Friday, October 1, 2010

this life or the next?

"If we are too quick to adapt to the ways of this fleeting and flawed world, that very adjustment will maladapt us for life in the next"

It's sometimes very scary to think the more I love the things of this world the more I'm not ready for the next... because I do love many things of the world, not just things that I "shouldn't" but many beautiful, interesting, yet also trivial and temporary things. we are supposed to be preparing for a better world and i'm not sure the things i do are preparing me all that well... and really, when it all comes down to it, shouldn't EVERYTHING I do be doing so?

Sheri Dew wrote that "this life was designed to be a test -- a test to determine if we want to be part of the kingdom of God more than anything else. Mortality offers a wide range of experiences and opportunities, everything from countless ways to serve our fellowman to an endless array of distractions, deceptions and modes of self-gratification. When all is said and done, perhaps the most fundamental question we each answer is, Do we want to be part of the kingdom of God -- both here on earth and in eternity -- more than we want anything else? And do we demonstrate by our choices and priorities, by how we live our lives -- everything from the way we spend our time and energy to the way we spend our influence and resources -- what we really care about? (from If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard)

But it's hard sometimes to recognize.

In his book Christianity and Culture C.S. Lewis discusses how "the real business of life" is "the salvation of the human soul" (agreeing with what the Lord himself has said, "For this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life on man" Moses 1:39). He explains how he began to Question the worth of culture -- those highly valued natural things, "of intellectual and aesthetic activity" -- to a true christian (and if it is not "good for its own sake or good for man" then, "how are you justified in spending so much of your life on it?"). While I won't get into the mechanics of his foray into answering this question, one thing that came into my mind when I asked myself the same question was the later part of the 13th Article of Faith "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." I think any activity, intellectual, aesthetic, or otherwise must be judge on an individual basis. Does it encourage virtue? Does it exemplify loveliness? Is it worthy of praise for the value it gains in promoting charity or glorifying God? The degrees may change, but if something is can be said to be GOOD, i.e. of God or (according to the dictionary) approved by the standards of the principles of the gospel and possessing/displaying moral virtue (and not merely giving pleasure for the sake of pleasure or advantage in worldly respects) then I think you can begin to make your own determination as to the time you allot to it.

Going back to the quote above from Elder Maxwell, the simplest answer is if what I am doing is not aiding me in my preparation to be a part of the world to come...then it is "maladapting" me. And I really don't have time to waste on it...I need all the preparation I can get!

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