The Doing Muscle- Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV), Matthew 6:34

Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

COMMENTARY

Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap
Take therefore no thought for the morrow. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
I often find that when I feel the urge to make a change for good I have no shortage of reasons to not do it quite yet. I say to myself “I will do it, for sure, just as soon as I get past this really busy time. Then I’ll be able to make that change.”
Now, even if things did work out that way–which they never do–then what would I have as a result? A soul that does whatever is right…when it is convenient to do so. So maybe tomorrow would be more ideal, and I would do what was right. But then when the day after tomorrow was hard again? I just give up once more? That is a far cry from the quality of character that I, or anyone else, yearns for.
Each of us wants be the one who persevered in spite of great opposition, the one who did what was right when it was hard to do what was right, the one who stuck to their principles no matter how much fire they came under, the one who is unconditionally good. And that sort of character just cannot be developed by waiting for fair weather. We have to plant today, whatever today’s conditions may be.

The Doing Muscle- Luke 9:61-62, Matthew 7:21

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

COMMENTARY

I will follow thee; but let me first…
I can certainly relate to this idea of “I’ll follow, but let me first…” I want to improve, I want to do right things, I am convinced in my head of what those right things are, but I am not yet converted to them in my heart.
And I think it helps to recognize and differentiate between these two stages of becoming an active disciple. It is true that before anything else, we need to be convinced of the truth. Before we can worry about the problem of not following our conscience, we first need to become sensitive to what our conscience is even saying. Simply being able to identify what is right and giving a name to it is an essential first step.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God

But having that knowledge is not enough. Intending to do good simply is not the same as doing good. As we see from this verse, intending to do good alone does not make one fit for heaven.
And it is important to understand that there is no hateful retribution in Jesus’s proclamation of one being unfit for heaven. This isn’t about punitive punishments. The simple fact is that God is a doer, He is a being that has intentions and follows through on them. His kingdom, therefore, is one of doing, one of following through on intentions. If we haven’t developed within ourselves the same trait, then we simply will not fit in with that atmosphere. We wouldn’t feel that we belonged.
So if we want to join the society of the celestial, we must learn how to be doers.

The Doing Muscle- Ecclesiastes 11:4, Doctrine and Covenants 64:25

He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today.

COMMENTARY

He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap
I believe that most of us can relate to hearing a sermon that stirred our hearts, or having a our conscience pricked towards improvement, or having our minds taken by a thought of something good to do…but then saying to ourselves “not right now, though…I’ll worry about that tomorrow.”
And in that is a most pernicious lie. For each of us knows from experience that when tomorrow comes, we do not make the change then either. The deceit is in thinking that we can even make a decision for what we will do tomorrow. We can not. Indeed we never make choices for future events. We have before us only a single moment called “the present” in which to make all our choices, and everything else is off the table.
And thus there is only one choice that we are making when we say “I will do it tomorrow.” What we really mean is “I will not do it now.” That is the one choice. “I could do it now…but I will not. I could be someone different here in this moment…but I will not be.” And if we will not be someone different now, then how could we hope to be the sort of person tomorrow that would make the good choice instead? Rather we will be the same procrastinator then that we are today.

Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today
The only way that any of us will ever change who we are, the only way that we will ever improve in the ways that we must, is if we make the decision to do so right now. There has never been a person in all of history that changed their life “tomorrow.” Do it today, or it won’t be done.

The Doing Muscle- Question

For this study I wanted to take a broader topic, one that I expect will take me to a plethora of different scriptures and examples. The motivation for this particular topic stems from a conversation I had recently, where I spoke about how scripture study agitates my conscience into wanting to be better, and how I still struggle to meet that desire.

With this study, then, I want to examine how one develops the power of actually doing. How does one take the knowledge in their mind, the desire in their heart, and turn these into the actions that they actually do? For it is abundantly clear to me that having knowledge is the first step to changing oneself, yet one can have a sound understanding of right behavior but not live a single piece of it.

I would be curious in the meantime to hear how you have faced this challenge in your own life. What do you do when you know what is right, but you just feel no motivation to do it? Have you ever attained your goals of self-development, but then struggled to extend yourself to new ones? Are there any core principles that you cultivated in your heart first, and from that found other practices naturally falling into line?