Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Am a Child of God (and You are, too)

One of the questions asked today in Sunday School was, "How does hearing that you are a Child of God, affect the way you think about yourself and the way you live?"

One of the first songs we are taught in primary is I am a Child of God.
As a member of the Church, by the time you are my age, you have sung this song and heard various versions featuring descants, etc. hundreds of thousands of times. Since everyone knows it, it is the go-to song when you don't have hymnals, or a pianist, when you need a special musical number (like the Relief Society sang today...).

Anyway, back to the question. Usually when a teacher asks a question, I think of an answer regardless of whether or not I intend to share it with the class. My answers immediately turned toward the young woman value of Divine Nature....and then I really began to think.

I recently read an article that talked about why fewer and fewer devout (Evangelical) Christians are waiting for marriage before they start having sex. The author asked if setting that standard for Christian youth was out of date, irrelevant, or pointless and the comments were rather disheartening. It is well-known that the world's standards and morality have had a complete shift toward more baser and carnal instincts. The majority of the comments had an attitude that saving sex for marriage was not only archaic, but stupid and they showed that they have little or no understanding of how sacred sex can be when it preserved to take place between husband and wife.
From the article:
Scot McKnight, author of “The Jesus Creed,” and "One.Faith: Jesus Calls, We Follow," acknowledges that young, single Christians face temptations that their counterparts in the biblical age didn’t face.
He  tells Relevant:
Sociologically speaking, the one big difference – and it’s monstrous – between the biblical teaching and our culture is the arranged marriages of very young people. If you get married when you’re 13, you don’t have 15 years of temptation.
It's through this justification, and many others, that the commenters basically conclude that pastors (and I would say, Bishops) should stop worrying about preaching about chastity. The world is all about instant gratification. As one blogger writes,
 I’m convinced we are a generation that has abandoned the concept of delayed gratification. Everything is instant. I like a song, I download it online. I want to talk to someone, I send a text. I have a thought, I update my status on Twitter. I want to have sex, I call up ol’ boy. We’re so: Think it, want it, get it, got it, next! that sometimes we don’t even stop to consider the consequences of our reckless actions.
There is nothing wrong with temptation. That's part of the tests we face in this life. The purpose of our mortal life is to be tested, and to remember that "There hath no temptation ataken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be btempted above that ye are able; but will with the ctemptation also make a way to descape, that ye may be able to ebear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave a beautiful talk called Stay on the High Road  in May 2004 (READ IT!) and said:
To accomplish His plan of happiness, the Great Creator planted within us an instinct that makes boys interested in girls and girls interested in boys. That powerful inclination can lead to beautiful experiences, or it can lead to terribly ugly experiences. As we look out over the world, it seems that morality has been cast aside. The violation of old standards has become common. Studies, one after another, show that there has been an abandonment of time-tested principles. Self-discipline has been forgotten, and promiscuous indulgence has become widespread.
But, my dear friends, we cannot accept that which has become common in the world. Yours, as members of this Church, is a higher standard and more demanding. It declares as a voice from Sinai that thou shalt not indulge. You must keep control of your desires. For you there is no future in any other course. I should modify that to say that the Lord has provided for repentance and forgiveness. Nonetheless, yielding to temptation can become like a wound that seems never to heal and always to leave an ugly scar. 
Shortly after I read the first article, I was having a discussion with my mom about Troy High School's forthcoming midwinter dance. In an effort to clean up the school dances, THS put out a form that each student had to sign before purchasing tickets. This came in the wake of the fact that during the homecoming dance, very immoral, very disturbing things were happening. Instead of an innocent high school dance (which, let's be honest, how many high school dances are really, truly innocent?) it was a raunch-fest, where girls, sans underwear, wearing incredibly short dresses were bending over, allowing guys to.... anyway, we don't need the images to understand the point. These are CHILDREN! and they were allowed to dance in such a way that is not appropriate for adults. The worst part of this story is that, the kids at the school are now boycotting the midwinter dance because they do not want to be held accountable to these standards. They wish to hold their own dance off of school premises, and their parents are in full support of this behavior -- and I suspect probably more.

I think I have touched a little bit on this before on my blog, but I feel very strongly about it, so I thought I would mention it again -- We need to hold ourselves, (and where applicable) our children and mostly ourselves accountable and to a higher standard then we have been doing! If we do, we prove that these standards are not only relevant, but worthy goals of how to live our lives.

So what does this have to do with being a Child of God?

As I was sitting in Sunday School, I felt firm testimony that knowing my divine heritage and understanding who I am as a daughter of God, helps me to meet the expectations that Heavenly Father has set for me. With the knowledge of my divine nature, I can go forth and set higher standards for myself and meet them, knowing that the Plan of Salvation, the commandments and the Atonement of Jesus Christ were set in place so that I can become more like my Father in Heaven. This is truth. Commandments do not become archaic. They do not become irrelevant. They were not set up for the Israelites, thousands of years ago. We are held accountable, even still. President Hinckley went on in his talk to say:

...I do not wish to be regarded as a killjoy. I do not wish to be thought of as an old man who knows nothing about youth and their problems. I think I do know something about these things, and it is out of my heart and my love that I plead with you to stay on the high road. Create fun with your good friends. Sing and dance, swim and hike, become involved in projects together, and live life with zest and excitement....
....Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him. What a marvelous and wonderful thing is prayer. Think of it. We can actually speak with our Father in Heaven. He will hear and respond, but we need to listen to that response. Nothing is too serious and nothing too unimportant to share with Him. He has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). He continues, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).
I know that as Children of God, we are blessed with a marvelous gift of agency to choose right and wrong. We are not just carnal bodies that are doomed to fall into the sins of this world. We have the choice to rise up, to say no, to turn away and choose a different course than those that would give in to temptation. And we must.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I'm extremely disturbed by those kids, and I'm even more disturbed by their parents.

    I mean, not like I am gonna be a perfect parent... but I'm going to be a parent and actually set standards and expectations that are not only the righteous, but safe and age appropriate choices.

    Some parents seriously blow me away.


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