While we are in the world, we are not of the world. We are expected to overcome the world and to live as becometh saints.”Many years ago I wrote a poem about a candle. I was trying to go to sleep and thought that the brightness of the candle would make it impossible for me to get to sleep with that light in my eyes. It was then I realized that in the glare of daylight the brightness of that same candle would be almost completely eclipsed. I have included it below. (And no, I am not a poet!)
I am but a candle, Nigh unto invisible in the daylight under the sun, But in the darkness, a guiding light For those who seek truth, wisdom, And a brighter hope of things to come.Joseph Fielding Smith encouraged the members of the Church to live a better life than that offered by the world. The world is mired in so many vices that ultimately bring unhappiness and despair. The light of the gospel brings joy, and this is what we are to walk by, the light or example of Christ and each other as we live a higher law than what the rest of the world lives. Yes, we are in the world, we cannot be anywhere else, but we should not be of or partaking of the things of this world. I have taken the analogy of the candle poem and expanded it to fit this lesson. Consider for a moment a world cast in darkness. People have no vision because their sight is limited to their hands in front of their faces. They try to find truth and their way through life, but only know what their other physical senses can reveal to them. They are comfortable in this world, because it is all they know. One day the Savior comes to them, offering them the light of noon day. Some bask in the light, see life for what it is, understand the way, and follow after him to stay in the light. Others, offended by that much light, angrily seek the darkness they have always found such comfort in. They resent the light and what it represents. When the Savior left, He left the world in darkness, except for those who had begun to follow what he taught. Some of His light was reflected through them to help them see a little way ahead of them, to help them better make their way through life. It was as though a candle had popped up over their heads and now gave light to all within their homes. Everywhere His disciples went, their light went with them, shining as an example of what was possible by following Christ. The more a person followed the Savior and kept His commandments, the brighter his candle shown, and the further off he could see and the more he could understand of the world around him. The savior told His disciples that a candle set on a hill could not be hid. We are to let our lights so shine that we give light to all that are within the house. We are not to try to hide the light under a bushel, but put it up for all to see. Imagine a dark world with millions of candles burning brightly for all to see. Everywhere there are candles there is vision and a better perspective. The Lord does not want us to live and be of the world, walking in darkness and adhering to their standards. He has given us a glimmer of light to show us how to live better than that. The light we receive, the truths we live by shine as an example to all those we come in contact with. Some will be drawn to the light, while others will be offended by it and will resent you for having it and disrupting their perspective of life. We are in the world, as examples of a Christ-centered life, but we are not to be of the world, focused on ourselves and the physical pleasures of the world. It is true that our light is nothing compared to the light of the Savior, but in a world of darkness, even the dimmest of lights can hurt the eyes. The more we keep the commandments, the more we learn to live by the example of our master, the brighter our light, our example will shine to those who walk in darkness. Those who live by the light can see the path we need to walk.
Keeping the commandments
The SabbathWhen the Lord tells us to rest from our labors on His holy day, the Sabbath, the word rest does not mean to nap. When we rest from our labors we are only turning our attention from the labors of the week and, instead, laboring for the Lord on that day. This is a day of service and focus on things that are of a godly nature, instead of a worldly nature. What activities are counted as good to do on the Sabbath? Well, we attend our Church services, serve in our ward, branch, or stake callings. We visit our neighbors and strengthen relationships, we spend time with family to draw closer together on the one day we are not pulled apart by the cares of the world. We do genealogy work to further the work of helping our ancestors find salvation they did not get while in mortality. We read the scriptures, listen to conference talks, write in journals for posterity, pray, and do all things we can think of to further the Lord’s work. The promise of the Sabbath is that when we focus on the Lord one day in seven, our minds will be invigorated for the rest of the week. We will find hidden treasures of knowledge, or in other words, spiritual insights. We will be refreshed and able to tackle the labors of the world better than if we had not kept the Sabbath day holy.
The Word of WisdomThis is a simple law, a basic law.
If we sincerely follow what is written with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord, we need no further counsel.”Perhaps what some of us need is more of the Spirit to help us understand how to live this law. If you have to justify what you are doing then you are probably not living the law correctly. Any time we find ourselves having to make excuses or explain why we permit a behavior that is questionable, we have reached the edge of what is acceptable and should probably back up and re-evaluate what we are doing.
ConclusionThe world does not have the capacity or capability to offer us anything that is of lasting value. The purpose of the commandments is to offer us blessings that are of eternal significance and of enduring value forever. Christ’s life is centered on eternity, versus the world’s life which is centered on a mere 60+ years of mistakes and misery. Mortality cannot offer us anything that is of greater value than what Christ offers us. Individually our light might be very dim indeed, but collectively there is power unimaginable. Seek the company of those who are also reflecting the light and truths of Christ, who are living good examples, and are receiving the blessings of eternity. In this there is strength. In this there is safety.
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To read the full lesson, click here: Teaching of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith: Chapter 19, In the World but Not of the World