Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fire in the Belly

At the close of Alma’s beautiful sermon on the priesthood of God that is found in Alma 13, Alma says,
“But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord . . . having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest” (28-29). This reiterates a theme that runs throughout all of scripture—that we should have faith, hope and charity.

The problem is that too often we don’t recognize a difference between faith and hope. But Alma helps us understand that difference. Faith centers on the Lord Jesus Christ and means we believe what He teaches us. 
He will save us. Therefore, if we have faith we will naturally believe that we are going to receive eternal life. So hope is the next step. It is to expect eternal life.

I am often startled by my students who don’t think they are going to make it. They know they aren’t perfect and there are so many commandments and there is so much to do and  . . .  But we are saved not because we are perfect. We are saved because Jesus Christ is perfect. Therefore if we have faith in Christ, we should all place our hope (our expectation) in the fact that we are going to receive eternal life. We will be exalted.

When you live your life with that expectation you live very differently. Instead of looking at the gospel as a burden that has to be met in order to "earn" your way into the celestial kingdom, you see it as a way to show Jesus Christ how grateful you are for making your eternal life possible. That hope then empowers you.You live confidently. You live peacefully. You can withstand trials, adversity, persecution, disappointment and every other negative occurrence in life because you have hope. You know all this telestial experience is temporary and that you are on your way to a much better eternal destination.

Hope, then, is the inspiration and motivation to hang in there. Hope is the mortar that holds together the brick of our eternal mansion. Hope is peace in the heart and fire in the belly. Hope brings a smile to the face whether the sun is shining brightly or storms are raging.  
Hope is Jesus Christ.


Wendi said...

I have felt very depressed again lately. And there's no rhyme or reason to why. But one thing I do know is that there is always hope in Christ. I know that and so I will hold on to that until things look brighter again. Thanks for this reminder. :)

Rebecca said...

Thank you! I needed that!