• Tiffany Miller

BLOG: (June 27-July 3) 1 Kings 17-19, "Standing out for Joy - ‘If the Lord Be God, Follow Him'"

Our natural man likes to blend in. We don’t like drawing attention to ourselves, especially if it’s the negative kind. We don’t want to stand out if society will paint us in a bad light because of it. Increasingly in these last days, if we’re living the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we’re going to stand out and stand apart from mainstream society. It’s hard, and it doesn’t always or even necessarily bring us joy…if we’re measuring by the world’s standards. The joy and peace of the gospel is different and it “passeth all understanding” (Phillippians 4:7). The Lord knows what He’s asked us to do and He knows the results of us being obedient.

The Israelites in this week’s Come Follow Me block had fallen into the trap of following mainstream society. Baal worship was socially accepted and endorsed by the leaders of their land. Falling into Baal worship was easy and required no thought or action on their part. They didn’t have to consciously think if it was the right thing to do. Didn’t have to wonder what more they could be doing to be doing what’s right. Easy. When we fall in with mainstream society, we don’t really have to use our critical thinking skills, our thinking is done for us. Sometimes, we do consciously decide to follow the world because the philosophies of men seem enticing and if we’re not close to the Spirit or perhaps we lack eternal perspective and understanding, they even seem reasonable and compelling.

Alma the Younger, in the Book of Mormon, also talked about easiness. He taught his son that some of the Israelites didn’t look at the Brass Serpent because it was too easy (Alma 37:46). He said it was the same for us: “the way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever” (Alma 37:46). The Lord taught His disciples that His “yoke was easy, and [His] burden is light” (Matt 11:30).

How can it be easy to follow the way that is prepared for us AND follow the ways of the world? It can’t be both ways. Following and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to experience true joy. Satan sure tries to mimic it for the world. We know that “wickedness never was happiness” though (Alma 41:11). President Nelson taught us that “Anything that opposes Christ or His doctrine will interrupt our joy. That includes the philosophies of men, so abundant online and in the blogosphere, which do exactly what Korihor did. If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy.” Elijah didn’t succumb to the easier wrong by falling in with the crowd and worshiping Baal. He stood up for what was right and challenged those around him to remember the Lord. “If the Lord be god, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). The Lord gave them a miracle to witness to show that He was the Lord, and not Baal. Elijah’s story shows us that it’s possible for personal faith in the Lord to thrive among the righteous even in a wicked environment. We have to be ever vigilant about not being casual with our gospel living.

I recently read a book called Essentialism; it’s by Greg McKeown. In it he shares a story of a sports coach teaching his players the acronym WIN: What’s Important Now? He wanted them to focus on what was important in that moment, not what the outcome of the game might be. It’s a good practice for us too. When I’m dealing with a less than ideal situation with my children, for example, getting them to clean up their toys, I can ask myself, “What’s important now?” Is it more important for them to clean up their toys or for them to trust me to know what’s best for them? The mindset for one is drastically different than the other. Focusing on cleaning up toys might lead me to frustration if they choose not to. Focusing on our relationship and fostering trust in me to lead and guide them leads me to patience, loving kindness, and gentleness. Keeping a perspective of what’s important/essential in the moment leads me to understand and see situations I find myself in differently. I am more calm and feel more peace when I strive for this perspective. This peace is the peace of Christ and it brings me joy.

Upon reading the aforementioned book, I gave myself a little exercise in finding what was essential to me. Finding what is essential to you gives you purpose. That purpose motivates action on our part. It motivates you to overcome the natural man and reach higher than you are. By the grace of God, we always excel more than if we were to go it alone. For this exercise, I asked myself what was essential to me and this is what I came up with.

Leading my children to Christ by example and mentoring [this implies to me that I’m doing the work, myself, to be a true follower of Christ]

How am I going to go about doing this👆?

  • Eating healthy and exercising

  • Making sure that our Spirit isn't blocked or limited by poor stewardship over our body

  • Easier to Hear Him

  • Learning and applying the doctrines of Christ

  • "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17)

  • Learning about the world around us He created (nature, science, math) to give the Spirit more “matter unorganized” to teach me Divine Patterns and principles

  • Learning about His interactions with people in history

  • How did/does He treat people?

  • Which of His attributes can be seen in history and in the lives of those that have lived before?

  • Learn how they lived the first and second great commandments - what patterns am I seeing in their lives that I can apply to get the same results of character development?

  • Learning and experiencing true joy

  • Seeing beauty

  • Creating beauty - music, relationships

  • Eureka moments

  • Cultivating strong relationships with my family members

  • Building trust which allows me to influence them and lead them to Christ

Standing apart from the world and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our lives and brings peace and joy to us that “passeth all understanding.” Each time we choose to exercise our faith, we choose to allow Him further into our lives and invite His Spirit to be with us. If He is God, we need to follow Him in all things (big and little), at all times (even when it’s inconvenient and we’re tired), and in all places (even when no one else is watching). He will lead us if we let Him.

I'm Tiffany and I live in sunny Arizona (love me some sunshine!). I have 5 beautiful daughters. I know what you're thinking, that's A LOT of estrogen! and you'd be right, but we have some of the greatest times known to mankind through our adventures in learning (we homeschool), loving, playing, and growing together. In my spare time, I love to read (I own literally thousands of books) and hike in the beautiful mountains near my home.

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