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The first step in partnering with Heavenly Father and all other divine powers available to you is to know who you are. More than your name, more than your talents, or what callings you’ve held at church – more than any label that has ever defined you is to know at your core absolutely who you are.
How to Know
An Example from Jesus’ Life
Just before Jesus heals the boy, He asks the father, “If you can believe, all things are possible.” The father’s immediate response is, “Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” In other words, I believe. I think I believe. I want to believe. What do I believe? I believe something; what do I not know yet that I need to believe? Will you teach me more?
In asking for help and expressing humility, this father opens doors to learning about faith. By asking to be taught, he is implying the most important question we can ask in our own spiritual journey: Yes, and?
Question what you think you know.
Take the faith you have, bring it to God and ask Him, “What else would you have me know about this?”
Following this first guideline will open doors you may not have realized were closed — or even there. Maybe you saw a blank wall, but by asking this question, you saw the outline of the door and a handle, or, how to open it.
As part of our learning experience, you may encounter principles you already know. Even if you think you know them, my experience has been that I find my understanding of those principles deepening and strengthening. This is an idea described in Isaiah 28:10: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little…”
What does it mean to receive a precept upon a precept, or line upon a line? “‘Now and again,’ as brother John Taylor says, until they receive a certain amount. Then they have to nourish and cherish what they receive, and make it their constant companion, encouraging every good thought, doctrine and principle and doing every good work they can perform, until by and bye the Lord is in them a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life” (in Journal of Discourses, 4:286–87).
Learning upwards. Line upon line.
This process is different than that of a cycle. In a cycle, you repeat the same thing, always returning to the starting point and rarely making any forward progress. However, in a spiral, you may find yourself revisiting something familiar, but this time it will be at a higher level, each time elevating you and your understanding and bringing you a little closer to God.
As you spiral upward, you will be added upon. Your understanding will be increased, your testimony of God and your relationship with Him will be strengthened, your concept of faith will be increased in power, and you will gain an understanding of your own power to create the life you have always wanted, do what you want to do, become who you know at your core who you are.
Paul told us where these principles are your you-ness are found when in 2 Corinthians 3:3 he talked about how the word of God becomes written in the fleshy tables of the heart.
I love the imagery of the word of God being written in our hearts. The words that Paul uses are profoundly descriptive and would have been even more meaningful to the audience he was speaking to back then. “Tables” are better translated as tablets. Paul was slyly making a play on words, comparing the word of God, or the commandments that were written in tablets of stone that Moses subsequently delivered to the children of Israel. Those early covenant members of the church discarded the word God tried to deliver to them, the very word that would keep them close to Him, in favor of more worldly pursuits.
The truth that Paul illustrates is that when God’s word is written in our hearts, on the organ responsible for our emotions, we are more apt to choose good and God than things of the world, or external pursuits.
How will we receive this word? We are going to find ways to have the word of God written in our hearts more deeply than ever before!
The truth that Paul illustrates is that when God’s word is written in our hearts, on the organ responsible for our emotions, we are more apt to choose good, and choose God, than to choose the things of the world, or external pursuits.
By having the word inside of us, it now becomes something intimate and deeply personal for each of us individually. The gospel may be something that is delivered universally, but when we take care to nourish that seed in our own hearts (see Alma 32), it becomes our own possession, something to cherish, and something that will never lead us astray.
So what is the process of having God’s word written on your heart? There are a lot of different starting points, but we’re going to begin with our own identity.
Who are you?
This is more than what do you do, or what color your hair is, callings you hold, hobbies your pursue, children you are rearing, etc. Who are you?
If that question seems difficult to answer right now, perhaps a better question is, who does God say that you are?
In a devotional address at BYU-Idaho, Sheri Dew talked about how to get answers to tough questions, or how to receive revelation. She called it “engaging in the wrestle.” Yes, sometimes getting these answers from God – the answers that will result in him ultimately reaching his finger to engrave them on your heart – can seem like a wrestle. From my own personal experience, I can reassure you that it is not because He is not listening or willing to answer us, but most often because we need to learn how to listen to Him.
This is where our “Yes, and?” guideline comes into play…again. You may think you know, but do you? And if you have received that answer once, when was the last time you asked? What do you know now? Has the answer changed at all?
“… our challenge doesn’t lie in what we think we know. It lies in what we don’t yet know.
“…there are two questions that will help open the heavens. First, ask the Lord to teach you what it feels and sounds like for you when He is speaking to you via the Holy Ghost, and then watch how He tutors you. And, second, if you’ve never asked the Lord how He feels about you, that is a great question to ask. In time, He will tell you, and as He does, you’ll learn more about speaking His language. In time, He will tell you, and as He does, you’ll learn more about speaking His language.
“When the Lord sees that you want to communicate with Him, He will teach you how.”
As you learn more about speaking His language, specifically how He speaks to you, you will gain confidence in asking, “Yes, and?” Is there more? What else would you have me know?
But for now, let’s start with one basic assignment. Go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him who you are. And as part of the “Yes, and?” challenge, ask Him what He thinks of you.
The very basic principle you should have a firm understanding of is that you are a daughter of God, of divine heritage. The scriptures testify of this truth, we sing hymns about it (see “I Am a Child of God,” Hymns, 301), and if you’ve ever been to a Primary class, you’ve heard it taught there.
When Paul the apostle visited Athens, he saw a altar with a plaque that read, “To the Unknown God.” (Acts 17:23.) In an attempt to introduce the people of Athens to God, Paul describes some of the attributes of God, that He made the world and everything in it, the heavens as well as the earth, and is the one who gives life to everything. The verses that is of particular interest to me are 27 and 28.
First, verse 27:
“That they (all men and women) should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.” The Joseph Smith Translation sheds more light on the word “haply” by saying, “if they are willing to find him, for he is not far from every one of us.”
God is not far away! Any distance we may feel is created solely by us.
Then in verse 28:
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
The word “offspring” here has roots from the Greek, “genos,” which means family. You may also see a similarity between that word and “genes,” something we know through modern science to be hereditary attributes passed from one generation to another through blood. So not only are we God’s offspring, but we are part of Him, part of His divinity.
Pause… And Ask
How do I feel about this right now?
How does it make you feel?
To be related to God is no small thing. This is more than just a vague concept of an ethereal being floating in the ethos somewhere, who may or may not give direction to your life.
Listen carefully: You. Are. A. Daughter. Of. God. Not only that, but you are a direct descendant of divinity.
What does that mean to you in this moment?
What questions does that make you want to take in prayer?
What do you hope to learn?
Now take those questions in prayer. Do not prejudge what answers you think you will receive, simply ask, “Who am I? What do you think of me?” and listen for the answers.
(Yeah, this is required…)
1. How do you communicate with me?
2. What do you think of me?
Write those answers down.
Then ask, “Yes, and?”
Be prepared to be blown away as you learn about your divinity and what God thinks of you.