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Larry Barkdull
Wednesday, December 05 2012

The Constitution of a Perfect Life (Part 1)

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They will be “filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ.”[xxviii]

Mourning Righteously

 …blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.[xxix]

Notice the word all. When a person, who is poor is spirit [pride], comes to the Lord and when the Lord shows the person his weakness, that person mourns, which, on a celestial level, is an act of worship.[xxx] His reaction is one of a broken heart and a contrite spirit;[xxxi] he recognizes his nothingness and carnal nature and longs for support and deliverance.

When the people of King Benjamin made this discovery, they immediately shed themselves of pride, came to Christ, and mourned, desiring desperately to be delivered from Babylon and brought into Zion: “And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.”[xxxii]

Righteous mourning is characteristic of a Zion person, whose compassion demands that he “mourns with those who mourn.”[xxxiii] Such empathetic mourning stems from and leads to feelings of compassion, kindness and mercy. A Zion person feels genuine sorrow for those who suffer, and he is moved to exhibit tenderness and loving assistance toward them; he strives “to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light…and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”[xxxiv]

Jesus set the example: “And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you. Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.”[xxxv]

A person who mourns for his own sins, the death of a loved one, or whose mourning moves him to compassion,[xxxvi] so that he is willing to “bear with or suffer with”[xxxvii] someone in need, is promised comfort from the Comforter. Eventually, his sorrow shall be turned into joy.[xxxviii]

Becoming Meek

 And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.[xxxix]

To be meek is to be gentle, humble, patient and submissive.[xl] But meekness is not weakness; nevertheless Babylon perceives meekness as such and often persecutes it.[xli] President Lee said, “A meek man…is not easily provoked or irritated and forbearing under injury or annoyance.”[xlii] President Hinckley said, “The meek and the humble are those who are teachable. They are willing to learn. They are willing to listen to the whisperings of the still, small voice for guidance in their lives. They place the wisdom of the Lord above their own wisdom.”[xliii]

Meekness is a childlike quality[xliv] that the Savior attributes to himself.[xlv] A person who is meek is often described as being lowly in heart; that is, by his true penitence, he is ready “to hear the word of the Lord.”[xlvi] Thus, a person who exercises faith in Christ, humbles himself, repents, and accepts baptism, receives a remission of his sins, which “bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love.”[xlvii]

Moreover, the meek and lowly of heart “find rest to their souls,”[xlviii] which rest is the glory of the Lord.[xlix] They receive the knowledge and the love of God and know that they are right before him.[l] One must become meek and lowly of heart before he can obtain the spiritual gifts of faith, hope and charity; to live otherwise is in vain “for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart.”[li] It is the attribute of meekness that gives us access to the Lord’s grace,[lii] that “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.”[liii]

A Zion person strives to become meek and lowly of heart, “humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”[liv] The Lord’s promise to such a person is that he will gain an eternal inheritance on the earth,[lv] which will become Zion and a celestial kingdom to those who live on it.[lvi]

Hungering and Thirsting after [for] Righteousness

 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. [lvii]

Again, notice the word all. The Lord taught us that everything has spiritual underpinnings,[lviii] therefore all hungers, including physical hungers, can be traced to a corresponding spiritual need. To be physically or spiritually hungry and thirsty is designed to lead us to Christ, the Bread of Life and the Living Water.[lix]

Whereas physical hunger motivates the need for food, spiritual hunger motivates the need for redemption. If we will allow physical hungers their purpose, they will usher us to Christ. Only Jesus can provide spiritual nourishment for a starved, parched spirit that is trapped in a telestial body. His solution is an infusion of the Spirit: “Blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.”[lx] When we experience the food and drink that the Holy Ghost gives, our appetite increases and we long for more. Then, as we continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we receive the eventual promise: fulfillment—we are filled.

“The Greek word [filled]…originally meant to feed and fatten an animal. It carries the notion of eating till one is completely and totally satisfied. Such is the Lord’s promise to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. He will feed us more than we can possibly imagine.”[lxi] This promise hearkens to the quality of abundance found in Zion--no lack of any good thing. Jesus demonstrated the spiritual principle of completely satisfying hunger and thirst when he fed the Israelites with manna for forty years,[lxii] when he fed Elijah by means of ravens,[lxiii] when he fed the five thousand and later the four thousand,[lxiv] and when he fed the Nephites at his appearance.


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