Tuesday, June 27, 2017

To accept them on Satan's terms

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Friday Morning Session of the October 1976 Conference.
I can't stop thinking about this line from Howard W. Hunter's talk, "The Temptations of Christ":
The surest way to lose the blessings of time or eternity is to accept them on Satan’s terms.
It reminded me of this post about Satan's lies in the garden of Eden, and how God made truth out of them for the good of Adam and Eve.

It also reminded me of part of The Perilous Gard (great book—tells the Tam Lin story). At the end of the story, the faerie folk want their revenge on the brave girl who resisted their tricks and rescued her True Love from their kingdom under the earth. And the girl, though she has triumphed, is self-critical and unsure of herself. She thinks her True Love cannot possibly love her back. The faerie queen uses this uncertainty. She tells the girl she will give her a love potion. "If you will get him to drink this, he will begin to love you. Surely you will have time, before it fades, to make him yours forever." The girl knows the faerie queen cannot lie.

The trick is that the potion is simple berry juice. There is no spell. The man already loves the girl. Everyone can see this but the girl herself. And the revenge is that, once the girl believes in the spell, the free and real love of the man will appear a paltry and compelled thing; worthless. And thus the girl will create her own misery from nothing.

The surest way to lose the love of God is to tell ourselves we either don't need it or we don't deserve it. Not because the absolute existence of that love changes at all whether we believe in it or not. But it changes TO US. The very choice to disbelieve in that love blocks our ability to feel it properly.

The surest way to lose the blessings of eternity is to decide they aren't actually blessings at all.

Satan always lies, but he can't really change anything. It's our acceptance of his lies, our taking of them as our own truth, that is the true poison.

Other posts in this series:

2 comments:

  1. Reminds me of that Jacob scripture I probably talked to you about -- the one about how we can feast on his love if our minds are firm (and don't insist on doubting it based on whatever we feel -- self pity, unworthiness, etc). Another tied idea came to me when I WAS feeling a little self pitying like God wouldn't answer my prayer because I hadn't found the time to do every good spiritual thing. Rather than give in to that default line of reasoning, I felt I should at least entertain a glimmer of trust and look steadfastly towards him. It felt very going against the grain of where my natural self wanted to slide, but the minute I gave that effort, Isaiah 50:7 popped into my mind: "For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."

    Like you said here -- I think it is there. Waiting for us always. And we just tend to block it out on our own end by our false beliefs or by Satan's terms of "as soon as you earn it", etc.

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    1. That phrase about "not being ashamed" is so interesting, too. I have run into it in lots of other scriptures--the one that comes to mind is "they shall not be ashamed that wait for him" (or something like that). It's funny how a lot of our self-doubt just comes from...feeling silly or inadequate or unworthy of notice. Even ashamed that we are still "waiting" for miracles when logic suggests they won't come. But we need to fight those feelings (or replace them with righteous humility, I guess)! So I love that "setting my face like a flint"---it's like the opposite of being "stiffnecked" against the Lord. Stiffnecked FOR the Lord? Haha.

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