The Significance of Divine Law
I did not feel that the writing of The Law of the Yield would be complete unless I also provided some of the references from scripture and other inspired teachings that enlightened my understanding. As I shared in the Introduction of my book, when I was a young father and new business owner seeking for answers about how to provide for my family and how to succeed at greater levels, I knew that if anyone could give me guidance, it was God. Over time, He gratefully did in fact guide me to these answers and blessed me with much much more. It is my hope that the references in this supplement will also add value to your life.
When we follow Divine Law, or God’s laws, we can move through life with even more surety. Divine Law is given to us by a generous and loving eternal Father who desires that we follow His laws and allow them to guide us through our lives. And, when we follow His laws, we know that His promised blessings will be given. We cannot create our own path and expect His promised blessings but we can expect them if we follow His path.
In three separate addresses, President Russel M. Nelson from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints talked about Divine Law and its significance. He said: “Because of Jesus Christ’s infinite Atonement, our Heavenly Father’s plan is a perfect plan! An understanding of God’s fabulous plan takes the mystery out of life and the uncertainty out of our future.” 1
He also said: “Many now claim that truth is relative and that there is no such thing as divine law or a divine plan. Such a claim is simply not true. Truth is based upon the laws God has established for the dependability, protection, and nurturing of His children. Eternal laws operate in and affect each of our lives.
Because the Father and the Son love us with infinite, perfect love and because They know we cannot see everything They see, They have given us laws that will guide and protect us. There is a strong connection between God’s love and His laws.”
He then shared this example:
“I came to see the power of divine law during my career as a medical doctor and scientific researcher.
After graduating from medical school, I pursued advanced education in surgery. At that time there was no such thing as heart surgery. Then I teamed up with other researchers in the daunting task of making an artificial heart and lung machine. We knew that such an apparatus could possibly maintain the body’s circulation while repairs might be made on the heart. But during that early era, there was much we did not know.
Then one day, two truths articulated in the Doctrine and Covenants spoke to my inquiring mind. These truths were, first, that all blessings are predicated upon obedience to law and, second, that to every kingdom there is a law given.
Well, I reasoned that if every kingdom had a law, there must be laws that govern the beating heart. I was determined to discover those laws and obey them. By doing so, blessings would come and lives could be saved.
In medical school I had been taught that if one touched the beating heart, it would stop beating. However, one of the first laws we discovered in the lab was that we could touch the heart of an animal without losing its heartbeat. This finding opened the door later to uncovering another law that made more complex open-heart operations possible.
We learned that if we added potassium chloride to blood flowing into the coronary arteries, thereby altering the normal sodium/potassium ratio, the heart would stop beating instantly. Then, when we nourished the heart with blood that had a normal sodium/potassium ratio, the heart would spring back to its normal beating pattern. Literally we could turn the heart off long enough to repair it and then turn it back on again.
Decades later, when I explained this to a group of medical students, one prominent professor asked, “But what if it doesn’t work?” My answer? It always works, because it is based on divine law.”
He concluded this portion of his message by saying:
“Divine law is incontrovertible! The same can be said of the law of gravity and the laws of foil and lift that allow airplanes to fly. Each is an absolute truth. Doctors or pilots do not have the power to change those laws, but their understanding of them safeguards lives.
God’s greatest blessings are reserved for those who obey His laws, as He explained: “For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing.” (D&C 132:5) God’s laws are motivated entirely by His infinite love for us and His desire for us to become all we can become.” 2
And, in a third address with reference made on the topic of Divine Law, he said:
“Prophets of God have many attributes in common. One is that each prophet understands the importance of divine law.
Divine law is incontrovertible and irrefutable. Divine law cannot be denied or disputed. And when God’s laws are obeyed, relevant blessings always result! Blessings are predicated upon obedience to applicable law. That is why it is imperative that you know God’s laws. They control this universe and multitudes of others.
While the world is filled with uncertainty, there need not be uncertainty in your heart and mind about what is true and what is not. Uncertainty is born of imperfect or unknown information. I plead with you to learn God’s irrevocable laws. Learn them by study and by faith. That means, among other things, “[living] by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.”” 3
Perhaps one of the most concerning questions we ask ourselves is if we are moving in the right direction and on the right path that will take us back into the presence of God? It is through following Divine law that true surety can come into our lives regarding this question and to guide us in all other areas of our life. And, it is through the planting of Divine seeds that the most beautiful and delightful fruit can be harvested in our lives.
The balance of this supplement is broken down by chapter to correspond to the chapters in the book, The Law of the Yield.
Divine Law and The Law of the Harvest
While the Law of the Harvest is expressed in different ways throughout scripture, Paul’s letter to the Galatians is possibly the most widely recognized as its official declaration. In his letter he wrote; “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
We find an expanded understanding of The Law of the Harvest when, the Lord said; “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20-21)
With this in mind, if we have a specific blessing we desire to receive from God, we must discover the corresponding Divine law tied to that blessing. Our desired blessing is already ‘hidden’ in obedience to that corresponding law. As we grow in our understanding that the Law of the Harvest is a Divine law, we can, with even more surety, rely on it for comfort and direction.
I believe that our eternal Father, does not want us, His children, to wonder how to qualify for and obtain His blessings. He knows that one of our greatest desires is to have a surety in our journey through life and back into His presence. That is why He freely gives us clarity and specific guidance through scripture. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The seed of belief produces the harvest of everlasting life. To be able to plant the seed of belief, we may have to plant other seeds first so that belief can be harvested and thus, before it can then be planted. For me, I know that I wanted to believe but I was not able to believe without planting other Divine seeds first.
To find reference to the law of the harvest in scripture, there is no better place to start than with the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus taught:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:3,5-9)
So, if we want to inherit the earth, we need to plant meekness, if we will earnestly plant the seeds of righteousness, we will be filled with the Spirit of the Lord and, as we all need His mercy, to obtain it, we must be merciful. To be called the children of God, we must be a peacemaker. We see that Jesus readily gave us the direction we needed to obtain His blessings. He taught us of the seeds to plant and He invites us to come, and follow Him.
As Jesus continued His sermon on the mount, he taught that we need to let our “light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) And then, when we are a light to the world, the promised harvest or blessing is given in verse 19 when He said that “whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus taught us the Law of the Harvest when He said that we should “agree with thine adversary quickly” and to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray from them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5: 25,44-45)
Jesus wanted us to know that for every divine seed we planted in our life, there was a specific harvest associated with it. Even as He taught us to pray, we find that the way to have our debts forgiven is to forgive our debtors and to “forgive men their trespasses,’ so that our Heavenly Father will forgive ours.
We must lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” And, when we “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; all things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:21,33) The pattern for us to follow is repeated again-and-again. He wants us to know the pathway to His blessings!
Jesus further taught us to judge not, that we be not judged and that when we cast the beam out of our own eye, only then can we see clearly. (Matthew 7:1, 5).
Some of His crowning council came when He said; “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” I then love the assurance He gives when he concludes this directive by saying; “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Jesus continued to give us direction through The Law of the Harvest when He said: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
To be sure we are not deceived by false prophets, the law of the harvest advises us that we can “know them by their fruits” for “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit…for by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:12,15-20)
While ministering to a group of people who wanted to know if his teachings about Jesus Christ were true, the prophet Alma stated it this way: “And now behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.” (Alma 32:31).
David understood this law when he said: "He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity." Proverbs 22:8
In Alma 41:10 we find the simple teaching of a father to his son when he said: “Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.” Happiness is simply not the fruit found in the seed of wickedness nor can it ever be because the divine laws of God teach otherwise.
Paul said; “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6) It is God who will give the increase to every seed we plant in our life. He will certainly make more of our life than we could ever become on our own.
Jesus wants nothing more than for each of us to have faith and believe and accept Him as our Redeemer. He wants us to have enough faith to follow His teachings for it is through them that He has given us direction on how to have safe passage through this life and how to live with Him eternally. To help us understand how to navigate this life, he repeatedly used the principles of the Law of the Harvest to teach us how to receive His richest blessings along the way.
One last scripture reference to keep in mind is for us to; “Give and it shall be given unto you. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38). May we be found full of kindness, being considerate, being forgiving, thoughtful, encouraging and in all ways giving in ways that, in kind, we would want to receive from God.
He has said, “I the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when you do not what I say, ye have no promise.” D&C 82:10 How blessed we are to have His Divine promises.
Godon B. Hinkley used the law of the harvest to help us understand how to overcome some of our challenges when he said: “The best antidote I know for worry is [to plant] work. The best medicine for despair is [to plant] service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of [planting] helping someone who is even more tired.”
It is clear that when we follow this Divine law, we can move through life with more surety and when we are struggling with any problem, the answers are given to us by the Lord.
Boyd K. Packer said: “There is no question – personal or social or political or occupational – that need go unanswered. Therein, the scriptures, is contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel. Therein we find principles of truth that will resolve every confusion and every problem and every dilemma that will face the human family, or any individual in it.”
Divine Law and The Law of the Yield
On the many ministering miles that the Apostle Paul traveled, he would have most assuredly seen the varied lives of the people to which he carried the message of the Gospel. He saw those who had very little to those who had much. Paul described the law of the yield as it is set forth in this chapter of The Law of the Yield when he said: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6)
He continues in verse 8 to say, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
Through the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:3-8, Jesus taught us what kind of ‘soil conditions’ we should strive to have within our hearts. There is a great need for our hearts to be ready to receive the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to live so that we can enjoy and share the fruits of the Spirit.
While a wise farmer will protect his seeds as much as possible and try to be sure they are all planted in good soil, some seeds may in fact, fall in areas where our soil is not ready for planting. If we are not careful, some will “fall by the wayside” and when this happens, we will have wasted those seeds because “the fowls came and devoured them up.”
If we aren’t careful, some perfectly good seeds could fall upon the stony places of our heart. This is also not a good place to let seeds fall for while these seeds will grow, they produced no fruit “because they had no deepness of earth and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.”
The seeds that fell among the thorns also revealed no fruit because “the thorns sprung up, and chocked them.”
However, lastly, Jesus gave the description of the law of the yield when He said: But, other seeds were planted in good ground “and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”
Jesus knew that there would be some who would sow more bountifully and nurture more carefully than others. He knew that the yield would be different from one to another — thirty, sixty and a hundred. This parable describes the potential yield we could expect to achieve based on where we planted and how well we tended to our field. The potentiality of a life with a hundredfold yield is within our reach. God deeply wants to give us all that He has — a bounteous harvest in every area of our lives awaits us if we will follow His divine laws.
In 2 Peter 1:2-4 Peter describes how we can be partakers of the divine nature of God when he taught: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world.”
And then Peter gave this revealing counsel in verses 5-10 wherein he tells us how to increase our yield. He said; “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ …Wherefore…give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall.”
A greater and greater yield comes to those who add one character trait to another and then another and then another. Or, add one positive action to another and then another “For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept.” D&C 98:12
In the Book of Mormon, Alma used the Law of the Yield to establish the process by which the people of that day could acquire faith. He invited them to start with an “experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if you can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you.” (Alma 32:27)
Alma then compares this experiment to the planting of the word of God as a seed being planted in our heart. And, as the word of God is planted, they will see that it “will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves –It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” (vs 28).
While this will increase our faith, (vs 29) we must continue to “nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up and bring forth fruit unto us.” (vs 37) This process is the law of the harvest, however, Alma then describes how a greater yield can be realized when he continued by saying; “if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence, and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, even until you are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst. Then my brethren [and sisters], ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.”
Toward the end of his ministry, in John 15, Jesus said: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except you abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." We will have Divine help as we abide in Him and as we bear much fruit, the world will see His goodness in our lives and He will be glorified.
These passages describe how to sow bountifully and when we acknowledge that it is God [who] gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6) we can reap bountifully.
Divine Law can be Seen when we Observe 'Yield in Action'
As this is chapter of The Law of the Yield, it is filled with remarkable stories. The power of using stories in teaching is exemplified by Jesus. "And he taught them many things by parables." Mark 4:2.
Each of the 25 ‘Yield in Action’ examples in this chapter are parable like stories. Each message has a central theme that we can also find being taught to us in scripture. If we can implement these character traits into our lives, our yield is certain to be great.
Example #1 -- Focus Our Father in Heaven is never distracted from bringing us, His children, home to Him. “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39
Example #2 -- Service and Recognizing the Needs of Others “And behold, I tell you these things that you may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. Mosiah 2:17
Example #3 -- Understanding and Giving Back “So let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8. Also, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Hymn Book, Hymn #219: “Because I Have Been Given Much” reads:
Because I have been given much, I too must give, Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered fed by thy good care, I cannot see another’s lack and I not share. My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, my roof’s safe shelter overhead, That he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord, I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word. I shall give love to those in need; I’ll show that love by word and deed: Thus, shall my thanks be thanks indeed.
Example #4 -- Compassion “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Example #5 -- Effort and the Extra Mile “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” Matthew
Example #6 -- Encouragement and Strength of Character “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy lade, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Example #7 -- Forgiveness and Devotion. "There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." Luke 7:41-43
Example #8 -- Generosity. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted." Ephesians 4:32. "Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, holiness, charity, humility, diligence." D&C 4:6
Example #9 -- Humility "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility." Proverbs 18:12
Example #10 -- Appreciation "That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life." John 5:23-24
Example #11 -- Inspiration "But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God." Moroni 7:13
Example #12 -- Example and Finding a Bigger Purpose "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:15-17
Example #13 -- Use Your Time Wisely "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted" Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Example #14 -- Heart "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21
Example #15 -- Showing Respect "And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all." Alma 1:30
Example #16 -- Goodness "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." Galatians 5:22 "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Ephesians 5:9
Example #17 -- Success "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33. "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart." 1 Timothy 1:5 "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." 2 Nephi 1:20
Example #18 -- Courage "And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all -- they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted. Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him." Alma 53:20-21
Example #19 -- Duty "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:12-13
Example #20 -- Compassion and Empathy "Blessed be ye of the Lord; for ye have compassion on me." 1 Samual 23:21 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be courteous." 1 Peter 3:8 "And of some have compassion, making a difference." Jude 1:22
Example #21 -- Friendship "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twin." Matthew 5:41
Example #22 -- Persistence "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore if you shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20
Example #23 -- Kindness "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings" Psalms 36:7 "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." Colossians 3:12
Example #24 -- Passion and Devotion "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." Mosiah 2:17
Example #25 -- Legacy "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 "Choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
Divine Law and The Miracle of Love
The greatest examples of love are shown in the scriptures by a Father and a Son. "For God so loved the world, the he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 and "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." and then Jesus said in verse 17: "Ye are my friends." He later made the ultimate sacrifice for the world as he laid down his life that we might live as he overcame death and sin.
There is a difference between 'simple' and 'easy'. Love is simple to understand and desirable to share but is not easy to always let it govern our lives. In John 15 verses 15-17, Jesus lovingly continues by saying: "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another."
Earlier in John 13:34-35 Jesus said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another."
The two great commandments are based on love: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Matthew 22:37-39
Paul's letter to the Corinthians is well known for Chapter 13 and his discourse on charity. In this chapter he teaches us that above all, we need to work toward possessing within our lives, the pure love of Jess Christ.
Paul had grown in his spiritual journey to discover that: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And tough I have the git of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and tough I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And tough I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." And then Paul describes the 'seeds' or character traits that someone with charity plants or exemplifies in their life. He said: "Charity sufferers long, and is kind; charity envieth not,; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seekers not her own, is not easily provoked, thinkers no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believers all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. And nowabideth faith, hope charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1 Corinthians 15:1-13
So. . . . if we will do our best to remove envy, boasting and arrogance from our heart and consciously try to plant the seeds of patience, benevolence, tenderness, affection, good will, compassion, kindness, humility, and a disposition of heart which would incline us to think favorably of all mankind and be rejoicing in truth, we'd see more-and-more of the fruit of charity and the pure love of Christ springing forth out of our lives. While growing in charity will be a lifelong pursuit, the blessing is that there is clarity on how our yield can become greater and greater.
Divine Law and 'Building a Life with Yield in Mind'
I love that Joseph’s trade was that of a carpenter and that Jesus learned this trade as well. We can see how Jesus drew upon His carpentry experience from time-to-time to teach spiritual lessons. While He was a builder of objects and structures in the earlier years of His life, His ministry, which continues to this very moment and will continue hereafter, is devoted to the building of people. “For behold,” He said, “this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Moses 1:39 And, He is never distracted from helping us construct a life of eternal happiness.
When the foundation of our life is built upon Jesus Christ, we will be able to say as Paul: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. " Philippians 4:13 And, we will be among those who the Lord (using his carpentry experience) spoke about when he said "Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock." Mathew 7:24-25
The alternative would be if we were to "heareth these sayings, and doeth them not, [we] shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it." Mathew 7:26-27
It is clear that a house and our life need the right foundation. Comparable to the instructions that the Lord gave Adam to build an altar, Noah to build an ark, Moses to build the tabernacle, David to build a Temple, Nephi to build a ship, and Nehemiah to rebuild the wall of protection around Jerusalem, we are likewise given direction about how we should build our life. The Lord said to Moses: "According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Exodus 25:9
The Lord wants us to build a life wherein His Spirit can dwell so we can be guided by His spirit in all things. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
The direction from the Lord is found in the holy scriptures and they are our guide but He also gave us more sources of direction when He established His church and, "he gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 Every resource makes up a beautiful set of plans – a blueprint – that the Lord has given us to help us build our lives around the guiding principles of salvation in Him.
Jesus used an example of constructing a tower as a metaphor of how we need to be wise in living a life fully committed to Him and as we become one of His disciples. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish. Luke 14, 28-30
As mentioned earlier, there is a difference between ‘easy’ and ‘simple’ as well as a difference between ‘hard’ and ‘complicated.’ Following Jesus is simple but not always easy. It can be hard to always choose what is right but not complicated in understanding what is required. We need to have sufficient faith to finish building our lives devoted to Him. We need to count the cost of not living a life of discipleship as this will ensure that we will have enough faith to endure to the end.
From time-to-time, this may require us to pull out a change order and take the steps necessary to put our lives on course with Jesus. Jacob said: "O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until you shall obtain eternal life. O be wise; what can I say more?" Jacob 6:11-12
May we be "firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord!" 1 Nephi 2:10 and may we answer as Nehemiah did to his enemy Sanballat: "I am doing a great work, I cannot come down" and "cease" my work. Nehemiah 6:3
We can change when needed. We can be better than we were yesterday. Jesus can change our hearts. He can change each of us to be who He knows we are capable of being. An example of this power is shown when Peter and John – simple fishermen – spoke saying: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. And seeing their convictions, surety and the manner of their words, the next verse explains why they could speak with such authority; “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
We too will be changed to become much more than we could be on our own as we spend time with Jesus. Building a life in Christ is a life that will lead us to an hundred fold yield because the soil of our soul will be rich and fertile. Paul said: “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts 20:32
Just as ongoing maintenance is required in construction, we too must maintain our spiritual strength. “Wherefore, you must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if you shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. And now, behold, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God without end.” 2 Nephi 31:20-21
As we steadfastly press forward, one of the most beautiful messages of encouragement and promises given to us from Jesus is found in John 14:1-3 when He said: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
I am sure that it will be a mansion if the Master Carpenter is building it. And so it is in our life; if we follow Jesus and follow His blueprint of happiness, we can truly build a life of yield that will give glory to Him.
Divine Law and 'The Rearview Mirror'
We are equipped with a God given desire to do good and to have an upward reach toward the things of eternal value. Faith and hope are tied to the future and our strength for the future comes from our faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
While there is much for us to learn from what we can see in the rearview mirror of our lives, Paul knew of the need we have to be moving forward when he described the full armor of God. As you will see, the protection of this armor is for the front and moving forward parts of our body. There is no retreat or returning to our past. He wrote: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Ephesians 6:10-18
And having the protection of the armor of God, "Wherefore, [then] ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men." 2 Nephi 31:20
Divine Law to Guide Us Through 'The Storms of Life'
It can be difficult to find comfort when we are in the midst of a personal storm in our life. At times, it can seem that our prayers are not heard and that relief is not coming. There is no doubt that storms will come and when they do, we must find the strength to continue to plant in these times as well.
We must continue to plant our faith in Jesus but we must also plant patience in His timing. While we weather the storm, we can find peace as we plant Gospel study. We may have to plant forgiveness to others or ourself. Peace may come as we plant gratitude and service to others.
In Matthew 14:22-33 we read about a time when Jesus sent His apostles by ship to “go before him unto the other side.” As they were in the midst of the sea, they were being tossed with the waves because of the wind.
It was late, “in the fourth watch of the night” when “Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” His disciples had spent many hours battling the sea as they made their way across the water. They did not know it was Jesus but as he came near to them, “Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
Doubting that it was Jesus, Peter called to him and said; “Lord, if it really is you, tell me to come to you on the water. And He said come.”
Peter came over the side of the boat and walked toward Jesus but when he saw the waves and felt the wind, “he was afraid and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him.”
“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying; Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
In the storms of our life, we may battle the wind and waves for many hours, days, weeks and some storms may last for even months or years. He is there to catch us. We may not feel His embrace or see His intervention until we look in the rearview mirror but we must trust in Divine law to know that in these times of struggle, Jesus is walking through the storm with us.
We can be assured that He will say; “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39) when it is time and we can “know thou my son [or daughter] that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” D&C 122:7 While we weather the storm it is a good time to plant Gospel study if it is not already a daily habit. We may have to plant forgiveness to others and ourself. Planting gratitude and service to others can help us find the fruit of peace.
No one knows the storms of life better than Jesus. We are never completely alone.
Whatever words we choose to describe Jesus, they all fall short of who He is, what He has accomplished and what He continues to do in each of our lives. He is our Divine Redeemer and He lovingly invites us into his rest when He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30
May we all learn how to incorporate Jesus’ attributes into our character. As we do, we will come to know and recognize the peace, comfort and surety of direction made possible through His Holy Spirit. We will be able to endure the storms of life and plant our way into the life we desire to harvest.