My adventure as a missionary has definitely brought many amazing and powerful experiences into my life. As I have fervently prayed for the companionship of the Holy Ghost however, I can honestly say I have come to truly realize the reality of the influence of the adversary in our lives. Choices are decisions that we face daily, hourly, and even minutely, and sometimes it can be very hard to discern what will help the work of the Lord progress and what will not. I have found myself struggling to fully discern the difference between personal revelation, that is, revelation from God, and the natural man.
The brain is a tremendous and powerful super computer that processes and interprets what we see and hear, translating our experiences into opinions and ideas that ultimately make us who we are, and why our perspective is the way it is. As a missionary, being set apart as one who has authority to teach and baptize in Christs name has opened my eyes and ears, as well as softened my heart to the reality that we truly learn through our mistakes, and that Christs atonement has an amazing enabling power that allows me to change. In a sense my metaphorical aperture has opened wider, allowing more light into my life. This light, this concept of a radiance that allows us to see, has brought me comfort and has helped me find an answer to my stuggle of knowing and discerning true revelation from the natural man. A quote by C.S. Lewis has really stood out to me, and given my earnest desire to more fully understand true revelation, I found it very applicable. He states, “I beleive in Christ like I beleive in the Sun. Not becuase I can see it, but by it, I can see everything else.” Let us take a second to note that C.S. Lewis is a convert to Christianity. I can almost feel the emotion in this statement as I can only imagine the enlightenment he received as he came to adopt and live Christs teachings!! We are talking about a man whos ability to express his imagination on paper is far greater than most people, and yet he states that everything he sees and does comes from a foundation of faith in Christ! What a testimony this is to me of the influence of Christ in peoples lives.
Now, taking a step back to my metaphorical aperture. The aperture on a camera is relatively simple in purpose, it opens to allow more light in, and constricts to allow less light. If for example, a person yields to the natural man and consequently sins, he or she is constricting their aperture, ultimately allowing darkness to begin to settle in. They are literally separating themselves from God. On the other hand, if a person yields to the teachings of Jesus Christ and turns outward, he or she is opening their aperture and more light enters. It is key to recognize that the aperture controls light. Light is the variable being controlled, not darkness. Light is light. It immediatley takes over darkness, and even the smallest hint of light will chase the darkness. No matter what. Let us look at the rising sun that is pictured above. What is it that appeals to the eye? The sun of course! As a byproduct the picture is enhanced with a beautiful array of colors due to the radiance of the sun. Well my friends, as a byproduct of allowing the light of Christ into our lives, we see a beautiful array of blessings. Closely knit families, stronger marriages, purpose in life, peace of mind, respect for ourselves and others. As we allow his light in, guilt turns to peace, sorrow turns to joy, regret turns to hope, and fear turns to faith. I testify of this and as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I know with all of my heart that this Gospel is true, and that it changes lives. Open your aperture! Let light in! For the blessings that come with the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are eternal and they will create a picture that is spectacular.