- Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations. His expectations for us are expressed by His Son, Jesus Christ, in these words: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect”. He proposes to make us holy so that we may “abide a celestial glory” and “dwell in his presence”. He knows what is required, and so, to make our transformation possible, He provides His commandments and covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most important, the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son. In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is.
He outlines the purpose of his talk with this comment:
- I would like to speak of one particular attitude and practice we need to adopt if we are to meet our Heavenly Father’s high expectations. It is this: willingly to accept and even seek correction.
Of correction he say:
- Correction is vital if we would conform our lives “unto a perfect man, [that is,] unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct.
He says chastisement comes in three forms and gives us information about each one:
- Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path.
TO PERSUADE US TO REPORT
- Consider first of all repentance, the necessary condition for forgiveness and cleansing.
He shares several scriptural examples of people that have been chastised but have been given greater blessings later on. He speaks of the Brother of Jared who spent three hours being chastised for the things he was not doing right but as he corrected his actions, was eventually able to see Christ due to his faith.
- The fruit of God's chastisement is repentance leading to righteousness.
TO REFINE AND SANCTIFY US
- In addition to stimulating our repentance, the very experience of enduring chastening can refine us and prepare us for greater spiritual privileges.
He quotes Elder Paul V. Johnson who said:
- We should take care not to resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.
AT TIMES TO REDIRECT OUR COURSE IN LIFE TO WHAT GOD KNOWS IS A BETTER PATH
He shares the story of the current bush as told by Elder Hugh B. Brown. Elder Brown cut back a current bush from being over 6 feet tall to just a stump. He noticed some water coming from the stump as if it was a tear. He told the bush that he was cutting him down in order to help him become all that he is suppose to be. Years later when Elder Brown was passed up for a promotion in the military because he was a Mormon, he was mad at God for it but recalled the words from this experience with the current tree. He believes that if he hadn't been cut down from this promotion he would have never become the apostle that the Lord needed him to be.
In Summary he says:
- If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need, whether it be comforting, strengthening, or chastening. If we are open to it, needed correction will come in many forms and from many sources. It may come in the course of our prayers as God speaks to our mind and heart through the Holy Ghost. It may come in the form of prayers that are answered no or differently than we had expected. Chastening may come as we study the scriptures and are reminded of deficiencies, disobedience, or simply matters neglected. Correction can come through others, especially those who are God-inspired to promote our happiness.
Elder Christofferson offers some final advice on how we can be better people and help others that are in need.
- We can help one another as fellow Church members; it is one of the primary reasons that the Savior established a church.
- Parents can and must correct, even chasten, if their children are not to be cast adrift at the mercy of a merciless adversary and his supporters.
- Remember that if we resist correction, others may discontinue offering it altogether, despite their love for us. If we repeatedly fail to act on the chastening of a loving God, then He too will desist.
- Eventually, much of our chastening should come from within—we should become self-correcting.
Finally he leave us with this final thought:
- Let us pray for His love-inspired correction.
The one line that stood out to me the most was that Correction can come through others, especially those who are God-inspired to promote our happiness. I think that would mean my Bishop, my priesthood leaders, my home teachers, general conference talks, etc. As we look to these people as sources for guidance, they can provide us added insight into what we need to do to be better disciples of Christ. It might not always we what we want to hear, but as these people seek the counsel from the Lord, it can be what we need to hear. I hope that I can be less offended when someone offers me advice on things I can do better.