You Are Not Of This World
Satan uses camouflage. He makes bad things appear good, and good things appear bad. When the scriptures counsel us to be “in the world, but not of the world” (John 15:18-19), what it’s really saying is to not be of Satan. But we know, “Wickedness, never was happiness (Alma 41:10), yet we fall into Satan’s trap by agreeing with his twisted point of view. A few examples of this are going into an immense amount of debt to obtain an appearance of status and popularity, and using phrases such as “pro-choice” and “love is love”. I even had a textbook that told me that small doses of pornography can be “healthy” in adult relationships. The reality is that in order to obtain a fullness of happiness, of joy, we must choose to follow Him. Thus choosing a path that is not of this world.
Although we needed to come to this world, we were never intended become apart of this world, nor were we intended to stay here. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Elder Quentin L. Cook said,
“Separating evil from our lives has become even more essential since our homes are wired to bring much of what the Lord has condemned into our own living rooms if we are not vigilant. One of the most difficult challenges in our lives is to be in the world but not of the world (see John 15:19). Gospel doctrine makes it clear that we must live in this world to achieve our eternal destination. We must be tried and tested and found worthy of a greater kingdom. We must do as Abraham did when he pitched his tent ‘and built an alter unto the Lord’ and not do as Lot did when he ‘pitched his tent towards Sodom’ (Genesis 13:12)”.
I always found it interesting growing up when people would say that we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are a “peculiar” people. That we “stand out” in the world. I had an experience in high school where I decided to separate myself from the group of friends that I was in. I felt like they weren’t helping me progress with my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ and were making it harder for me to stay focused on the Lord’s path. It was a difficult time for me, and I remember watching them whisper about and mock me. I heard rumors that my friends were calling me a “Molly Mormon”. I was saddened by the comments and remarks behind my back of my once best friends. I told my father that they were calling me names such as “Molly Mormon”, and my dad lit up. He gave me a big hug and said, “Good! Let them call you those names. I’m proud of those names”. His response surprised me, and at the time I just laughed, but later recognized that my father was pleased because it was a moment where I truly was beginning to “stand out” and not be “of this world”.
So what does the world tell us? Well for me as a woman and a mother it tells me:
You have to do it all without help, raising kids, cooking and cleaning. oh and you have to start a successful business of some sort on the side. If you ask for help you are less than or not enough. Your home needs to look Pinterest worthy with perfect hand made crafts that decorate your walls, make sure to spend an enormous amount of money to obtain said Pinterest house or you will fall short. You have to look as though you never had kids, and make sure to have the perfect hair, makeup and clothes at whatever cost and at all times. You also should never share your testimony or faith openly with anyone around you or they may think you’re weird and reject you. You have to be the perfect mother which also means that your children have to be perfect. If they act out it’s totally a reflection on you has a mother. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD or any sort of mental illness you should never tell anyone in hopes that they continue seeing you has perfect. Make sure to only share exotic vacations and explorations on social media and make your life look more glamorous than it really is.
It’s laughable right? This is so completely ridiculous because it’s absolutely unattainable. It’s impossible. This past week in the Come Follow Me manual we studied the story of the rich man in Matthew 19. He asked the Lord, “what lack I yet?” to which Jesus responds, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven”. Then what happens? The young man went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. It’s worth noting that in the footnote of the word “Perfect” it says the word “Commitment”. The Lord was asking the young man if he could be committed. I can’t help but ponder what “riches” might represent in this story. For us it might be our time, our jobs, our faith, social status etc. I also find myself admiring the rich man for asking, “What lack I yet?” Are we humble enough to ask the Lord what we lack? Are we then faithful enough to accept his answer? I think the problem is often times when we say, “What lack I yet?” we are looking to the world for answers rather than getting on our knees and asking God. Our God who is good, our God who loves us as it states in the story of the rich man. Are we listening to the Pinterest and Instagram “perfect” pictures that are shouting at us what we lack rather than asking our loving father in heaven?
So how do we do this? How do we not be of this world? I find it interesting that Jesus presents a few seemingly impossible examples in the story of the rich man. When the young man asked “What lack I yet?” The Lord told him to sell ALL of his possessions. Has he ever asked us to sell all of our possessions? Ultimately leaving us homeless, and without anything to care for our family with? He then says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Is it possible for a camel to go through an eye of a needle? Not even close. The disciples were “astonished”, most certainly recognizing the impossible in the Saviors words, and then asked, “Who then can be saved?” To which Jesus responds, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” With GOD. The only way for us to not succumb to the world and Satan’s contributions to the world is WITH HIM. We cannot do it alone. It is impossible.
Quentin L. Cook says, “We cannot avoid the world. A cloistered existence is not the answer. In a positive sense, our contribution to the world is part of our challenge and is essential if we are to develop our talents.” So let’s do this. Let’s recognize the light that we hold, and not hide it under a bushel, but truly become the peculiar people we were meant to be. In the JST footnote of Luke 18:27 it says, “And he said unto them, It is impossible for them who trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God; but he who forsaketh the things which are OF THIS WORLD, it is possible WITH GOD, that he should enter in.”
Don’t believe the lies that Satan is telling, don’t let him fool you when he makes bad things appear good, for “wickedness never was happiness”. Don’t ask the world, “What lack I yet?” But fall on your knees and ask the Lord humbly, “What lack I yet?” Then have the faith to act knowing that “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27)”. The world needs you to not be of it, it needs you to rise above it. In one of my all time favorite talks Elder Richard G. Scott says, “We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become each day.” It’s encouraging to note this quote from Elder Larry R. Lawrence when we ask “What lack I yet?”,
“The Holy Ghost doesn’t tell us to improve everything at once. If He did, we would become discouraged and give up. The spirit works with us at our own speed, one step at a time, or as the Lord has taught, ‘line upon line, precept upon precept,… and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts,…for unto him that receiveth I will give more.’”
I want to end with a popular quote, a quote that I love, but the second half often gets overlooked.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world…We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”
So “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)”. Kneel in humble prayer, ask the Lord, “What lack I yet?” And then take him by the hand knowing that you can rise above the temptations, challenges and trials of this world with God, for with him, nothing shall be impossible.