Today I read Doctrine and Covenants section 40. It is an extremely short section and one dealing with a concept that we have talked about before. It is a section where the Lord tells Joseph what happened to James Covill. Per the Lord himself James Covill rejected the Lord because of the cares of the world and fear of persecution.
How many people have avoided doing things because of fear of persecution? Now granted, most of us do not have to put up with the kind of persecution the early Saints did where they quite literally might kill you for being a Mormon. It is the same as early Christianity where they would kill a Christian just for believing in Christ. So maybe they aren't comparable with the type of persecutions that we face today, however we ALL face our own type of persecutions in this life. I remember on my mission coming face to face with a man that I felt evil just radiate from like he was a furnace. It made me physically ill to stand in his presence and he hated us. I had a full beer can flung at me, I had dogs set on me, and many others. And you know what? It all fades into the background. I don't even remember that stuff happening to me unless I sit down and think about it. Truly.
So why do we let what other people think stop us from doing the things that God has asked us to do? Why do we fear man more than God? Well the obvious answer is because we are natural men and women and other men and women are here and God is not. Sometimes it is because we want to impress someone of the opposite sex because our bodies hormones kick in and we forget that we do not desire to mate with someone that does not believe the same things we do and we do something dumb. There are any number of reasons, but when you look past the self deceptions and lies it's all one thing, we are fearing man and not God.
It sounds kind of simple, but the only way I know of to overcome this malady is to ask yourself "what would Jesus do?". You remember that slogan from the late 90's? It's not just a tool to help us treat others nicely. It can be the proverbial glass of cold water to the face that we need when faced with a choice of following God or Satan. As we come face to face with our temptations, especially the ones where we have to make the choice to listen to a person as opposed to the commandments of God, this one simple phrase will help put everything in perspective for us. "What would Jesus do" if He were here? He would do the will of His Father and follow the commandments with exactness and we all know it. And so should we.
As we learn to fear God more than man, it becomes easier to resist the temptations to listen to men as opposed to God. We can do what is right by making a conscious choice to follow God and His commandments and then the Spirit will direct us in right paths we should follow. What would Jesus do? Remember it and it will serve you well. Until tomorrow.