A benefit of writing is being able to go back and read what one has written.
The things of which I have chosen to write are the things I consider to be the “weightier” matters of life, and the principles that, to me, have brought great joy, hope, and peace; and how I have personally learned of or from them.
Recently, as I have been reading several of my previous posts another life learned truth, one that is common among, and at the core of nearly all the things I have written, was made manifest — INTENT.
In most cases the single aspect that determines if an act is good or evil is our intent of that action. A prime scriptural example that comes first to my recollection is that of the hypocrites, of whom Christ spoke these words:
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Despite the fact that these hypocrites did righteous acts, such as praying, and fasting, it was their intent that made them unacceptable to God. Consider Cain’s offering to the Lord in the Old Testament (Genesis 4:5-7; Moses 5:22-23).
This, to me, is one of the most fundamental and freeing truths there is, and what I mean by that is freeing from the expectations or philosophies of the world, as well as those who are of this world. In this same vein as we learn and grow in our ability to base our words, thoughts, and actions upon righteousness, with an eye single to God and His glory, we obtain a profound peace and assurance; a confidence much too great to express with words, as Jesus also observes just after His teachings previously quoted:
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
In order to ensure that our intent is right, we must learn to have our eye single to God, and His glory, and thus we cannot err. That is essentially how we become one with Him; making our will according to His will, and our mind as the Lord’s mind. As we strive and practice this, by asking ourselves in our choices and situations, that famous question: “What would Jesus do?”, and by praying unceasingly in the name of Christ, our minds and heart will turn to Him, and the Holy Ghost will show us all things that we must do, and write His commandments upon our hearts, to the point that we have no more disposition to do evil.