We all have a light to shine outward into the world, and as we do, others will desire to illuminate their surroundings, until we gain a clearer understanding of where to go based on the light we surround ourselves with. Now, some may say they do not wish to surround themselves with more light, because it seems like they have enough. To such I would reply that although it is good to have a candle in a room, it is better to have a gas lamp. Then as you get used to the gas lamp, and weary of having to carry it around when you wish to search for something, it becomes better to have electricity, and then to have a combination of electricity and natural light from the sun. It is the same with light from God. God is on every step of the staircase of light, but it is far better for us to draw nearer to the perfection of His light rather than to grow comfortable on the staircase simply because we feel some degree of His presence, rather than of His fulness.
Recently, those of us in the United States have experienced a life-changing spiritual and temporal event, the decision of the Supreme Court to refuse hearings about same-sex marriage. I could, at length, discuss why this is detrimental to same-sex couples, those in their families, friends of such individuals, members of society both religious and non-religious alike, and so forth. However, such conversation only serves a peripheral purpose in the discourse I'm attempting to make here. I've already made that discourse in a separate blog post (see "Civility, Morality, and Homosexuality"), due to the Supreme Court decision a while ago about Utah not being able to refuse same-sex marriage, and then of course the ensuing actions by the Governor to restrain such events from happening. What I wish to do today is explain the importance of us shining as examples- warriors of light for God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
What's the significance, though? Surely between others seeing our good works and glorifying our Heavenly Father, there must be an intermediate step. That step is simply this, as spoken of by Peter: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1st Peter 3:15) By having the companionship of the Spirit by denying ourselves of all ungodliness, we also shall glorify God in our hearts, thereby showing others the joy and hope we are feeling inside our hearts. To many, our lifestyle of meeting our needs in alternative ways -especially in emotions and sex- does not indicate personal fulfillment, happiness, or self-loyalty. However, our enduring hope and joy will prove otherwise, leading people to ask why we are so happy, fulfilled, peaceful, and optimistic about the future. As we testify of Christ to such individuals, it can and will lead many of them to glorify our Heavenly Father-even to the point of investigating and perhaps joining the Church. As part of the rising generation, I am shining as an example because I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I want to hold up His light, "that which (I) have seen (Him) do" (3rd Nephi 18:24)
In a world of deception, confusion, chaos, and darkness, I love bearing witness of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In and through Him, all things are made possible. As Paul taught:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Through Christ, we can endure. This does not mean we grit our teeth and look up to heaven in exasperation, frustration, anger, sadness, etc. and tell God with heavy hearts we'll do what He wants. No, it means that with a light heart and cheerful manner, we will do all within the power of grace to follow after Jesus Christ, by means of our agency. And by the teachings of the scriptures, God has taught us that we can always find the way to make it through all opposition. In some form or another, Christ will leave His mark upon our individual journey we're meant to take to come back to Him. The principles of the gospel will remain the same, but we will discover that in obeying such principles, our execution of them will vary according to our life circumstances.
Through this marvelous endurance, we can better understand those surrounding us who experience same-sex attraction and are struggling in their desires to follow Christ. We can also understand how to exercise respect and civility towards anyone with differing opinions, while treating them as we would friends and family. Everyone is a child of God, and if God does not have respect to persons, neither should we. Let's shine His light, because His love is our reason for hoping and joying in His saving, exalting power. I bear my witness that He lives, that He comprehends our sufferings and strugglings perfectly. If we come to Christ, He will gently guide us back into the ways of light. May we be His hands in that process. Love you all. Until next time....