And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them … and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
~ Abraham 3:25-26 –
What does it mean that this life is a test? What does this have to do with us going forward in faith and purpose? Sherry Drew observes:
… this life is a test. It is a test of many things – of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires. Yet there are times when the vision and hope of a Big Finish are dimmed by immediate demands, days when one might wish for a mortal exam that was a little more manageable.
Thankfully, our experience here is an open-book test. We know why we are here, and we have from prophets ancient and modern an extensive set of instructions. But at the risk of sounding simplistic, may I suggest that the mortal experience is largely about vision – our vision of ourselves and our ultimate Big Finish. And vision is determined by faith. The firmer our faith in Jesus Christ, the clearer our vision of ourselves and what we can ultimately achieve and become.Sheri L. Drew – This is a Test. It Is Only a Test – July 2000 Ensign
Sheri Drew quotes Prov. 29:18 and shares how vital a vision of who we are and what we can become, of our intrinsic value to the Lord, of the unparalleled role we must play in these latter-days as part of our spiritual survival. And how do we gain a vision of who we are? Faith in Jesus Christ. Or seeing ourselves as the Lord sees us.
The Israelites placed their faith in Moses, who placed his faith in God because of the vision he received of where the Israelites were heading. The vision Moses beheld was first and foremost that he was called a Son of God (Moses 1:4). His vision also included the work and purpose the Lord will call him to perform.
Possessing this vision, Moses was able to declare with conviction who he was. How many of us are able to say with great confidence and conviction who we are? Most of us may have forgotten who we are because we have forgotten who our Heavenly Father is and who Jesus Christ is.
Thus, this life is a test because it is for us to grow in faith in knowing who we are because we grow in faith understanding and knowing our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Here is what the Savior said:
For this is life eternal that they may know thee, the one true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.John 17:3, KJV
This is the hope of our Heavenly Father – that we come to know who Christ is. As we come unto Christ and follow after Him, we come to know our Heavenly Father. Again, the Savior challenged the religious piety of the religious leaders. For he declared:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.John 14:16-17, KJV
At the October 2016 General Conference, then Elder David A. Bednar observes:
A grand objective of mortality is not merely learning about the Only Begotten of the Father but also striving to know Him. Four essential steps that can help us come to know the Lord are exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.If Ye Had Known Me
Here, Bednar summarizes key truths:
- Exercise Faith in Christ
- Follow Christ
- Serve Christ by serving others
- Believe and know who Christ is and reflect Christ-like attributes
Going forward with faith and purpose requires us to attain a vision of who we are and where we are heading. Without this vision, based on our faith in Jesus Christ, we are merely wandering aimlessly. The Bible says:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceiveEphesians 4:14 (4:1-32), KJV
Knowing this, we come to the awareness that our life is not insignificant. That there is purpose and reason for us – and that is to face life, endure, persevere, and overcome. A way to look at this is that whenever a chain, a rope, or a fishing line is made – it is put through a stress test. This stress test determines the amount of pressure and weight it is capable of managing before weakening and giving way.
This life is a test where we have an opportunity to grow and progress in faith. This comes when we have a right vision of who we are and where we are heading. It is founded upon who Jesus Christ is, our willingness to follow him, to serve him, and to believe in what he taught and how he ministered. As we grow in faith, we are strengthened and blessed.
Our mortality is a test where we are to gain a vision and understanding of who Christ is, thereby gaining understanding of who our Heavenly Father is. Having this vision helps us go forward in faith and purpose because we know who we are and where we are heading.
Meditate and Ponder:
How do I view my life at the present moment? Do I have a vision of knowing who I am in Christ? Do I fully believe in Christ? Am I truly following Him and serving Him to my full capacity and understanding? If not, what do I need to do to conform my heart and mind to the truth of the Gospel message of hope?