We live in perilous times. Our time, as no other before, is fraught with confusion and deceit at every turn intended to ultimately blind us spiritually. Technology plays a key role in enabling the circumstance. With even a partial obstruction to our vision, we are at risk of bumping into the unexpected, or worse become lost. The interesting aspect of spiritual blindness is the inability to know (or accept) we are on the wrong path and lost – confused. Another interesting characteristic of the spiritually blind is the confidence often displayed and by which they encourage others to come along – very effective.
President James E. Faust taught that,
The Holy Ghost gives worthy Saints both spiritual guidance and protection. It increases our knowledge and our understanding of “all things.” This is of immense value at a time when spiritual blindness is increasing (James E. Faust, “The Light in Their Eyes“, Oct. 2005 General Conference).
He went on to explain additional reasons why it is so important that we have a clear view of the world we must now navigate.
Secularism is expanding in much of the world today. Secularism is defined as “indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.” Secularism does not accept many things as absolutes. Its principal objectives are pleasure and self-interest. Often those who embrace secularism have a different look about them (James E. Faust, Ibid.).
I realize that anyone of us, at anytime, can begin to lose our way. No one is exempt from the adversary’s cunning ways. Today what seems to cause far too many to stumble often has to do with current social issues where our loyalties to God’s ways are challenged. There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that I’m not engaging in one form or another with material or individuals advocating ideas contrary to the Lord and His servants – both inside and outside of the Church.
One thing I continually keep in mind is that just because we are allowed to do something doesn’t make it right, and just because something is legal doesn’t make it good. Keeping an eternal perspective when it’s necessary to judge those things that need careful discernment is imperative if we are to maintain a clear vision here in mortality.
It’s so easy to go about our daily lives and not think about eternity and those inevitable eternal consequences because of individual agency. Elder Neil L. Andersen, during the April 2015 General Conference, really helped us to refocus our thoughts on the true reality of our day. He reminded us that we live in “the days preceding the Lord’s Second Coming, a time long anticipated by believers through the ages” (Neil L. Andersen, “Thy Kingdom Come“, Apr. 2015 General Conference).
Knowing what we know, isn’t it odd how we tend to live our lives day to day generally caught up in small things that mattereth not from an eternal perspective? I’m sure most of us are often guilty of such a state of mind. We take mortality for granted as we act in faith that for us, tomorrow the sun will rise, and so on. We do this not thinking that any day, unexpectedly, the Savior will come again.
If we were compelled to stop whatever we were doing, at any moment, because the Lord is come, would we see things differently? Would what we are doing and focusing on in our lives help to usher in that marvelous event? Are we in the act of preparing to meet the Savior by our actions? Will we find ourselves in harmony with His work, or trying to change it?
Elder Andersen continued,
We live in days of wars and rumors of wars, days of natural disasters, days when the world is pulled by confusion and commotion. But we also live in the glorious time of the Restoration, when the gospel is being taken to all the world—a time when the Lord has promised that He “will raise up … a pure people” and arm them “with righteousness and with the power of God” (ibid.).
How exciting are those thoughts! But not just thoughts; this is reality! Those who make and keep covenants are given power to assist in the hastening of the Lord’s work in these last days and to resist the evil one. I believe the Lord is depending upon us to stand for truth and righteousness, as given through those called to lead His Church, in the face of opposition.
I don’t know about you, but with all of my heart, I hope to be doing the Lord’s work and standing with His chosen leaders, in every way, upon His glorious return! I certainly wouldn’t want to be advocating contrary to those I sustain as “prophets, seers, and revelators” even if I might feel differently about one thing or another I don’t fully understand. Rather, I choose to align my heart with God’s and give Him my complete and unequivocal loyalty. I’m not suggesting that this is the easy path – it’s not. However, as Elder Andersen well reminded us,
We have taken His name upon us, and each week as we partake of the sacrament, we pledge that we will remember Him and keep His commandments. We are far from perfect, but we are not casual in our faith. We believe in Him. We worship Him. We follow Him. We deeply love Him. His cause is the greatest cause in all the world (ibid.).
“His cause is the greatest cause in all the world.”
Well, if that doesn’t put life in perspective, I don’t know what would. Our cause, or purpose in this life, as children of covenant, should be His. Our work, in these latter-days, is to hasten the work in preparation for His much-anticipated Second Coming. If we kept that thought in mind every single day, I imagine our actions would be much more in harmony with God’s will than our own. Perhaps even our fear of man would diminish, and we would have greater courage to stand.
Elder Andersen taught that we keep this eternal perspective by seeing the hand of the Lord in both the growth of the Church and in our lives as individual members. He reminded us to, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16). That’s not only a powerful image, but it is “things as they really are.” The Lord wants us to see things as God sees them, and He is willing to show us if only we will ask!
As you keep the commandments and pray in faith to see the Lord’s hand in your life, I promise you that He will open your spiritual eyes even wider, and you will see more clearly that you are not alone (Thy Kingdom Come, ibid.).
“I promise you.”
Do we have sufficient faith to believe in that promise – enough to put it to the test? I hope so. I know that I’m certainly going to try harder. I have a testimony that as we strive to keep upper most in our minds the reality of the glorious Second Coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, we will see every day through the lens of eternal truth. The kind of truth that will cut through the mounting errors of our day and enable us to stand with confidence “in all things and in all places.”
Our faith grows as we anticipate the glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth. The thought of His coming stirs my soul. It will be breathtaking! The scope and grandeur, the vastness and magnificence, will exceed anything mortal eyes have ever seen or experienced… In that day the skeptics will be silent, “for every ear shall hear, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess,” that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world (ibid.).