Implicit in agency is the need to discern between good and evil. I used to believe that one could get this right simply by listening to the Spirit. That might require faith in the form fasting/prayer, study and other efforts, and a lot of patience. That’s the easy answer, but it doesn’t take much thought before one realizes there are certain complications.
Previously discussed is the expert impersonation Satan can do of the Savior. Said differently, the most important discernment might be identifying God’s voice from the malefactor. But, if we can’t discern that, then we can’t discern truth from evil. We know of stories of the dark and oppressive forces folk have experienced. I have such a story. Many do. If that were always the case, discernment would be easy. But, we have no reason to presume that Lucifer (aka. the light bearer) lost his light (e.g., knowledge, intelligence) when he was expelled (truth, and therefore glory, sure, but let’s presume he retains his brilliance and is substantially smarter than we are). So how do we know that the voice, the feeling, the impression we receive is from God?
From the Book of Mormon, we have the following:
“…there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord: and that which is evil cometh from the devil.”Omni 1:25
So, solved. Right? Yes, if we know how to discern good from evil. But wait, wasn’t that the original problem? Unfortunately no, we don’t know. We most likely think we do. All that our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and our priests taught us is true and therefore good. Haha. Sure. They had no cultural or other kind of bias, no false beliefs, no unbeliefs, no priestcrafts. If we are honest, there is a pretty good chance that very little of what we know to be true actually is true. It is most certainly not complete.
So then, how do we discern? This has baffled me for most of the last year plus. I awoke this morning with the thought, we can know the truth if and only if our “eye is single to the Glory of God.”
In church today, as with the first week of every year since I can remember, there were all kinds of instruction and discussion about how to set goals, etc. These discussions were generally focused around self improvement. There was even mention that God will help us achieve these, if we act in faith. Implicitly, since it is God’s work and glory to bring to pass the eternal life of man, He will help us obtain our goals. Nothing was said about our motivations for doing so. It sounded nearly narcissistic. Nothing was said about seeking for the glory of God.
More to come….