Feast upon the Word Blog

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RS/MP Chapter 11: “I Seek Not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on June 14, 2013

Sorry for these late notes on this lesson! And thank you to everyone that requested them. It is nice to know that people use these. Never hesitate to get on us (or at least me) to get these up on time.

So without further adieu, the link to the full lesson can be found here.

Like my other set of notes, these notes will focus on the “Related Scriptures” section. I like to focus on this section because I feel that the scriptures are used far less often than they should be in lessons.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13)

Paul understood that his strength did not come from wealth, popularity, or education. Rather, his strength came from Jesus Christ himself. As one scholar put it, “The secret of Paul’s independence was his dependence upon Another. His self-sufficiency in reality came from being in vital union with One who is all-sufficient” (Gerald F. Hawthorne, Philippians, Word Biblical Commentary series (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 201.) We are only self-sufficient when we understand that it is impossible to be self-sufficient.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved (2 Nephi 10:24)

The 1928 webster’s dictionary gives the following definition of the word reconcile, “To conciliate anew; to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement; as, to reconcile men or parties that have been at variance.” The word basically means we need to return to something. Our current state is an alienation from God. What saves us? This return AKA reconciliation. Grace follows this reconciliation.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from thefall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, 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 (Mosiah 3:19).

One way that we might describe the natural man is that he lacks the Spirit in his life (Romans 5:12ff). We must yield our will to God’s will . Going back to the 1828 version of Webster’s we find that to yield is “To allow; to concede; to admit to be true; as, to yield the point in debate.” I really like the last part of this, “to yield the point in debate. I love to debate and I love to be right. In fact, I would say that few of us enjoy being wrong. Too many times we find ourselves debating God. When we give us the debate and admit that we are wrong then we will “becometh as a child, submissive, meek,” etc. A righteous child ceases debating with his/her parents and follows in faith.

Sometimes we debate/fight God because we feel as if what he has asked of us is too much for us to handle. We might even say what he has asked of us is impossible. President Snow made the following comments in relation to Moses. “God called upon Moses to accomplish a certain work; Moses felt his inability and incompetency to do that which was required of him. The work was too great. It was too profound in its nature and character, and it required that which Moses felt he did not possess in power and ability; and he felt his weakness, and he asked God to look to others. … He objected in his feelings, and so talked to the Lord saying: Who am I that I should be sent forth to accomplish this great work,—for it is impossible that it can be accomplished by any such ability that I possess.”

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God (Helaman 3:35)

Two things in this verse. First, notice the essential nature of fasting and praying. This combination allowed the people exercise preciously unheard of faith in Christ. Second, the world yield appears again. As in Mosiah 3:19, ceasing the debate with God equals sanctification.

(10)Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. (11) And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning (3 Nephi 11:10-11)

These verses are special because they are the first recorded words of Christ in the new world. One of the first messages that he brings to the people at the temple is that there was never a time that he did not follow of the will of the father. This idea fits in well with Philippians 4:13 above. Just like Paul, Christ’s power came not solely from his independence, but  directly from his  dependence on the other, God. We should imitate this relationship.

(19)Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; (20) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (22) The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.( 23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (24) No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon (3 Nephi 13:19-24).

This section comes from the sermon on the mount/temple. Let me deal with verse 21 for a bit, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Compare this with 3 Nephi 12:8 (Matt. 5:8), “Blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Much of this section is talking of about eyes/sight in general. One of the ideas that we can take from this section of scripture is that we go where our eyes take us. We look at the things we find attractive. We desire the things that we find attractive. If we desire God we will see God. If we desire other things, we will see those things. What see shapes our perception of reality.

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever (Moses 4:2).

President Snow shared the following, “It is remarkable that the God who made the worlds, who came down here clothed with flesh, performed mighty miracles, and sacrificed his life on Mount Calvary for the salvation of the human family—that He should say, “I can of mine own self do nothing.”Again, we find ourselves back at this theme of dependence. The glory goes to God “forever.” There has never been a time that Christ’s will was independent of the Father’s will. If we strive to be independent then we cannot be in line with God’s plan. God’s plan is one that continually points us back to following his will

Finally, let me end with this. “Do not be afraid of silence. People often need time to think about and reply to questions or to express what they are feeling. You might pause after you have asked a question, after a spiritual experience has been shared, or when a person is having difficulty expressing himself or herself” (Teaching, No Greater Call, 67). I truly believe that silence can be one of the best teachers. Great questions require thoughtful answers.


PS I wrote these up pretty quickly so forgive any typos, etc.

3 Responses to “RS/MP Chapter 11: “I Seek Not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)”

  1. Steve Warren said

    Another thought:

    What is the ultimate outcome of a life in harmony with another being who is always inspired and loving? It is to become like him and possess all that he has. Christ is already there–equal to the Father. He is in the Father, the Father in him, and he stands at the right hand of power, which means neither in front of nor behind nor above nor below but side by side. It is not surprising that when Joseph Smith saw the Father and Son, they were in the exact likeness and similitude.

    Interestingly, the Father and Son love to glorify each other. For example, in 3 Nephi 19, the Son instructed the Nephite disciples to pray to the Father, while the Father instructed them through the Holy Ghost to pray to the Son. This perhaps could be viewed as an example of a case when the will of members of the Godhead wasn’t totally in harmony.

  2. Robert C. said

    Kirk, thanks for posting these notes.

    (For the record, I simply dropped the ball last week with this lesson. I ended up having too much was on my plate to get to this. Kirk has been nice to say “we” dropped the ball, but it was clearly my responsibility, not Kirk’s!)

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