Friday, April 8, 2016

The heavenly virtue of charity

I read a quote the other day by a general authority who said that “as we draw closer to the Savior, we realize how far apart we really are from Him.” The general authority says that as our awareness becomes greater, our desire to draw ever closer to Him increases greatly. He says that that is true humility when we know how far apart we are from our Savior. I have come to know for myself this semester that I am so far apart from my Savior and that I truly need Him.
               This semester I was going back and forth on if I should try to develop humility or charity. It started out as charity and then it went to humility and now it is charity. There are a few things I have learned for myself this semester on charity and humility. First of all, charity is everything. It is the pure love of Christ and it truly is the condescension of God which was manifested through love. Love is the perpetuator of everything. It is the only sustaining grace that enables us to endure to the end. Not just from a loving Heavenly Father but also from the love that we have for the Lord. This love is requisite to inheriting eternal life because it is the greatest of all of the virtues of God. The Lord has said in Moroni 7:46 “if ye have not charity, ye are nothing.” Even according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:2 it says “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Whatever knowledge we do obtain in this life; it will not matter if we don’t have Christ-like love.
               I have had several opportunities and experiences this semester that have enabled me to develop this heavenly virtue of charity. First of all, I took up a nanny job during the semester that has been taxing physically, mentally and emotionally. Before this job, I swore to myself that I would never become a nanny. But after much thought and prayer, I decided to take a leap of faith to this new opportunity. I was so nervous to become a nanny that I “[prayed] unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [I] might be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48) for those kids. I prayed so hard in my heart the night before and the drive over that I would love them and be a good nanny for them. My testimony of prayer strengthened as I found myself wanting to give everything I had to them. The first few days of being their nanny was Celestial; they really enjoyed me and I really enjoyed them. The next week, however, I got relaxed in my prayers and in my heart to give them everything. The results were stifling different than from what I had previously experienced. The little boy was not happy to see me in the morning or when I came to pick him up from school. I didn’t realize how slothful I had become from not feeling the need to be diligent in my prayer or scripture study. I was exhausted and disappointed. That Sunday I felt impressed to fast for Sydney and Ford on being filled with love for them and that they would like me in return. After my fast I felt impressed to look up nanny tips. The impression that I got from the reading was that Sydney and Ford could tell that I wasn’t very happy to be there and it was affecting my attitude and my ability to help them. From that realization I promised myself that no matter what, I was going to give my heart to the job more and to those kids so that could feel my inner happiness. I was so thrilled and so grateful that Heavenly Father answered my fast. The next day was wonderful. All of us, including the little boy, Ford, was so happy to see me and he listened to me more. My love for them has grown since then and I have come to know for myself what it means to “become like a little child.”
Another way that my charity has grown during this semester is through my prayers. I have noticed a difference in when I pray for others and when I pray primarily for myself. I honestly don’t feel the spirit as much when I am worried over my own needs and desires. From this last general women’s conference, Sister Linda K. Burton gave a talk on the new initiative called “I was a stranger” and she expounded upon the need to serve those outside of the country and also our neighbors. All of the talks that were spoken in that conference was centered on service and the need to be attuned with the spirit. My prayers have changed, in the way that I pray for people as well. Instead of asking “please bless my husband,” I ask “Heavenly Father, how can I serve my husband.” And then He tells me. I have also asked Heavenly Father to help me to know who I can serve and how I can serve them. When I act on those promptings, I can see how my desire to help others increases and my love for the world increases as well.
               In conclusion, the fruits that I have experienced from exercising my faith in Jesus Christ in developing charity have been miraculous. I can see how the Lord is using me as an instrument in His hands to bless the lives of those around me. I can see how He desires me to become like Him as I turn to Him and turn to others. I feel a greater abundance of joy and peace that I know can only come from “pure religion.” Pure religion is rendering service to others like Christ ceaselessly did and continues to do through the hands of others. I am so grateful that I was able to have these experiences this semester. I leave my humble testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

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