Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 1:31

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

At several points in this creation story God has pronounced His work as being good. This is the first time it is emphasized as being “very good.” Sometimes when we look back at our creative work we are also flushed with a sense of pride at what we have accomplished, surprised that something so good was able to come out of us. Other times we feel disappointed at how inferior the end result is compared to what we had imagined, either the result of lacking necessary skills or of having rushed things. In either case, we all feel that yearning to create something significant and pronounce it “very good” as our Heavenly Father did.

And this brings us to the conclusion of Genesis: Chapter 1. As we move on we will find that all this earth’s creation was merely a backdrop for the drama that would play out on it: the story of all mankind.

Active Discipleship- Summary

This has been a very good study for me. I find it very easy to slip back into a state of idle complacency, and every time I catch myself in it, I need to find a source of inspiration to push back into intentional discipleship. At those times I find that motivational words and stories go a long way to building up my resolve. Perhaps this study will be another good resource for me to reflect on in those moments.
Indeed, the more I think about it, all scripture is meant to motivate us towards a life of active discipleship in one way or another. Reading them, I find myself compelled to do the things I am otherwise hesitant to do. Keeping the commandments, reaching out to others, finding productive ways to improve myself…each of these sound like a chore when I am not drinking from God’s words.
Here are some of the principles that stood out to me the most from this study.

God Does Not Call Us to Live Passively

The example everywhere in the scriptures is of active men and women who would go and do. David fought Goliath where others remained idle. Esther spoke up to the king where others were afraid. Jesus healed the lepers that others refused to approach. Testimony is built by those who go out and look for it, not by those who sit and wait for it.
Each one of us wants to live a meaningful life as well, but we want it to come to us easily. We want to live passively, but still feel like we are adventurous. I have watched myself go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to try and accomplish just that. I try to convince myself that my sedentary life is actually one of purpose, that my small trials are epic giants, that my passive hobbies are my great calling.
But no matter how I try to spin it, a hollow life is still hollow and I know it. I have called mediocrity significant, but the words always tasted a lie. I only can have the active, adventurous, and meaningful life that God meant for me to live when I do that which I find hard to do.
2 Nephi 1:21, 23- Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;
Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

The Conscience Distresses the Idle

What is the part of me that tastes the lie when I claim I am content with an idle life? That sense of in-authenticity cannot be explained by chemistry or biology, it something in my soul that discerns the truth from the error. It is something given by God.
When I feel the push to overcome my laziness and act, I know that it is divinity that is inspiring me. And therefore I know that I ignore those urges at my own peril. One of the greatest gifts God gives is to distress us when we are slothful. It may not feel like love to be made so agitated, but if He did not stir our hearts then we would live in a world without any heroes.
This isn’t to suggest that we must all become generals of armies or leaders of congregations. Not all of us are called to revolutionize the entire world. But we are all called to live a life that is meaningful, a life that blesses the world around us, a life that unveils the worth within us. Not every life calling that God gives is famous, but all of them are epic in their own way.
Romans 2:15- Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;
John 14:12- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We Only Have Peace in Doing

Hard as it may seem to live the life of active discipleship, it is actually far harder to live that of idle discontent. Just as it is hard to bear one’s cross and live worthy of heaven, but far harder to spend an eternity in damnation. So God does not trouble us without cause. He does not ask us to do things that are not for our own good.
There is only one true peace, and that is from pushing further and further into the good. Any other philosophy is a lie, meant to seduce us into sleeping away our great potential. There is a reason why slothfulness is considered one of the deadly sins. It is not some silly misdemeanor that we can wink at. Yes, Satan tempts us to sin, but he also tempts us to just not do good. If he catches us on either point he has won.
Christ’s promise is that his burden is light, that his cross is easy to bear. It seems unfathomable , but that is the promise even so. We will never know the truth of it until we try it, and find the warmth of heart that makes all our burdens melt into joys.
Malachi 3:14- Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?
John 14:27- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Active Discipleship- Isaiah 26:3, John 14:27

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

COMMENTARY

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee
I spoke yesterday about how we will never be able to live in peace until we live with a clean conscience. And we will never live with a clean conscience so long as we are not actively pursuing a deeper relationship with God.
The fact is that most of us get lost in complacency, when what we really need to find is contentment. Satan is very skilled at using his counterfeits to distract us from what truly matters. He gives us lust when what we’re really looking for love, he gives us idle distractions when what we’re really looking for a Godly calling. Complacency in place of contentment is just another of his deceits.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you
Contentment is the peace that Christ offers to us, which peace cannot be found anywhere in the world. Contentment is what we feel when we genuinely try our best and are proud with the person we are becoming. Contentment is always worthy of pursuit.
Complacency, on the other hand, is the so-called peace that the world offers. It is a cheap knock-off, one that tries to convince us that we are satisfied. Satisfied without self-improvement and satisfied without a connection to God. It appeals to our fleshy desire for idle laziness, and is most pernicious in how subtly it lulls us into inaction.
There is quiet contentment and there is muted complacency. One is the peaceful rest of the soul, the other is the disquieted tossing of a stupor.