Refined Submission

I've been thinking about the principle of submission - offering to the Lord what Elder Maxwell calls the only true possession we have to give - our will*. Of the Savior's visit to the Nephites, Elder Holland says:

"I cannot think it either accident or mere whimsy that the Good Shepherd in his newly exalted state, appearing to a most significant segment of his flock, chooses to speak first of his obedience, his deference, his loyalty, and loving submission to his Father. In an initial and profound moment of spellbinding wonder, when surely he has the attention of every man, woman, and child as far as the eye can see, his submission to his Father is the first and most important thing he wishes us to know about himself.

"Frankly, I am a bit haunted by the thought that this is the first and most important thing he may want to know about us when we meet him one day in similar fashion. Did we obey, even if it was painful? Did we submit, even if the cup was bitter indeed?"**

I find it so interesting that Elder Holland uses the word haunted and I wonder myself - what kind of report would/could I give? I think I can do a little better at submitting my will to the Lord's, at seeking His guidance and the influence of the Spirit, at obeying the promptings I receive (however small and seeminly inconsequential they seem at the time), at working on the basics of growing a testimony - sincere prayer, diligent study, conscientious service.

And I/we have the Lord's promise - "Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." (3 Ne. 27:29) And "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (D&C 88:63)

The next big question then is - "what is the Lord's will for me?"

Sister Anne Pingree gave an excellent talk about just this thing and shared her own experience.*** These particular ideas (probably because I love lists) stand out to me: a)"I pulled out my patriarchal blessing and read it again and again, searching for deeper understanding" b) "I redoubled my efforts to attend the temple" c) "I pondered the meaning of my covenants in a way I had never done before" d) "In my constant prayers I continued to ask, 'Father, how can I do what Thou hast called me to do?'" and e) "I sought solace in a quiet place."

And she sums it all up in these words: "My first lesson in the process of becoming an instrument in God’s hand had been to search the scriptures, fast, pray, attend the temple, and live faithful to the covenants I had made in the house of the Lord. My second lesson was that in order to 'boldly go forward,' I needed to rely completely on the Lord and seek earnestly for personal revelation. In order to receive that revelation, I would have to live worthily to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with me.

"My last lesson was precisely what Elder Maxwell explained. In even the smallest details of each day, I submitted my will to the Lord’s, for I so needed His help, His guidance, and His protection. As I did, gradually my relationship with my Father in Heaven changed—in profound ways—that continue to bless me and my family."

And there is it: despite "the mistaken notion that somehow we are diminished by submission to God... the greater the submission, the greater the expansion!"**** And, by learning to rely completely on the Lord and earnestly seek personal guidance, our relationship with Him is refined in ways that will eternally bless ourselves and our families.

* “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24.
** On Earth As It Is in Heaven, 126
*** Knowing the Lord's Will For You, Ensign Nv 2005, 112.
**** Neal A. Maxwell, On Becoming a Disciple-Scholar, 22

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