Sharing and capturing on Clean Hands, Pure Heart
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1 BEHOLD, I speak unto you, Oliver, a few words. Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.
10 And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.
11 In me he shall have glory, and not of himself, whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free;
12 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.
In this reading of the Doctrine and Covenants I have been drawn to the person and character of Oliver Cowdery. I pay attention to him because I seem to relate to him in so many ways; both in his strengths and his weaknesses.
He is “blessed and under no condemnation,” but has to beware of pride “lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.” I too am blessed in so many ways, and feel that I am under no condemnation as I try to repent and follow the Lord’s will, but when pride enters in -- meaning forgetting to turn to the Lord in a tight spot or difficult moment -- I enter into and often fall to temptation.
Oliver is told he can’t say enough in the cause of the Lord. Can any of us? He is to have glory in the Lord and not himself, whether in his weakness or his strength, whether in bonds or free (bonds having special meaning to an addict). Also, that as Oliver declares the Lord in all times and in all places (sounds like Mosiah 18:9) both day and night, the Lord will give him “strength such as is not known among men.”
Did Oliver live up to his promises from the Lord? Did he receive this strength? Can I? “Strength such as is not known among men,” might not necessarily mean lifting cars, or staying awake serving the Lord for days at a time; could it even mean the strength given to resist temptation beyond the strength of the natural man?
I respect Oliver for his dedication when he was strong, and for coming back after he had given in to pride and weakness. I pray I can do the same in the strength of the Lord.
CHPH, page 73, question 5:
In Mark 9:24 a man expresses in tears his less than perfect belief: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” The Lord did not rebuke him for his double-mindedness, but proceeded to work the miracle he asked for. Write about how it makes you feel to realize the Lord is willing to accept your faith, even if it is imperfect and faltering. You may want to consider writing your thoughts directly to Him, as if in a letter. This exercise can open your heart to the Spirit of the Lord like few other things can.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
That Jesus did not rebuke the father for the mixture of belief and unbelief he expressed in tears for his son, but performed the miracle anyway, is hopeful and touches my spirit.
One of my own sons suffers from Tourette Syndrome and accompanying disorders which -- though he is bright and handsome and loving (even still at age 13!) -- makes his life very difficult to live and takes a lot of extra time for my wife and I. I have held him next to me while he cried after difficult and embarrassing events at the Jr. High and wished for healing for him from the Lord.
As for my own healing from addiction, which means being healed of the underlying root causes of the susceptibility to addiction -- which I see as already present in my earliest memories -- I ask the Lord daily for healing and for his instruction on how it can be accomplished.
In this man’s case, he asked the Lord in faith, asked his faith to be strengthened, and the Lord performed the miracle in a way leaving no doubt who had performed it.
In my case, I ask the Lord in faith, ask that my faith be strengthened, and the miracle is slowly happening (I hope and believe), but in a way requiring me to have faith that he is doing it even though it seems like I am the one required to do everything -- surrendering, fighting, being humbled, continuing to muster faith (another sign of pride). Of course the “will” or even desire to do those things comes from him as well. Also, since there are spirits which, as Jesus said, "can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting," I have requested blessings and have added weekly fasting to my recovery. It does help, even though it also stirs things up as the adversary works on me most when I am seeking the Lord the most.
I trust the Lord and what he is doing -- he has his plan and his own way and I do not get to change it, but accept it and obey it. Perhaps the healing will finally come completely when I am as ready to give up my addictive behaviors with no regrets as this man was willing to have his son healed with no looking back. I confess to the Lord that I still have these desires and sometimes have difficulty in letting go of them. I wish for those desires to be changed and gone. Lord please help me let go of them, even the most basic ideas that are not correct in thy sight, even if they seem most desireable to me.
I am grateful for the changes in attitude and behavior which have occurred. I am grateful for the presence of thy spirit with me through the days. Lord, I believe, help thou my resistance and attachment to the behaviors and my unbelief. Please, continue to help thou mine unbelief.