v. 12 Wherefore, all things which are agood cometh of God; and that which is bevil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to csin, and to do that which is evil continually.
v. 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do agood continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and benticeth to do cgood, and to love God, and to serve him, is dinspired of God.
v. 14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is aevil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
I love the simplicity of these verses, and the ones that follow. How do you know what is good? How do you recognize truth? All things which are good come of God. Everything which entices you to do good is inspired of God.
I think people are put off when they hear members of the Mormon church say "I know that this church is true." It makes it sound like an exclusive country club, and that members only have access to the truth. But that's not right. Truth and godliness are all around us, everywhere, and can be found in the most unlikely of places. Whenever I discuss faith or religion with anyone, I always look for common ground, for that shared light and truth that we have. I find truth in the natural kindness of people, in the beauty of nature around me, in the order of science and the universe, and in the way sacred places make me feel.
That said, the reason I am a Mormon is because my religion to me is a never failing source of truth and goodness. It is a place where I come and meet God and feel closer to Him and know Him better. I have not yet run into a principle that has caused me to fight against God or entice me to sin. My religion leads me to want to be a better person and to always do good continually.
v. 40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning ahope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?
v. 41 And what is it that ye shall ahope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have bhope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life ceternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
v. 42 Wherefore, if a man have afaith he bmust needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
v. 43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be ameek, and lowly of heart.
v. 44 If so, his afaith and hope is vain, for none is bacceptable before God, save the cmeek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and dconfesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
It seems that my studies have been so focused on faith lately that I've forgotten that faith is but one part of three important principles. Faith, hope, and charity are necessary to each other, like three legs of a stool. Hope is necessary before you can have faith. Interesting, but hope seems easier than faith. Yes, I hope to sit at the right hand of God. Yes, I hope to be healed, in this life or the next.
v. 45 And acharity suffereth long, and is bkind, and cenvieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily dprovoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
This is a great checklist, a measuring stick if you will. How am I doing? The more I develop these qualities, the more charity I have and the more capacity I'll have to hope and to have faith. If I feel my faith is lacking, then I can simply come here and see where I am weak. Which leads me back to my studies yesterday -- I can humble myself and let God lead me to make my weaknesses strong.
v. 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
v. 47 But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endureth cforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
v. 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen.