Cleansing the Inner Vessel
The people of Jesus Christ's time and religious background cared more for the cultural aspects of religious life--the cleansing and eating ritual--than the care of family and such.
Christ rebuked them by informing "...there is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." Mark 7:15
Christ did not mean that it was then okay to ingest any and everything. The lesson He wanted to impress upon those people, and us, is charity and love. His admonition not to eat in unclean places of or partake of vile things did not mean God wanted to create a caste system based on how filthy a person lives.
Christ meant for them and for us to keep ourselves clean and worthy on the outside as well as the inside. Somewhere in the centuries after God gave that initiative, the people left out the inward vessel cleansing, which Christ retaught in Mark.
We clean the inner vessel through repentance.
My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it.— Ezra Taft Benson - Cleansing the Inner Vessel - April 1986
Power of Men
It is true that we have power over nothing in a direct way. We cannot control the elements that compose our bodies but are subject to them working at the behest of the natural order of existence. We are truly nothing in that we exist at the will of God.
All things are in motion because He initially placed them in motion and society has evolved to what we have now within the confines of God's graces! People mention this often, but fail to explain it so that we can understand how it can be!
Divinity is inherent in humanity. Never should there be a question regarding the divine nature and heritage of any human at any status in life. All are equally precious and valuable entities in this great universe. Power in mankind is knowledge of where originates our heritage and what constitutes our capacity.
A fellow writer, Ioannis Arvanitis, wrote an inspirational article, Two Universal Principles Which Can Change Your Life, revealing the true power of man as it relates to his divinity. In it, Ioannis reveals that just like the Father in Heaven who created humans, we have the power to influence the world, though in a limited capacity. We can influence it through Love or Hate. The power of change is based on our capacity to develop each. Which one will win depends on which one is fed and which is starved.
"...there is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." Mark 7:15
"But if I radiate all around me goodness and positive energy, if I choose Love instead malice, smile instead gloom and offer them to the world, then only positive energy and bliss will be the response of the Universe to me. There will always be a favourable wind in my sails to travel to my dreams."— Sean Dragon
We can understand.
In his famous address to the people of his nation, King Benjamin spoke of the joy at which the people accepted to follow Christ and take upon them His name in a covenant. In response to this group's desire to covenant with God, the King instructed,
"For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state." Mosiah 4:2
We do not even need a full understanding of our nothingness and fallen state, but a sense of it as King Benjamin states according to Mormon. Nothingness is not to say that we are not important. Humans are the offspring of God. However, at this stage in our eternal natures, we have not matured enough to use the power inherited from God adequately. Our inner vessels must continuously get cleaned until they no longer get filthy. That is what it means to follow Christ.
King Benjamin continues,
"I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and His matchless power, and His wisdom, and His patience, and His long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping His commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world." Mosiah 4:6-7
The goodness, power, wisdom, patience, long-suffering, and the atonement of God are examples that the king wants his listeners to understand about God, what He wants humans to have.
God is good in that he shares all creation with His creations.
God's power is in the love that He has for all things who in turn honor Him with obedience to the laws He set for them, we call laws of nature.
God is patient in that He will watch and monitor all things for each lifetime before making a judgment.
God is long-suffering because He does not act in haste, but indulges humanity in our choices.
God's atonement is the highest form of Love because He laid down His mortal life for all humans, paying the price for sin through suffering to death.
Once we can realize that we are nothing of our own, we can start to understand God's plan for us to be SOMETHING in His kingdom!— Rodric Anthony Johnson
What should we do in appreciation of God's universal Love?
King Benjamin addresses many actions we must exhibit when recognizing our nothingness as he continues explaining and recognizing God's attributes in comparison to ours.
The framework of creation exists as a schoolroom for humanity to become like God. Benjamin says to clean our inner vessel we must:
Keep God's Commandments
Endure life with Faith
"And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you." Mosiah 4:8
Salvation comes to those of us who recognize our need for help. God wants us to learn all that we can to become like He is, an all-powerful being, but He knows that we must overcome our natures so that we can learn to use the elements as He does. The most valuable tool that God has given to us is our bodies. In these bodies, we can learn to become like God, but first, we must subdue them so that the passions of the body do not rule our lives. We overcome our bodies through the repentance process.
Once we can realize that we are nothing of our own, we can start to understand God's plan for us to be SOMETHING in His kingdom! Love is what He is.
- Filling the Inner Vessel
Pharisees and Scribes took offense at the disciples of Jesus Christ not holding to the rules of spiritual hygiene. Jesus took that opportunity to show those leaders what it means to truly be clean.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson