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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

EQ Lesson 4/27: Let's not take the wrong way

This week our Elder’s Quorum lesson covers Elder Claudio D. Zivic’s talk, “Let’s not take the wrong way.” I’ve split this talk into 5 sections, and will talk about each section individually.

Be Anxiously Engaged
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (D&C 58:27)

Elder Zivic opens up with a story about a child playing piano. It’s almost too bad he never comes back to this story, but he gives us something for which to think about before moving on to the next section.

Elder Zivic talks about a young boy who was taking piano lessons at this parent’s request. For some time, he ran from his lessons, and didn’t want to play piano. Then one day, he started participating. He started giving it his all. He had begun to love playing piano, and then he ran with it, practicing far more than was required of him. There are so many ways to apply this, and I am sure that we all have examples of this very same thing happening in our own lives. Since this is Elder’s Quorum I would like to focus on church/spiritual things.

Throughout our lives we all have to gain, and reaffirm our own testimonies. When we gain our own testimony a change comes over us. Our duties become more enriching, and we want to learn more about it. We want to “be anxiously engaged.” This is great! We need to be anxiously engaged, and learning about the Gospel every chance we get. However, this comes with a warning!

Tread carefully
“And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.”(1 Ne 12:17)"

When we are anxiously engaged in the Gospel we have to be careful about what we study, learn, and the conclusions we come to. Yes, we can, and should have autonomy in our studies, but as in Elder Zivic’s story we need to be aware of the signs on the path. The signs aren’t always what we expect, we have to know what to look for. The trail to Delicate Arch from Elder Zivic’s story are a series of Cairns that hikers have placed to tell others they are taking the correct path. These cairns are small piles of rocks. They are obvious markers, but if somebody, like Elder Zivic doesn’t know to look for them, they will just wonder why somebody would make such a curious little rock tower. It is up to individual hikers to educate themselves about the cairns, and then to follow them.

Just as hikers on their way to Delicate Arch have cairns, we have signs to lead us. As with the cairns it is up to us to educate ourselves about the signs, and subsequently follow them. So, what are the spiritual cairns we should be following? Let’s start with Paul’s words: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)Joseph Smith also described the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as “pure intelligence.” (JS Quotes) Oliver Cowdery learned that the Spirit may “burn” in your bosom (but only after we’ve done our part in learning, and asked for confirmation in faith.) (D&C 9:8) Another spiritual cairn we should use is whether we are following in the footsteps of the prophets, and apostles. Are we following these spiritual markers as we learn, or are we wandering off into strange paths? If so, we had better find the path back as soon as possible.

When we are following the cairns set aside for us we find that we have spiritual nourishment along the way. We are fed, we are hydrated, and we are never lost. When we follow strange paths there is no guarantee. We may feel nourished at first, but the longer we go the hungrier we get, the less fulfilling our meals, and the more parched our spirits become. As Elder Zivic points out, Christ is the vine through which we get our nourishment, so it only makes sense that the closer we stay to him, the more nourished we are. This isn’t to say that we can’t study subjects not covered in the scriptures, or even controversial subjects, we just need to be careful that we don’t let those studies lead us from the truth, and nourishment Christ provides us.

Find your way back
If you aren’t on the right path, find your way back. Seek the help of your bishop, other members, and start praying for the Spirit’s guidance. When you’re on your way back you’ll start seeing those spiritual markers again. The Lord is merciful, and will lead you home; you just have to do the work.

Our time is now
We don’t know how much time we have on this Earth. You could keel over in the middle of this paragraph (please don’t), or you could live another 50 years. You don’t know when your time is up, so now is the time for you to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, follow the path of righteousness, find your way back, and be nourished by the good word of God. If you haven’t made that decision yet, then I encourage you to make that decision now. If you don’t know the “right way,” then ask you Father in Heaven, and he will show it to you.

Read/Listen to Elder Zivic’s talk “Let’s not take the wrong way.”
Evaluate the path you are on. What spiritual cairns can you look to for guidance?
Lift your head up and enjoy your weekend