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Find the Joy in the Journey

Here’s a mid-week thought. These are notes and things I’ve learned in my BYU religion class and at church. My most spiritual moments have been when sitting in my religion classes.

We do not earn or do anything to deserve salvation. All is through the merit of Messiah. Man cannot merit anything of himself. Keeping commandments helps us receive grace. God will save us through the mercy and grace of His son, but we have to keep the commandments. I honestly feel that if you were to take an investigator and sit him down in the middle of the religion classes at BYU, they would be converted before the end of it. I love being able to learn secular things, and also spiritual.

Heavenly Father gives us an opportunity to become like Him through commandments. At the end of our days, it’s not like we’re going to open up a briefcase, lay out our accomplishments and say I’ve made it into heaven. Here’s my missionary call, my Young Men or Young Women’s awards, this a list of all the callings I’ve had, these are all my tithe and offerings slips, etc, etc. Those things don’t qualify us to enter into heaven. They are only there and given to us in order to change us. It’s through the change we undergo through Christ that qualify us to return to God’s presence.

We don’t sing hymns because they sound good. We sing it because it’s true. I love the hymn I Need Thee Every Hour. It’s true. Christ is the center, or should be, the center of our lives. In my religion class, our professor shared an article written by a Non-Mormon about Mormons and their thoughts of Christ. I recommend you give it a read. It stuck out to me that the center of all we do is Christ. It’s called “Mormonism Obsessed with Christ” by Stephen H. Webb. He gives great reasoning and examples of how some other Christians view Mormons. The truth is we’re obsessed with Christ.

After this, our professor shared an experience where he presented his lesson plans for the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon to the church education board for review and feedback. He said the the reviewer said his lesson plans were overemphasizing Christ. He was shocked. I’d be shocked too. How can you overemphasize Christ in a book that is a testament of Christ. They explained he overemphasized Christ because he never mentioned Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father was our first relationship. Christ’s role is to invite us to Him so he can cleanse us, make us pure, prepare us, and then present us to return back to our Heavenly Father. Christ did not come to do anything but give all glory to the Father. This realization was so profound.

I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love Him. I want to follow Him.

If a prophet was coming to our home, how would we react. If our hometeachers were coming, how would we respond. We often view and react to people based on their status or position, but God is no respecter of persons. Does the God we worship pay attention to worldly titles and possessions and standings and positions or worldly prowess? God is not a respecter of persons. God does not pay attention to skin pigmentation, DNA, pedigree chart, or standing in the world.

If we are ever in a phase of life where we’re feeling cut off, we don’t know what to do, and we start to feel more and more withdrawn from heaven. We try to pray and it seems like it’s just bouncing off the walls. Think, where is our relationship with Heavenly Father? Are we out of balance in our life. Are we placing our priorities on anything other than placing Heavenly Father where He needs to be, at the head. I’ve felt like this has been a big theme in my life the past few weeks. Things have been hard. Life isn’t easy. There’s little growth in the comfort zone and little comfort in the growth zone. It can be incredibly overwhelming. My apologizes for getting personal. When things get hard, never forget to turn upwards. Never forget to keep God close. All the time. Not just during the times when we need Him, but especially during the times when we need Him. If we are not careful and diligent, we can find ourselves all of a sudden being further from Him than we thought. This happened to me. But it’s never too late to get back on the road that He wants us to. The road back to Him. You’ll get past the point of pseudo memorized prayers and get to a point of starting to actually talk to your Heavenly Father.

​The greatest battles you will fight will be in the silent chamber of your own soul. Ask and you shall receive, but sometimes we are too prideful or scared to ask. Take courage. Don’t be afraid.

We need to trust in the Lord, but we’re the ones who make the decisions. We can’t be afraid to act. It’s okay to make a mistake and have to get back on track. We’ll learn and be able to make better choices. Must have skill to make decisions and skill to listen and follow.

Doctrine and Covenants 90:24. “search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good”. God will not allow anything to be to our downfall. He simply won’t allow it in the end.

Conference theme: trust God. I’d encourage everyone to diligently listen and ponder the words of the Prophets from this past general conference. I know you will be enlightened, feel of God’s love, be filled with the Spirit, and be given the strength and direction needed for this time in your life. I know I have.

Happy mid-week,
Derrikk Sun

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