Friday, April 24, 2009

Paul's Epistle to the Phillippians, II

(This is a multi-part post. It will take several days for me to put everything. I understand if you don't read it all. It's just my ramblings regarding what I learned from the epistle of Paul to the Phillippians.)

The next thing Paul teaches by his attitude is that through our sufferings, we can aid in our own salvation. In verse 19, chapter 1 he says, "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

If we endure our trials, our hardships, our sufferings well we will enjoy many great blessings. Even all that "salvation" encompasses.

D&C 136:31 (which by the way, I was looking for a different D&C scripture but came upon this one which is so perfect) says that we "must be tried in all things, that [we]may be prepared to receive the glory that [God has] for [us], even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom."

There are many scriptures in the D&C that teach if we endure our afflictions well, we will be blessed. The one I was thinking of before I found the one above is where the Lord comforted Joseph Smith while he was in the middle of a huge trial. It is D&C 121 starting in verse 7

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."

As we pass through this mortal existence, it is requisite that we experience grief, sin, pain, temptations, sickness and other things that will try us. These things are meant to aid in our salvation. And as we recognize this, I truly believe, it will strengthen us. Can we remember (and when I say "we" I really mean "I") this in the middle of our trials?! Can we have such clarity?! If we can then it will certainly help us to "endure it well". Knowing that there is purpose. REAL purpose.

I think, also, that it is paramount that we always remember that it is because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we can even have a hope for salvation. We must always remember that he went forth, "suffering pains and afflictions and temptation of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:11-12)

Which leads me to the next thing Paul teaches us. Phillippians 3:10 says "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Paul teaches us that through our experiences in life we can come to know Christ and the power of the resurrection.

I think that as we struggle and suffer even some of the same types of things that Jesus suffered for us--sickness, pains, afflictions, temptations, etc--that we can have a greater sense of gratitude. For, while what we suffer is difficult, it is our pains alone. The Savior's suffering was for all the inhabitants of the world! Such great love. Such great mercy! To borrow a line from one of my all-time favorite hymns, "I stand all amazed!"

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