For the Love of God

I’ve had a scripture journal for over a year, but I’ve really been setting aside time to actually use it as a way to prepare to serve a mission. I’ve been journaling my way through the Book of Mormon the past several weeks, and it has proven to be an indispensable and profoundly spiritual experience that has really helped me feel more confident in my knowledge of this sacred book of scripture. It is slow going, but I enjoy every moment of study as I work my way, verse by verse, through each chapter. I work early in the morning and in the evening (trying to get used to missionary hours – up at 0630, in bed by 1030), and have found that I am really learning a lot, not only about the Book of Mormon, but about myself, Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Father.

I definitely have found that I have a testimony of scripture journaling! I got the idea from one of my favorite blogs, The Redheaded Hostess, but have really made it my own. I’ve always taken detailed notes in my Institute classes, but this is my way of amping it up – backing up scriptures with quotes by general authorities, writing my testimony beside verses, and drawing diagrams and pictures so that my brain can understand and retain what I’m learning. My desk is constantly cluttered with post-it notes, colored pencils, pens, glue sticks, and other crafty nonsense, as well as two sets of scriptures, an Institute manual, and a few other items.

Why does this matter to you?

Because I’ve learned something and I can’t but share it.

It’s all for the love of God.

And not in the ‘I dropped a hammer on my foot and that’s what exploded out of my mouth’ way. In the everything that we’ve been given, especially the Gospel, it all exists because of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. For the love of God.

I feel like I can’t emphasize it enough.

In 1 Nephi 11, an angel instructs Nephi to “look!” and what does he see? Evidence of the love that Heavenly Father has for all of his children. He sees first the tree of life, which the angel describes as: “the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.”

Heavenly Father have blessed us with so many things, most of all, He blessed us with Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation. The little things and the big things, from buttercups and daffodils to families and the prophet. It’s all because He loves us, and because our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, loves us too.

In verse 16 of 1 Nephi 11, the angel asks Nephi, “knowest thou the condescension of God?” Here’s the thing. Condescension means to make or become equal to. Look at Christ. He came to this earth, born in a stable among animals, in the most humble of circumstances. He was the object of ridicule and hatred, He was mocked and beaten. He went through immense physical, emotional, and spiritual pain in Gethsemane and on Calvary. All because He loves us, and because it was meet that He knew what we went through in order to make the perfect sacrifice necessary that we could live with our Heavenly Father again.

It’s all for the love of God.

And it doesn’t end at Christ or our Father in Heaven. We have a responsibility as well, for the love of God.

Because we have been so blessed, we are asked to pay it forward. As a show of love and gratitude, we are expected to serve and protect our fellow man, to act as an under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd, to be our brother’s (and sister’s!) keepers, to keep the commandments, and to testify of God’s love for His children.

This is what the Gospel is all about, and what it all comes down to, what it all culminates in. God’s love for all of His children, and His desire that we return to Him.

It’s all for the love of God.

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