On this journey, you will be introduced to new information, knowledge or “truth.” Being introduced to new things is uncomfortable to the natural man. It exposes our insecurities and can manifest all sorts of negative or positive emotions. We might receive it with fear, pride and even anger if it challenges our current beliefs enough. However, me might also receive it with positive emotions like joy, peace, praise and gratitude for the Lord’s goodness and mercy in sharing it or teaching it to us.
It has been my personal experience, learning from the Lord, that when receiving new truth it can do different things including:
- Destroy what you thought was truth
- Tweak or change your existing truth
- Add upon your existing truth–realizing that your existing truth was simply providing a context for new truth to be added upon (line upon line)
The one commonality among all three of these option above is that when we are faced with new information, knowledge or truth it is always a personal choice what we will do with it or how we might receive it.
The Truth Tree
This post is the first of several in a series. The purpose of this series is to help you develop the skill of receiving truth. This skill is a functional tool that is really just part of the bigger task of developing your Gift of Discernment. Both the skill and the Gift are intended to increase your trust in God and help you build a rock foundation so when the rains come down and the floods come up (faced with new information, knowledge, truth) that you are not washed away.
A “Truth Tree” is something that was revealed to me several years ago as I was going through a series of new learnings. I was learning things that had previously been “outside my box” so to speak. The Lord was stretching me–trying to help me come to a knowledge of the things of God. It is easier said than done, I assure you.
In the midst of each new life experience, new information or personal teaching experience from the Lord, I found myself going back and trying to root myself in something that would offer fruits of peace, joy, comfort, confidence in the Lord, faith, trust and more. This Truth Tree has been a rock foundation for me and I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it, too, would be a strength to you as you seek, knock, ask and hopefully, receive.
It’s a Spiritual Tree
The Truth Tree is comprised of these parts from above ground to below ground. Each has a spiritual meaning. Each will be discussed in this Truth Tree series:
- The Fruit [spiritual meaning]
- The Branches [spiritual meaning]
- The Trunk Base [spiritual meaning]
- Shallow Roots [spiritual meaning]
- Deep Roots [spiritual meaning]
Today we will reveal and discuss the spiritual meaning of the deep roots of truth. First, some metaphorical characteristics of deep roots to ponder:
- Deep roots are the thinner, outermost roots that go deep and wide into the soil.
- They are the lifeline of a tree, searching for and taking up air, water, and nutrients from the soil and moving them up into the leaves, where they can interact with sunlight to produce sugars, flavors, and energy for the plant. Without the necessary nutrients, the tree will die and it all starts in the deep roots.
- In addition to shallow roots, deep roots provide the anchor needed to keep a tree in place.
- Roots actually secrete compounds that affect the microorganisms in the soil, doing things like helping protect the plant from disease and encouraging it to absorb nutrients from the soil.
Everything about a healthy tree is dependent upon deep roots. And so it is with our spiritual and metaphorical Truth Tree–in order to produce the desired righteous fruits, we have to build on a healthy foundation of deep roots. The spiritual meaning of the deep roots is:
Faith in the Divine Nature of God (Father, Mother, The Son)
The importance of this spiritual meaning is simple–“Know the God that you worship.” The Lord said:
“I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
“For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” (D&C 93:7–20.)
Joseph Smith in Lectures on Faith said:
“1 Having shown in the third lecture, that correct ideas of the character of God are necessary in order to the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation, and that without correct ideas of his character, the minds of men could not have sufficient power with God to the exercise of faith necessary to the enjoyment of eternal life, and that correct ideas of his character lay a foundation as far as his character is concerned, for the exercise of faith, so as to enjoy the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even that of eternal glory; we shall now proceed to show the connection there is between correct ideas of the attributes of God, and the exercise of faith in him unto eternal life.
“2 Let us here observe, that the real design which the God of heaven had in view in making the human family acquainted with his attributes, was, that they through the ideas of the existence of his attributes, might be enabled to exercise faith in him, and through the exercise of faith in him, might obtain eternal life. For without the idea of the existence of the attributes which belong to God, the minds of men could not have power to exercise faith on him so as to lay hold upon eternal life. The God of heaven understanding most perfectly the constitution of human nature, and the weakness of man, knew what was necessary to be revealed, and what ideas must be planted in their minds in order that they might be enabled to exercise faith in him unto eternal life” (Lectures on Faith, Lecture Fourth).
Bruce R. McConkie also said about this:
“A knowledge of the truth is essential to true worship. We must learn that God is our Father; that he is an exalted and perfected personage in whose image we are created; that he sent his Beloved Son into the world to redeem mankind; that salvation is in Christ, who is the revelation of God to the world; and that Christ and his gospel laws are known only by revelation given to those apostles and prophets who represent him on earth.
“There is no salvation in worshiping a false god. It does not matter one particle how sincerely someone may believe that God is a golden calf, or that he is an immaterial, uncreated power that is in all things; the worship of such a being or concept has no saving power. Men may believe with all their souls that images or powers or laws are God, but no amount of devotion to these concepts will ever give the power that leads to immortality and eternal life.
“If a man worships a cow or a crocodile, he can gain any reward that cows and crocodiles happen to be passing out this season.
“If he worships the laws of the universe or the forces of nature, no doubt the earth will continue to spin, the sun to shine, and the rains to fall on the just and on the unjust.
“But if he worships the true and living God, in spirit and in truth, then God Almighty will pour out his Spirit upon him, and he will have power to raise the dead, move mountains, entertain angels, and walk in celestial streets” (Dec. 1971, How to Worship, President Bruce R. McConkie)
It is notable here that each person starts out being asked to simply have “faith” that God does in reality have unique and divine characteristics. But you are not left to have “blind faith.” This is the reason that God has commanded people from Adam to today to keep records enabling all to receive the witness of God’s countless interactions with mankind. In addition, God offers the Gifts of every kind (including Revelation, Discernment, Believing on the Word, etc.) to enable mankind to receive truth (see also Sections 13-13.4 of What is Truth).
Also, when you are received into the presence of the Son, become a witness of Him and are personally taught by Him that your “faith” in these divine characteristics will be made “sure” or you will have a “sure” knowledge of the character of God. It is then that “God Almighty will pour out his Spirit upon [you], and [you] will have power to raise the dead, move mountains, entertain angels, and walk in celestial streets.”
Five Essential Characteristics of the Divine Nature of God
By now you should know that without understanding the divine nature (character, attributes) we cannot worship in such a way that will bring salvation and eternal life which is to fulfill the Doctrine of Christ.
The Lord has personally taught me five essential characteristics of the divine nature of God. While they are inter-related, each is independent and each is important. In order to have a healthy Truth Tree you need to know (through personal revelation) that each of these five characteristics are absolutely true. If you question or doubt any of these five characteristics you will struggle to properly feed and provide a sufficient anchor to the rest of your Truth Tree. And when the spiritual storms (opposition) come, which inevitably will happen, it will up-root your tree or it will naturally die from within.
I am going to lay out these five essential characteristics for you. I won’t be providing a discourse on each of them because that is to be taught by the Lord, Himself. However, I have provided a few scripture references for you. Also, you may lightly pass over each of these characteristics saying to yourself, “Yah, sure, I already know this or that.” So for that situation, I have provided some thought provoking questions to ask yourself. These questions should help you dig a little deeper and help you figure out exactly how strong and healthy your deep roots are.
(1) God is GLORIFIED—They are immortal, tangible beings. They have light (glory, gifts, power, truth, etc) to bestow upon each person. (D&C 130:22–23; Lev. 11:44–45; 19:2; Matt. 6:13; 3 Ne. 13:13; Genesis 1:27; Moses 2:27; TG God, Glory of)
- Do you really believe that because of Their glory, God is the source of all goodness? All light? All truth?
- Do you really believe that because of Their glory, They have ascended through a spiritual progression to be able to have and use the the glory They have and use?
- Do you really believe that you can receive of Their glory in mortality including eternal life?
(2) God is OMNISCIENT—All-Knowing. They know the past, present and future. They know the beginning to the end including your personal plan. They know our personal mission. They know the gifts we have. (Ps. 147:5; Matt. 6:8; Acts 15:18; 1 Ne. 9:6; 2 Ne. 9:20; Mormon. 8:17; D&C 127:2; Alma 26:35; TG God, Omniscience of)
- Do you really believe that He knows the beginning to the end including your personal plan?
- Do you really believe that God has all truth and is willing to impart it to you line upon line?
- Do you really believe that God knows your heart? Your intentions? Your desires? Your gifts? Your weakness? Your sins? Your trials?
(3) God is PERFECTLY JUST & MERCIFUL—Our mortal mission is unique. Their omniscience of each soul’s gifts, infinite capacity, upbringing and unique experiences enables God to be perfectly just and merciful. (Alma 29:4; 42:15; 57:26); Mosiah 29:12-13; D&C 3:4; 20:31; Isaiah 45:21; TG God, Justice of; TG God, Mercy of)
- With all the things you have suffered in your life, justices and injustices, do you really believe life has been “fair” to you? Or do you hold a silent grudge against God? Others?
- Do you really believe that the injustices that occur in your life are “good” for you?
- Why would God allow someone to be born into a situation of physical, sexual or emotional abuse?
- Why would God allow people to suffer or even die prematurely? Why should children suffer? Why would God allow the innocent to suffer? Would God allow the wicked to prevail?
- After all my prayers, why doesn’t God make my suffering go away?
(4) God is OMNIPOTENT—All-Powerful; God organized the earth and maintains all power and control over all things through Their word; All things obey Their words. (Jer. 32:17; 51:15; D&C 121:4; TG God, Power of)
- Did God, through Moses, part the Red Sea to allow the children of Israel to walk through on dry ground?
- Did God really enable the family of Noah to build a ship?
- Can God really cause earthquakes and natural phenomenon?
- Do the powers of heaven seem silent to you? Do you have any anger whatsoever due to what may appear to be God withholding His power?
- Why won’t God heal you or others that suffer physical afflictions? Even after a priesthood blessing?
(5) God is OMNIBENEVOLENT—All-Loving; We are literal spirit sons/daughters of Heavenly Father and Mother. We are made in Their image. We can have a personal relationship with and are equally loved by Them. We have infinite value to Them. We are unique and have our own personal and customized plan of exaltation. (Acts 17:28–29; Deut. 7:8; 23:5; Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; TG God, Love of)
- Do you really believe that you have a unique personal plan from every other person?
- Do you really believe that we can have a personal relationship with Them and are equally loved by Them?
Because of God maintains these five divine characteristics, Jesus Christ is the literal embodiment of every righteous principle and gift.
Now, do you really have faith in the divine nature of God?
We will discuss how deep roots are related to every other part of your Truth Tree as we continue on in this series. In Part 2 of this series, you will discover the spiritual meaning of “Shallow Roots.”
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