mean to be true? We say that the Church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. But what does it mean for me to be true? President Hinckley, in his April 1996 Conference talk “Stand True and Faithful” defined being true in these two quotes:
Being true to ourselves means being honest.
To be true to ourselves means being an example of righteous living in all situations and circumstances.
To be true means that we are consistent in what we have chosen to believe and in how we have chosen to live our lives. We have chosen to believe in the commandments of God, and have made covenants to that effect. We then live those commandments consistently. The Lord, in return blesses our lives with tender mercies, quiet miracles, and abundant evidences that what we have chosen to believe, and how we have chosen to act, really do produce the happiness and knowledge He promised He would give us in exchange for our belief and faith.
To further quote President Eyring’s talk, he said:
You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.
This is a powerful cycle of righteousness that leads to happiness in this life, and eternal happiness in the world to come. Allow me to break it down some more. The way we show our trust in God is to always listen to his Word, whether it comes from the scriptures or over the pulpit from one of His servants, with the intent to both learn and then to repent or change our lives so we can go and do God’s will. By now we should understand that living the way God lives is the only way to find true happiness, so we should be anxious to learn more about how to live like God more perfectly.
When President Eyring says we are to “listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer,” he is directing us to cast a wider net than many of us currently fish with. So many times we are looking only for a pronouncement of “Thus saith the Lord.” But God’s counsel comes in many forms and from many sources. We need to be on the lookout for anything that comes from His Apostles and the scriptures, songs, and programs of the Church that will lead to blessings in our lives. If we are living close to the Spirit, he will direct us as to which things will be most beneficial to us, personally. But we need to be looking for it.
Finally, President Eyring promises us that if we will go and do whatever we are directed to do by the Spirit or by the Lord’s servants, our “power to trust Him will grow.” This means our initial ability to believe in God’s promises to us can be made stronger and stronger, until we come to have a perfect ability to believe in His promises to us. These are the steps – believe in what you can, live according to what you believe, look for the confirmations from God of what you chose to believe, then gratefully believe more. This cycle will bring joy into your life that cannot be had in any other way.
This is what it means to trust the Lord and stay true to that trust. This is how we learn to live a life of happiness and joy. This is how we come to understand God and His ways. He lives these same laws. He has given them to us because he wants us to be like him. The challenge is to consistently repent, which translates into putting in a course correction, so we can draw nearer and nearer to the life of joy the Lord has in store for those who choose Him.
Trust in God, Then Go and Do
HENRY B. EYRING
First Counselor in the First Presidency
Stand True and Faithful
GORDON B. HINCKLEY
President of the Church
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