Today I read 3 Nephi 13, the continuation of the Savior giving the Sermon on the Mount to the Nephites. One of the things that I have often thought of when I read this chapter is how strongly the Lord feels about hypocrisy and how we are to live our lives.
It is interesting to me that in the previous chapter it is made very clear that we are to be examples among those around us as we are called the light and a city on the hill but in this chapter, it is almost a contradiction, or so it seems. Yet in fact it is a continuation of that command to be an example.
One of the things people notice about us is that we are different. As the Savior says, some people when they live the Gospel flaunt it. They make a huge deal of their living the gospel and of how righteous they are. That is not what the Lord wants for us. He wants us to live the gospel, and that's all. Now, if we are approached and asked about something related to the gospel, say tithing, then by all means we are to answer and share our testimony. But honestly what is the point of telling people at random, "I give 10% of my income to my church." For one thing, done in such a way, it detracts from the sacredness of tithing, and for another, think how YOU would react if someone told you such a statement unsolicited. How would you react?
Recently I have had a statement Elder Bednar made while he visited us on my mind a lot. He said in the Priesthood Leadership meeting that a proper gauge of how we are doing is to ask ourselves do we enjoy living the commandments, or do we find them a burden? Now, as far as I can recall, I have never felt any of the commandments were a burden, but sadly I cannot also recall a whole lot of "joy" in them either. They are just part of my life, like a routine that I have. So I have been really trying hard to work at finding more joy in the living of the gospel. I can tell you that one commandment I have almost always had pleasure in keeping is tithing. I still remember the joy of that first tithing check in college when I paid tithing for the first time in almost 3 years. Most of you should be aware that you don't pay tithing as a missionary and I did not have a job my first half of the year in college. So it was almost 3 years from the time I was able to pay tithing. When I handed my first tithing check to my bishop it felt so good, like I was coming home.
I want that feeling with all the commandments. This blog is definitely helping. I really enjoy doing this every day and it is a great reminder to me to read my scriptures each and everyday. Having my daughter has helped a lot too. I find true joy in singing hymns and primary songs to her and in reading her the scriptures at night. It's so funny. I seem to be the exception to the rule. I have heard all my life, cultivate good habits now because it is so much harder to do it once you have children. But I tell you, my wife and I struggled to have scripture study together and Family Home Evening. But now that we have our daughter it is SO much easier to be good and live the Gospel. So like I said, I seem to be the exception to that particular rule, because it is a lot easier now that we have a daughter to live the gospel.
I hope you all can also find joy in living the gospel and in teaching your loved ones by your example. Just by living a good, Christ centered life you can teach those around you what it means to be a Latter-day Saint, which is what God wants us to do. He doesn't want us to hide who we are, but flinging it in others faces is incorrect also. Quiet dignity comes to mind as a good adjective for our lives and how best to live them. Just like the Savior had. Until tomorrow.