23 Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the ainward vessel shall be bcleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also. (Alma 60:23)
I like what President Benson talks about in the talk “Cleansing the Inner Vessel”. He says “…we must cleanse the inner vessel, beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church.
“Ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow … until the good shall overcome the bad.” (Jacob 5:66.)
Things I can do to “cleanse the inner vessel”:
- Morning personal prayer
- Morning study of the scriptures, words of the prophets and manual
- Prayer throughout the day for help when temptation comes
- Evening personal prayer
- Consistent temple attendance
- Magnifying my calling, whatever it is
- Home evening with my family
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.” (2 Ne. 28:21.)
“O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell … awake … [and] put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.” (2 Ne. 1:13, 23.)
Being idle is a danger that I can fall in to. As I’m “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (as the ones mentioned above), I feel I’ll be fully armed with the armor of God to fight off the fiery darts of the adversary in all areas of my life.
President Benson warns about the dangers of sexual immorality and mentions that even the Prophet Joseph Smith mentioned that sexual sin and immorality would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other.
9 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the alusts of your eyes, but bcross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and ccross yourself in these things. (Alma 39:9.)
I cross referenced the word “cross” and found quite a few other scriptures. To me, the act of “crossing yourself” is doing the will of the Father; it’s “self-mastery”, which is really only possible through the Atonement of the Savior.
When I looked at “Self Mastery” in the Topical Guide, it was interesting what I found:
cease from anger, and forsake wrath.
soft answer turneth away wrath.
let him deny himself, and take up his cross.
not as I will, but as thou wilt.
seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked.
bridle all your passions.
Pray always, that you may come off conqueror.
What I think is interesting is each of these scriptures touch on the core issues I’m dealing with: easiness to anger (or lack of patience), submitting my will completely to God (or letting go of my pride and self-will), bridling my passions (controlling my thoughts and eyes via the Atonement), consistent personal prayer (again, submitting my will to God).
It’s really interesting what President Benson says right after this scripture passage:
Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, as I’ve been doing my study of the scriptures, “I wish there was a ‘How To’ or that the prophets were more ‘This is how you do it…’ and THEY ARE. It doesn’t get any more direct than this.
“And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.” (D&C 84:57.)
“That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.” (D&C 84:58.)
The Prophet Joseph said that “the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction.)
President Romney added, “It is of course obvious that unless we read, study, and learn the principles which are in the Book of Mormon, we, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church, cannot comply with this direction to teach them.
“But there is another reason why we should read it,” President Romney continued. “By doing so we will fill and refresh our minds with the constant flow of that ‘water’ which Jesus said would be in us—‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ (John 4:14.) We must obtain a continuing supply of this water if we are to resist evil and retain the blessings of being born again. …
“If we would avoid adopting the evils of the world, we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds with and call them back to the things of the Spirit. I know of no better way to do this than by reading the Book of Mormon.”
Again, it doesn’t get much more “How to resist evil” than this. It’s pretty simple: “IF I read and study the Book of Mormon consistently, THEN I’ll be filled with the Spirit, THEN I will be able to ‘resist evil and retain the blessings of being born again…and avoid adopting the evils of the world’.
I have to ask myself every day: “How bad do I want this?”
“And so, I counsel you, my beloved brothers and sisters and friends everywhere, to make reading in the Book of Mormon a few minutes each day a lifelong practice. “I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness.” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, pp. 110–13.)
And there’s the answer on how I can better have patience with my kids and family too – reading the Book of Mormon consistently in my home, both personally and with my family.
President Benson finishes the talk on “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” with portions of the “Beware of Pride” talk (I looked at the dates and the “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” talk was given in May of 1986; the “Beware of Pride” talk was given in May of 1989) :
Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.
Pride is characterized by “What do I want out of life?” rather than by “What would God have me do with my life?” It is self-will as opposed to God’s will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God.\
Today has been a very productive study. I feel I’ve received some very DIRECT answers to my questions and concerns and difficulties.
The Gospel is simple; it’s not easy, but it’s simple and concrete.
I know, as I submit my will to God and put off the natural man by studying the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, all other things will fall in to place in my life and I will be truly happy.