Happy Are Ye If Ye Do Them

I gave a presentation on October 31 based on a theme from a verse in the New Testament:

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” —John 13:17

Here are the slides (used only as an outline):

Here are some of the highlights.

Respect and Trust

I first talked about how to find the love that lasts. Without a foundation of respect and trust, love cannot grow. That respect does not require that two parties are always in agreement, but it does require patience, kindness and boundaries. Trust in relationships is impossible without respect.

“It is better to be trusted than to be loved.” —David O. McKay

Lasting, romantic love is impossible without the foundation of respect and trust. Respect honors sacred boundaries, both before and after marriage, and respect is always affirming and validating. It always builds up. Anything that drags another down is not of God.

“And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.” —D&C 50:23

The Fortress that Protects Love

Then we talked about the fortress that protects love: Chastity—moral integrity—is the fortress that protects love—love of God, love of others and of self. Too often, our first impulse is to pleasure, not purity, but keeping the law of chastity is critically important to the stability of all our relationships.

Chastity is first secured within the boundaries of thought and intent. Inappropriate images, real or virtual, most often tempt men, and inappropriate words, spoken or written, most often tempt women.

High personal standards protect us from temptation, and those standards also encourage us to keep the commandments. Keeping the commandments, as well as modesty in thought, word, action and dress, protects love and chastity.

Pride

At our last general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said of pride:

“Pride is a deadly cancer. It is a gateway sin.”

The night of sin is always preceded by the dusk of pride. Pride is the fruit of disdain—disdain for others and for God. Pride also is self-deception and the first treason against self. Gratitude, however, is the solvent that dissolves pride. You cannot feel grateful without also feeling humble. Humility opens the door that pride closes.

Guilt Is a Gift

A few words on guilt. Guilt often triggers pride because it can provoke us to blame others for our troubles and to blame our behavior on others. Guilt really offers us two choices: we can blame others as a result of it or take personal responsibility for what we do. I feel that guilt is a call to positive action, a call to positive change.

The Two Paths of Communication

We have a choice between two paths in our communication. Those paths start with either self-awareness and self-betrayal. What path are you on in your communication? Here is a diagram showing the two paths:

Getting our needs met is very important. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“Jesus saw sin as wrong but also was able to see sin as springing from deep and unmet needs on the part of the sinner.”

Nothing really speaks louder to a person than his or her unmet needs. Unmet needs speak louder than laws, rules, commandments, those who love us, the appeal of reason or common sense. We each must patiently discover how to meet those genuine needs, either for others and for ourselves.

Being Oneself

Children bring us joy just by being themselves! The Savior said of little children: 

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:4

I like what Paul said about being like children in not holding malice.

“Be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” —1 Corinthians 14:20

Kierkegaard taught that sin is despair, and despair, in essence, is not being willing to one’s true self.
We cannot be completely at peace without being in some ways like like little children, our true selves.

Testimony

With regard to testimony, we need to realize that doubt is the servant of neglect and a growing testimony is always the fruit of faith in action. We need to seek testimony with all our hearts:

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

Overcoming Personal Drought

All of us to some degree are suffering from a personal drought of some sort. We know what to do to overcome our trials, but don’t always know how to do it! Observing our devotions to God with real intent makes all the difference. Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi offered this counsel to the Carey Idaho Stake (Ensign, May 2007).

  1. Faithfully pay an honest tithe, both young and old.
  2. Humbly hold regular individual and family prayers.
  3. Devotedly have daily personal and family scripture study.
  4. Thankfully keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Gratefully go to the temple often, there offering thanksgiving.
  6. Willingly sustain and follow…leaders.
  7. Hold a…fast, including everyone …who would like to participate.

In addition, Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. offered the Master’s great success formula (Ensign, May 1979).

  • First, believe you can do it.
  • Second, look to the Lord for your blessings.
  • Third, make the sacrifice.
  • Fourth, expect a miracle.
  • And fifth, receive the miracle with great humility.

In conclusion:

  • Respect, trust, and love one another.
  • Overcome pride through gratitude and humility.
  • Guilt is a gift to help us overcome sin and weakness.
  • Follow the path to peace in all your communication.
  • Be your true, best self.
  • Strengthen your testimony by putting your faith into action.
  • Overcome personal drought by yielding your heart to God.

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” —John 13:17

God bless you all!

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