RE: "Not My Will, But Thine" by Neal A. Maxwell

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jamison
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RE: "Not My Will, But Thine" by Neal A. Maxwell

Post by jamison » 05 Dec 2010, 22:22

About fifteen years ago I read this book, hoping to be a better servant of the Lord. At that time, I was either 18 or 19 and just a punk kid that was arrogant, foolish, and rebellious. Reading "Not My Will, But Thine" at such a young age was a waste of my time. Nevertheless, I have just completed it again, and this time realized that I was somewhat ready for the book and tutored in life enough to understand and appreciate it's contents. After going through a divorce, and a misguided career course, I have finally bended to God's will. I now understand that following God's will 1) Is not the popular thing to do, 2) Not an easy thing most of the time, and 3) Requires a lot of faith, humility, and diligence.
Maxwell's book just made me realize that I was finally getting some of the points of becoming obedient. I had a missionary companion tell me after he finally got to his mission (he was a visa-waiter) that in his new mission, Elders would obey for the wrong reasons. He was referring to how we as a companionship, we walked by the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law, and that our obedience was out of genuineness and not "just to look good" with others. In this recollection I was happy for that thought because if I had not gone to my mission and experienced my "selective" obedience I may have missed the real point of obedience in the first place. Now to Maxwell's book. In the first chapter, "As Obedient Children," Elder Maxwell primes the reader for his topic and answer's the "so what" question about the point in writing the book. In the next three chapters Maxwell basically teaches the fundamentals of the gospel about the two-pillars of the Atonement and the Restoration. I felt these are his testimony chapters that he conveys as an apostle of the Lord. The real meat is found in chapters 5-8. I will share just a few of the spiritual gems that I found. Personally, the journey of spirituality to eternal life is painstaking; it hurts and the metamorphosis can be nauseating at times. I used to despise people that were better than me in anything, and I always felt I was inferior, or weaker to many other people. A quote Maxwell used from George MacDonald really hit me to understand those times of self-doubt and weakness, were those moments that I was being transformed. I quote, "Therefore a thousand states, each in itself all but valueless, are of inestimable worth as the necessary and connected gradations of an infinite progress. A condition which of declension [descent] would indicate a devil, may of growth indicate a saint." (pp.78-79) This quote was an epiphany for me, I finally am realizing that as I try the best I can that the Savior truly is sculpting me into who he wants me to be. I just need to try. I cannot force the transformation like I thought I could. I just need a little patience to see it through. Also along these lines is a quote that Maxwell shares from the prophet Joseph. I will not quote the quote but it has to do with not arriving spiritually in the moment. It is found on p 81.
One quote I will share is found on p. 89 in the Chapter "Willing to Submit". Here, I like Maxwell's use of desire. Maxwell states, "How powerful a role our true desires play in our lives! Desire both initiates our actions and sustains us-for good or evil. If we desire wealth or power, these will tend to be the moving causes of our actions. If Instead we desire spiritual things and are obedient, the promised blessings will come to us. Just as it is not possible to save an individual against his will, so blessings do not come against our wills." Overall, I was an ignoramus the first time I read Maxwell's book; I thought I could just change my actions, when in reality what I needed to work on was changing my desires and attitudes. For the Savior said, "A House divided against itself cannot stand." I love Elder Maxwell and do truly miss him. I am glad that he has left us with a vast treasure trove of gospel gems, and that his words shall live on. Elder Maxwell was truly a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and his witness stays with me still. He was an expert on the path of discipleship. Elder Maxwell continues to amaze me and I love his discipleship as much as his gospel scholarship and I appreciate his dedication. I truly found a friend that could communicate to my intellect and spirit in such a way to reassure me, console me, and to lead me to Christ.

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