Today is a time of reflection. To see how far one is on their journey of going forth with faith and purpose. To gauge how far along the path, one has traversed.
Our call to go forward with faith and purpose is based on Exodus 14:13-15:
And Moses said unto the people, fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today … The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward
This call is an invitation for us to take up our journey and seek our Heavenly Father. To sojourn in a wilderness of spiritual growth and faith. To move beyond that had come before us so that we are empowered to move forward in confidence and assurance of those promises our Heavenly Father has in store for each one of us.
Let us take a moment to reflect on the past few days of our journey to see where we are at and how far we may have come.
If you are new to this website – please take a moment to look over the postings on this 40-day Challenge of going forward with faith and purpose. The Objective of this challenge is to bring us closer to Christ, to draw our attention to what matters most, and to work toward realigning our faith and will toward that of our Heavenly Father. It is to put behind us those things that has already occurred in order to move forward – looking forward to the salvation of the Lord as we stand ready to walk in faith and obedience to our Heavenly Father’s purpose.
Today, we have faced the challenge of a pandemic that impacted our world. A pandemic that seems to have changed the course and fabric of the way we live our lives. This came on the heels of the end of chaos, violence, and protests that had occupied our society and culture the previous year. To say the least, we are ever living in times of increasing uneasiness, of uncertainty, and times of groanings and increase in vain imaginations of a man’s heart (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 2:1-3, 140:2; Proverbs 6:18, 12:20; Jeremiah 11:8, 13:10; Zechariah 8:17; Acts 4:25; Romans 1:21).
Yet, we are still called to go forward with steadfastness of faith in God. This calls us to be faithfully obedient to the will of God – no matter the obstacles and challenges we may face in this life. Moses obeyed God, raised his rod, and the sea parted for the Children of Israel to cross over. Our willingness to walk in faithful obedience to the will of God is done with humility and without murmuring or dispute (Philippians 2:14).
As we engage in our journey through the Come Follow Me – Old Testament Study there is a call upon each of us to seek after Christ, to be all the more converted, and to be equipped and grow spiritually. This life is much more significant when we realize that each one of us is on our own journey. A journey toward a defined destination because of the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ. A journey that sees fulfilment of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.
As you study through the Old Testament this year – be sure to follow the admonish of our Savior. Take up thy cross and deny thyself so that we may find our own path, our own meaning, and our own purpose. This will help us discover the answer to life’s challenges we shall face in the coming year. It also helps us understand the reason for our own existence and what purpose our Heavenly Father has called us to. With this perspective one may find a reduction in anxiety, worry, stress, and bring thoughtful and meaningful decision making. One may also experience an increase in satisfaction in knowing who they are and where they are headed as we strive to endure and overcome as Christ has endured and overcame (Revelation 3:21).
The Christ-centered perspective fulfills the scripture where it says: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). This is because Christ created us, by the authority of the Father, to fulfill God’s will and purpose. And since we were created by God – we were created for a greater purpose than any motivational speaker or other resources may attempt to teach us.
Therefore, it all centers on Christ and begins with Him. Centering our faith on Christ we are growing in knowledge and awareness of our divine origin, our divine purpose, and our divine destiny. Our purpose and significance are found in Jesus Christ when we humble ourselves and come unto him and follow him.
The greatest hope of all is knowing that our existence is not something that was random or happenstance. No, as we discover the simple and plain truths of our Heavenly Father, we come to understand He created us with a purpose. There is no greater truth under Heaven than this: we are children of God. That this life may bring happiness and may also bring sorrow. Our purpose is to experience and learn to distinguish good from evil. To make correct choices as God, through the Holy Spirit, guides us to do good. All we need to do is follow Him. The adversary desires for us to ignore such truths. The Adversary desires to entice us away from those things of God. As we choose to follow Christ, keep his commandments, we shall grow in wisdom and strength of character. Regardless of where we are at and what we have experienced, are presently enduring, and may endure; we are able to experience joy and face those challenges with a spirit of peace.
Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
There is no more compelling motivation to worthwhile endeavor than the knowledge that we are children of God, that God expects us to do something with our lives, and that He will give us help when help is soughtStanding for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes
Knowing we are created with a divine purpose gives us pause to consider our understanding of who we are. Gives us pause to consider the reason we are here and experiencing this life. And gives us pause to consider our destiny. Our Heavenly Father knows each and every one of us intimately.
Take a moment and consider what drives you in your present life. What is it that you are facing? What challenges are present? What is your motivation going into the new year? We all have a drive. A passion where we desire some form of change. Yet, how committed are you to making such changes? No matter the obstacles we are facing in life – we have a choice set before us. We either go back and remain captive in those things that have kept us from progressing and moving forward. Or we face the challenge and go forward with faith and purpose – knowing our Heavenly Father will see to it we find our path through the sea.
Faith is the driving factor to us going forward into this new year with purpose and meaning. The Apostle Paul taught that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). And in Alma 32:21 we read that …faith is not to have perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen which are true.
The Israelites did not have a perfect knowledge. Yet they put their trust, hope, and life in the hands of God. Because of this, they were guided by Him, and went forward in faith. For us, we are being called to go forward in faith. To go forward with purpose. Despite what the world may say, may think, or may believe. We still go forward with faith and hope that our Heavenly Father strengthens and blesses us every step of the way.
There is much more to life. And yet we tend to forget our purpose when we lose sight of our eternal perspective. In this life we shall experience misery, suffering, sorrow, and hopelessness. We also experience joy, triumph, accomplishments, and even milestones of growth and progression (2 Nephi 2). However, our journey is not merely marching toward death and living for the here and now. No. Our journey is one that has an eternal perspective where we shall be added upon with glory (Abraham 3:22-26). Our Heavenly Father declared his purpose unto Moses (Moses 1:39) and revealed to him the workmanship of his hands (Moses 1:4).
What is this eternal perspective? It is understanding that we have a divine origin and heritage (Abraham 3:22-23). We also come to know and understand that our mortal life has more significant meaning and purpose because of our Heavenly Father’s desire and purpose. Furthermore, as we consider the eternal perspective – we stand in agreement with the apostle Paul when he says that he has fought the good fight, I have finished my course, and I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-9).
The Israelites placed their faith in Moses, who placed his faith in God because of the vision he received of where the Israelites were heading. The vision Moses beheld was first and foremost that he was called a Son of God (Moses 1:4). His vision also included the work and purpose the Lord will call him to perform.
Possessing this vision, Moses was able to declare with conviction who he was. How many of us are able to say with great confidence and conviction who we are? Most of us may have forgotten who we are because we have forgotten who our Heavenly Father is and who Jesus Christ is.
Thus, this life is a test because it is for us to grow in faith in knowing who we are because we grow in faith understanding and knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Our call to go forward with faith and purpose in the new year is meant for us to examine ourselves and determine whether or not we truly place full confidence in who Christ is, in the teachings of the pure doctrines of Christ, and trust in those personal revelations he has given us. Trust in Christ means we go forward with faith, despite any doubts we may have. Despite our perceived inadequacies. For if we go forward in faith, with purpose, we are blessed to accomplish those things we are called to accomplish. For if we go forward in faith, with purpose, we are able to do the things our Heavenly Father has commanded us to do.
Take for instance Peter. Upon seeing the Savior walking toward the boat, Peter called for the Lord to allow him to walk toward the Savior. And Peter did so. Yet, it was doubt and fear that caused Peter to turn his gaze and trust in the Savior away. It was the fear of drowning in the sea that caused Peter to lose sight of the Savior. And yet Jesus reached down, grabbed Peter and walked with him back to the boat (Matthew 14:22-33).
Paul gives us an important reminder that we are engaged in conflict. In Ephesians, he calls our attention to this conflict as a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Moses, when Satan came and stood before him, questioned the opposing one: Where is thy glory? (Moses 1:13). And if we endure well, overcome as Christ overcame, through faith – we shall also receive our own crown of righteousness.
See, the Apostle Paul knew his time was nearing the end. And without any regrets, lived his life according to the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His sense of fulfillment ought to become our sense of fulfillment. A sense of fulfillment in knowing we too are empowered to accomplish all that our Heavenly Father has called us to do.
As we go forward with faith and purpose, we do so with the mindset that this life is a test. That there is a purpose for our mortal existence, and that we are called and assigned to endure those conflicts and challenges. To live for God through service and obedience, placing our hope and trust on Jesus Christ, and striving to be perfected so that we are able to say with conviction: I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course and now there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.
The faith Moses called the Hebrews to exercise was one that had to come prior to the miracle they were about to witness. Such faith called them forth to be ready and go forward despite the great opposition they were facing. Pharoah’s army behind them and the sea before them caused the children of Israel to murmur and complain. And it was their only viable option to trust in God that they would cross over to the other side.
For us to go forward with faith and purpose into the new year means that we are to trust in Christ and hold our peace (Exodus 14:14). Because it is the only step of faith where we are able to experience piece in this world, and eternal life in the world to come (Doctrine and Covenants 59:23). Our faith proceeds any miracle we are to experience from our Heavenly Father.
In this life – we have the moral agency to choose liberty and freedom that is in Christ; or to choose captivity and bondage that leads to destruction and misery (2 Nephi 2:27). It is key to unlocking the blessings of the infinite atonement and our motivation to fulfill the purpose and glory of God. It is essential to our progress and ability to become Christ like. Furthermore, it is essential in becoming like our Heavenly Father. Every choice our Savior faced was one of good over evil.
The enticing of the spirit of God or the spirit of the adversary is constant and consistent. Over time, we learn how to choose one over the other. If we choose the right, we are putting on the righteousness of Christ and patterning our lives after his. When we choose the right, we find peace and happiness that surpasses all understanding. We also find freedom and liberty in those decisions.
Since children are seen as innocence and pure – theirs is the kingdom of God. We must go through the process of spiritual renewal, rebirth, and refinement so that we are able to inherit the crown of righteousness laid up for us (2 Timothy 4:8).
What then is the heart of worship? To become like a child full of meekness, capacity to love unconditionally, be full of joy and peace, patient, full of faith, humble and teachable, honest in all things, and quick to forgive. The heart of our worship is our willingness to surrender and submit to God’s will and desire for our lives.
When we turn our thoughts and minds over to Exodus 14:13-15 – there is a reason God wanted to bring Israel out of bondage. To bring them out of a foreign land. To no longer experience the burden and labors of Pharoah. It runs much deeper than God preforming miracles as great signs and wonders unto Pharaoh. Goes even deeper into the blessed hope of bringing the Children of Israel into the land of promise. The simple truth is that the salvation of the Lord we shall see unfold is about reconciling us to Him.
And what exactly are we referring to when we talk of being reconciled unto God? It simply means that we are decisively changed to where we are no longer at enmity with God, and we become friends of God.
How we view Christ determines the type of relationship we may have with him. And that relationship also determines our relationship we have with our Heavenly Father.
The call for us to go forward in faith and purpose is a call for us to enter into a deep and intimate relationship with Christ. To come to know him and our Heavenly Father (John 17:3). And how we come to know Christ, and our Heavenly Father, so that we develop our relationship with them is based on understanding and realizing we are children of God, how we approach our heavenly father in prayer, our willingness to repent and forgive, and our devotion to hearing, listening, and doing those things our Heavenly Father has commanded us as essential principles of an obedient life.
Meaningful and mindful worship is also our response to our Heavenly Father’s steadfast love (Exodus 34:6-7 and Numbers 14:18-19). This steadfast love of our Heavenly Father is the reason for the infinite atonement. It is the reason for the plan of salvation whereby we come to fulfill His glory and purpose. It is a covenant he makes with each one of us to fulfill his promises – if we only honor and keep our promise and covenants we have made with him.
How do we go forward with faith and purpose if one feels that God is distant? That our Heavenly Father is not hearing us no matter how we engage in worship? Despite keeping the commandments, praying regularly, studying the scriptures, there seems to be no answer from Him. It always seems that God may be withholding any wisdom, counsel, or guidance from us. After all, if our Heavenly Father truly desires an intimate relationship with us, that he truly cares and loves us – does he not want to help us?
We do not stop to consider that it is not God who is in hiding – it may be the very fact that we are hiding ourselves from God. And this may be something we inadvertently do. Other times it is because we have not humbled ourselves and sought forgiveness through repentance. Maybe there is some doubt within our hearts and minds where we question whether or not our Heavenly Father is close.
Next to humility – Charity is the most important virtues of our faith. The Apostle Paul observed that all spiritual gift pales in comparison to the virtue of charity (1 Corinthians 13). And what is charity? To show compassion and mercy to those who are suffering. To those who are in need. To those who are struggling. Charity is the heart and soul of service and ministry. Without compassion and mercy, no other spiritual gifts have any purpose or meaning – not even our own faith in God. The Apostle concludes that there are three important things in our lives: Faith, Hope, and Charity. His conclusion is that Charity is the greatest of the three.
There are many stories of people struggling in their faith. Many who have taken up the courage to step into church and to seek God. They bring with them fears, doubts, insecurities, challenges, trauma, and health related issues. They are broken and feel isolated and alone. They end up walking out of the Church forsaken, alone, and judged by self-righteous Christians who feel uncomfortable to having the homeless, the alcoholic, the addict, the individual who is broken and marginalized. Self-righteous Christians despise the sinners that desire to come unto Christ.
The Gospel is not a mandate to seek out those who are healthy and well (Luke 5:31-32). We are called to go out into the highways and byways (Matthew 22:9-10). To seek out those who are less fortunate. To minister to those who are broken. To sit with those who are living in sin. We are to reach those who are sick and lost.
True authentic fellowship is about experiencing life together and growing in faith with one another. It includes charity, sacrificing, being of service, empathizing, sitting in counsel to comfort and mourn. True authentic fellowship promotes a healthy sense of belonging.
One may worship and next to them is a doctor or a janitor. A housewife herding children. No matter who is present – we all come together to worship and serve our Heavenly Father. And with that, we each bring our own understanding, our own perspectives, and our own unique talents and skills. And we are sitting next to others who are struggling with their own fears, doubts, insecurities, and possibly crisis of faith.
We desire real human connection. A place where there is a sense of belonging. And within that community, there is a commitment to not only be part of such a community, but there is also a commitment of fellowship between individuals to grow spiritually. And this only happens when the Holy Spirit moves upon us as individuals to recognize the need within each other. This need is peace – not the peace of the world but the peace of Christ (John 14:27 and Ephesians 4:3, CJB). And one of the challenges is to get past this idea that the Church is perfect, or the Gospel is true but that the people are imperfect.
Far too often we cite this tired out cliche as a means to encourage someone to come back to Church. To encourage those who appeared to have been offended, betrayed, hurt, or discouraged in some way. And while such a platitude is correct on the surface – it is shallow and lacking any pure love of Christ. It is an excuse to dismiss the person’s sense of betrayal, their sense of having been hurt, offended, or even feeling deceived on some level. Yes, the Gospel of Christ is true, and it is perfect. Furthermore, yes, we are imperfect individuals. However, if we are striving to cultivate a community of faith where it is vibrant, growing, maturing spiritually to where we ask for forgiveness, seek out reconciliation, empathize with those who have felt hurt and disappointment – then there is no true genuine fellowship.
The reality is that restoring broken relationships, to be reconciled with others, is quite a difficult task for us to undertake. Yet, it is significantly important to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we are humble, sincere, contrite, and motivated by the spirit and love of God to go forth with faith and purpose to seek reconciliation. To seek forgiveness. It is not easy to forgive those who have hurt us.
Another principle is that forgiveness is not merely enough. If we continue to hold onto those resentments, hold onto those bitter thoughts, we continue to despise and dislike those individuals that have offended us in some way – then we are not truly forgiving nor able to fully reconcile and restore broken relationships. Authentic forgiveness means we give up our bitterness and resentment. This motivates us to truly seek reconciliation and restoration of fellowship with another. It means we are willing to engage in the process of reconnecting, reestablishing a true relationship with those who have caused hurt, disappointment, and betrayal.
The hope is for each one of us to take a moment and see where we are at – what areas of our lives need the greater focus and continue to strive in working toward resolving those things we need to resolve. Grow where we need to grow, and in all things seek the will of our Heavenly Father.
The remainder of our journey shall focus on the following:
- Protecting our Testimony and Faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel
- Understand we are to become Like Christ
- Growing in Faith
- Being Transformed and Renewed by Gospel Truths
- How Adversity Shapes our Faith and Testimony
- Facing and Growing through Temptation
- Enduring and Overcoming Temptation
- Spiritual Growth and Maturation takes Time
- Making our Calling and Election Sure
- Utilizing our Spiritual Gifts
- Edifying and Uplifting Others
- Bearing much Fruit and Increase
- Traits of a Spiritually Mature Faith
- Being a Mindful Servant in Faith
- God’s Power, Love, and Glory is Magnified in our Weaknesses
- A Light unto the World
- Your Testimony and Sacrifice: A Message of Hope
- By Your Fruit They Shall Come to Know Christ
- Being Whole and Complete – Balancing Your Life
- Living a Meaningful and Purposeful Life
As we go forward with faith and purpose – let us continue to put behind us those things that may cause us to stumble. And if we do stumble, let us know that we are able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and place our feet back onto the path of righteousness as we continue to seek out our Heavenly Father’s will. The blessing of a promised land shall be available for all who take up their journey and seek to live out a life where they are growing and maturing in faith.