Monday, August 8, 2011
Our Purpose. Our Focus.
Life's greatest questions have always been, "Who am I?", "Why am I here?", "Where did I come from?" And "Where am I going?". As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that I know the answers to these questions. And that knowledge is what makes ALL the difference. The reason that these answers are so important is because their understanding holds the key to making the correct decisions in every situation we will find ourselves in during the course of our lives. Satan recognizes this and as such, we can see that he has made countless attempts throughout history to blind people to this knowledge throughout the years. He knows that if he can rob us of the understanding of these things, he can drag us down and claim dominion over our souls.
Before we discuss why this knowledge is important, let me first explain what I believe to be the answers to these questions. I believe that each of us is a child of God. We all once lived in God's presence. We were created by Him and we are His literal offspring. He desires for each of us to be happy, and in order for us to achieve a fullness of joy and knowledge, we needed an opportunity to leave the presence of our Heavenly Father and experience sorrow and pain, and pass through trials. That is who we are. That is why we are. We lived with God before, and we will return to live with Him again when this life is through. (Of course, this explanation is very simplified, yet it is sufficient for the task at hand. Note that where we came from and where we are going are ultimately explained by who we are and why we are here, therefore the explanation of such will be forgone as it would ultimately be repetition of material.)
So again, the premise of my writings is that the understanding of such things is vital to our triumph over evil in our lives. To illustrate my point, let's examine the ultimate example of righteous living, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Father, Himself.
Firstly, "Who am I?" Why is the answer to this question so important? When Christ was thrice tempted of the devil, each temptation was an attempt by Satan to cause the Savior to doubt the answers to such questions. The devil uses the language "If thou be the Son of God", attempting to implant in the mind of Jesus that perhaps he wasn't truly the Son of God, as he most assuredly was, and that He should prove to himself and to the devil that such was true. Christ, knowing of course who He was, yielded not to such attacks and stood his ground against all the powers of the devil. Here we see the importance of the knowledge of who we are, else why would Satan have tried so desperately to plant such seeds of doubt? If we doubt, even for a second, who we are, and we are children of the Most High God, then we will undoubtedly fall to the temptations of the devil, who seeks "that all men should be miserable like unto himself".
Second, "Why am I here?" This can be most beautifully illustrated by our Savior's suffering in the garden of Gethsemane. While Christ was in the garden, making atonement for the sins of the world, He cried out in agony asking for His Father to lift his burdens. Beneath a pain that none of us can ever understand, our Savior cried out for relief. Surely He had the freedom to choose whether to continue on in such an agonizing task, or to be free of the burden and leave us to our respective lots. Yet in recognition of His purpose in coming to earth, He chose to do the will of the Father, and he bore our sins. When the final debts had been paid, while suffering on the cross, when all of the necessary tasks that had been given to Him by the father were completed, Christ uttered in triumph, "It is finished" and gave up the ghost. Christ remembered always His purpose in life, and as such was able to endure all the necessary trials that needed to be endured for His purpose to be fulfilled.
Christ set the ultimate example of righteousness. He showed us how to live, and he showed us what to do to live as He did. In our own lives, each of us will have temptations, just as the Savior did. And likewise, each of us will have seeds of doubt sewn in us that will attempt to make us forget who we are and why we are here. We are children of God. We are vessels of divinity. We have a mission to fulfill. Christ came to suffer for the sins of the world. We are here to help each other to come unto Him and receive the blessings of His sacrifice. If we always remember who we are and why we are here, we, like our savior Jesus Christ, will be able to stand firm in the faith and triumph in glory until the end.