As I have read and studied Philippians and Colossians—the Come, Follow Me scripture study for October 14-20—I found them rich with symbolism. When read prayerfully, truths tumble forth to instruct, reassure, edify and uplift. As I returned to study them word-by-word and line-by-line, thoughts, impressions and memories came flooding to my mind. I’d like to share some.
Philippians 2:12-14: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvationwith fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do ofhisgood pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”
Although we may sometimes feel alone or abandoned, Christ knows us and is aware of what’s happening in our lives. As we do all we can, we know He will make up the difference, if it is right for us that He does so.
Going about, fulfilling our callings, we may knock on the door of someone we’re assigned to minister to and whom we’re learning to love as we serve him/her. In this spirit of service, and recognizing the prompting that led us there, we may be able to say, “Heavenly Father couldn’t come Himself tonight, so He asked me to bring you this birthday card and chocolate to let you know He remembers the day you left His presence to come on this mission. Happy Birthday!”
Every impression to do something good, kind, or helpful comes to us from the Lord. The sooner we respond to each “feeling,” the easier the next one is to recognize.
On Sundays, as we partake of the sacrament, we’re not just renewing our baptismal covenant. We are also reaffirming our right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
I don’t know about you, but I need His daily guidance. So I never miss the opportunity to take the sacrament wherever I am. When I have to travel on a Sunday, I try my best to at least attend Church somewhere, long enough to ponder my life. While waiting for the deacon to bring me the emblems of my Savior’s sacrifice, I ask myself: “What lack I yet?” I need the Holy Ghost.
Philippians 4:1, 6-7:Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved … Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
My personal “take away” from these verses is to “stand fast in the faith” (1 Corinthians 16:13). “The race is not to the swift” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) but to he/she “who endureth unto the end” (Doctrine and Covenants 53:7). Life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And it really isn’t a race against someone else, with only one winner. It’s a personal race against oneself—against our natural man. It includes daily repenting, trying to become our best selves. And the Lord is willing to help us.
Heavenly Father is not an angry, disappointed parent, shaking his finger at us, and saying, “You can do better.” He’s cheering for us and knows how the challenges of our lives may be affecting our confidence and self-esteem.
He stands with open arms inviting, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28). He seems to say, “Let me help you with that burden of sin or feeling of inadequacy. Thanks for your efforts and sacrifices, for your acts of service and kindness. I’m here to help you win the prize of eternal life with me.”
Colossians 2:6-8: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
We have the gospel—all the truths and ordinances necessary to exalt us. Some of us have been taught them from our youth; others learned of and embraced them later in life. While studying them daily in our homes, together with our children, we’re learning to “Come follow Him.”
It seems to me that one of the strengths and part of the wisdom of this new initiative of family-centered gospel study is to encourage us to formally learn together with our children, making time to pass along the values and lessons of our generation. Thinking we can delegate this duty to anyone else is actually abdication.
Come, Follow Me is restoring responsibility to us in our own homes. In brief, through daily study sessions begun with prayer, we read and learn together—teaching and testifying to one another. It’s the Lord’s way of helping our families put down the roots of faith and family traditions necessary to weather the storms of adversity that Satan is stirring up all around us.
I am so grateful and thankful for inspired leaders.
Colossians 2:8 reminds me of the “Three Bewares” that the Spirit taught me when I prayed about my responsibilities as a Sunday school teacher to the 16-18 year-olds in our ward. We were studying the Book of Mormon. Early each weekday morning, I’d read the lesson over, then ponder and pray about what I should emphasize in the next lesson and during the course of the year.
A clear impression came to me that I should teach my students to beware of three things:
False educational Ideas (and we’d discuss what this meant for them).
Peer pressure (“the flattery of your friends” was the actual phrase that came to my mind).
I did my best to teach these warnings.
A few years later, while attending a regional leadership meeting, our area authority seventy, Elder Rulon G Craven, was speaking to youth leaders. I was a counsellor in our bishopric then, and my assignment was over the Young Men and Young Women.
Elder Craven told us that he and the other area authority seventies had just come from a meeting with the Prophet who told them to teach youth leaders three things to share with their young people. Can you imagine the “chill” I got when he used the same language and identified the same three “Bewares”?
After the meeting, I shared with him my Sunday school class experience from a few years before. He replied, “You’re not surprised are you? You prayed to the same God and asked the same question the Prophet did. Your answer was for your class—your stewardship. The Prophet’s was for the whole Church.”
These “Bewares” are just as important for us to share with our children today, maybe even more so. Daily Come, Follow Me sessions are the perfect opportunity to learn and grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ.