Nurture The Spirit, By James D. Simmons

How do wise virgins fill their souls (lamps) with redeeming light and knowledge (oil)? With meek (gentle) and lowly (humble) hearts, they enter into Jesus Christ’s fellowship and rest. They become easily entreated by Him, because their desires our to become like Him. Thus, they seek with real intent to do what Jesus would do, in all things. For example, rather than setting their hearts so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, they govern their lives solely by a true desire to do what Jesus would do in all things. Thus, when tempted by evil to do something other than what Jesus would do, they forsake evil and come unto Him, and call on His name, and receive and obey His divine instructions. As they do this repeatedly in the face of evil, they receive the further light and knowledge they need to overcome every form of evil. Thus, they ascend to become increasingly more like Jesus Christ daily!

The ancient Hebrew word for sin referred to nomads who wandered away from their mark (their next place of watering). Wandering away from their mark, without correcting their course, led nomads and their animals to perish. Jesus’s mark was to do his Father’s will and to finish the work He was sent here to do. As He exercised faith to do His Father’s will daily, His Father gave Him understanding and knowledge to overcome each form of evil that temped Him to wander away from doing His Father's will.

The mark of wise virgins is to follow the Son, and keep his commandments, and to always do what Jesus would do, when a choice is placed before them. As we strive with real intent to do what Jesus would do, He lays claim upon His Father’s mercy and grace for us, that we may receive the further light and knowledge we need to overcome various forms of evil that seeks to lead us away from doing what Jesus would do! Hence, wise virgins take up the cross daily to live without quarreling or treating self or others unkindly, and without grieving God’s Spirit. They persist in such strivings daily, until dwelling always in God’s Spirit is made strong in them by God, who accepts offerings of dedication and perseverance, by giving us grace to do that which we cannot do alone, because of our sins and weakness.

Our battles are not against men, but against principalities of evil that tempt us to wander away from doing what Jesus would do. If we forsake sin and come unto Christ daily, and ask the Father in Jesus's name for needed help, and obey divine instructions that follow, we receive understanding and knowledge, which gives us power over evil in our lives. Rather than grow weary and faint in our walk with Christ through doubt, fear, pride, temptation, or otherwise; we become firm, steadfast, and immovable upon the rock of our salvation—to receive His power over every form of evil. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ and ever has been and ever will be for all who endure daily in God’s Perfect Will.

Our stories began long before this life and will continue long after it is over. As we seek to do God's will in our lives Jesus feels after us and helps us become like Him. Tests and trials we pass through are as necessary for us as they were for saints of other generations. They are customized for our growth and require sacrifice. Consider Abraham, who was a mere Nomad; yet, in his wanderings his will was swallowed up in God’s will. God’s perfect will was Abraham’s strait and narrow path to eternal life. It took a lifetime of test and trials, while pursuing righteousness, for Abraham to receive the Abrahamic Covenant, and beyond his mortal life to realize the unfolding of all God’s promises, which are still unfolding.

As we walk in God’s perfect will for us we become His true sons and daughters. It is by giving our whole soul and will to Him that our path to eternal life is made strait. In the tests and trials we pass through we become sanctified and are made pure and holy. Our journey requires patience, diligence, and divine perspective; for God’s plans for us are much larger than our own. At times we may suffer doubt and wonder if we have wandered away from our mark, because Satan’s enticements to do evil do not cease, and God’s timing regarding his promises are often different from what we imagine. For example, when God commanded Abraham, Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife, and from Hagar sprang forth a nation! But this was not how Abraham, or Sarah, imagined the blessing of children would come to them. They were required to wait upon the promise of children from their union, until natural child-bearing years completely passed them by.

Do you think Abraham ever wondered about his standing before God, or if he disqualified himself to become a father of nations? Abraham and Sarah wandered in a strange land and had no children born of their union, until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90. Have you ever been tested and tried to the point it felt as if God had forsaken you? What can such trials do for us? Can they help us own the light and truth we have already received more fully and prepare us to receive more? Without opposition, we cannot receive faith sufficient to lay hold upon further light and truth. Thus, we are tried, tested, and left wanting for something, in each stage of our lives.

Amidst his trials, Abraham grew to attain stature and wisdom before God and men, while being purged and refined in the fiery crucible of God’s perfect will, doing all that God asked of him for the cause of righteousness. After years of being tested and refined the Lord spoke to him from the heavens. He responded, “Lord, here am I,” and the Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac upon an altar. Consider the years of patient longing for a son and the hope Isaac represented to Abraham. No greater sacrifice could have been asked. Abraham knew, from having escaped being sacrificed in his youth, that sacrificing children was evil; yet, Abraham’s faith in the true and living God was now such that he knew that whatsoever God asked of him was for a righteous purpose!

True to his faith Abraham began his journey early the next morning, to where he would offer up Isaac unto God. After three days journey, he lifted his eyes and saw the mountain whereon he was to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac asked where the animal was that was to be sacrificed? Abraham replied that the Lord would provide. When the time came, Isaac submitted himself to be bound and made ready for sacrifice. As Abraham raised a knife in his hand to offer up Isaac unto the Lord, an angel stayed his hand and provided a replacement offering—a ram that was caught in a nearby thicket!

As Abraham righteously endured his greatest test of all, his faith was finished by the author and finisher of his faith. He learned that sacrifices God asks of us are restored to us one hundred fold, and more! Not only was Isaac restored to Abraham, but through Isaac, Abraham was given innumerable seed, and through the ministry of his seed, all nations of the earth are being blessed with the blessings of the Gospel.

If you would dwell in celestial realms with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other saints—give your whole soul and will to God as a righteous offering—to be consecrated and set apart for His holy purposes. Thus, you will receive the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and will find wisdom; and you will receive hidden treasures of redeeming light and knowledge, even great treasures,  to enable you to become, even as Christ is; and as you do God's perfect will you shall run and not be weary, and you shall walk and not faint under your burden of discipleship; and the destroying angel will pass you by.


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