Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Noble Birthright

I have been thinking about this a lot today because we talked about it in institute. And I'm sorry to turn my family blog into a sermon every time I post (and I really do promise I have pictures to post SOON.) But, today in institute, my teacher, Brother Peterson, talked to us about our birthrights. I'd always thought these were our lineage and the things promised to us, or back in the times of the Old Testament when the eldest (or whomever Heavenly Father chose, really) was given the "birthright" of the family.

Well, today we talked about how EACH of us are birthright children of Heavenly Father. And I loved it. It made me realize that I need to strive to do better and BE better everyday. Heavenly Father has promised us things IF we live righteously on earth.

We live in a world where Satan is constantly trying to win us over. He has his army attacking families and individuals with media, stress, morality issues ... the list goes on and on. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get us to join his ranks - he stops at nothing and he has no shame.

Now, think about the story of Esau and his twin brother Jacob ... Esau came to Jacob and asked him for some "mess pottage". Jacob was only willing to give Esau the pottage if he gave up his birthright. Esau agrees, gives up his birthright and enjoys the pottage ... just like that. How often are we Esau's? How often do we forget the birthright that we have and how quickly are we willing to give it up for a quick moment of enjoyment or pleasure?

I was talking with a friend about this tonight and he said that there is never anything worth giving up our birthright for - it doesn't matter if it's 5 minutes or 5 years of pleasure. Nothing is worth the guilt or the humiliation that one wrong choice would cause.

A lot of the time Satan will make us rationalize the choices we are making. I know I have been there. I sit and think ... well, it's not really THAT bad and if I only do it once ... well, guess what? This is EXACTLY what Satan wants us to think! He wants us to talk ourselves into things and make us believe that it's all okay. But, we must never let Satan win. I like to visualize the excitement Satan would have if I followed him and he thinks he's won and that helps me step away from the choice I'm rationalizing. I do not want Satan to cheer when I make a wrong choice - I want him to weep because I have made the right choice.

Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk where he speaks about this very thing and he encouraged us to think before EVERY choice we make ... "where will it lead?" If it is going to lead us closer to Satan - that is when we need to walk away. I love what he said, "... get mixed up with Satan's garbage and we will end up in the spiritual landfill - the dumping ground of temporal and eternal life."

We cannot forget our birthrights. We are not alone in the quest to live up to those birthrights that have been given to us. I think it's important to remember what Thomas S. Monson said, "Decisions determine destiny." Those are words to live by. EACH choice we make is going to either take us one step closer to our Heavenly Father or it's going to take us a step away from our Heavenly Father.

I'm not sure why this has been bearing on my mind so much today but, I do know that no matter what we are doing right now, there is always room for improvement and there are always ways that we can do better - regardless of the situation. And I think that we need to remember the promises that we have been given and we need to LIVE UP TO THEM. There are so many wonderful things promised to us in this life and in the next ... why would you want to give up that birthright for 5 minutes of enjoyment?


Steven said...

Good thoughts, all very true.

I like the birthright idea because it means I should get twice the inheritance of any of my sisters.

Ginny said...

thanks for this jami!! i think we get lost/confused/ not focused sometimes and we lose our way for a minute!!! its sooo important to remember who we are!! just what i needed today! thank you!!!!

The John Family said...

True. Thanks I needed that. It has been a stressful day

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