8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. D&C 46:8-9As I listened to general conference in April, I was impressed by Elder Holland's use of this scripture, so I decided to spend the week pondering its meaning. One of the first questions that came to my mind was how does seeking the best gifts prevent us from being deceived? Then I remembered the scripture in 1 Corinthians 12:31 that we should “covet earnestly the best gifts”. Satan has greater power to deceive us when we turn from seeking Christ and start seeking things of this world. When Paul uses the word “covet” (meaning to yearn, crave, or have one’s heart set upon) he gives us excellent counsel. In my mind the word covet is a more powerful word that to simply seek. Coveting involves the heart. When we love Christ and keep his commandments, the the signs will follow those that believe (D&C 63:9). Then we can receive the benefit of the sign and we will remember why it is given (to build our faith) and not simply to satisfy our idle curiosity. Remember that at testimony of the Book of Mormon comes when we have “real intent” (Moroni 10:4), or the intent to act. The same thing happens when seek Christ with the intent to love Him and keep his commandments, the signs strengthen our testimony and we continue to draw closer to Him.
When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.
Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, “O Jesus, … have mercy on me.” He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek. (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Tomorrow the Lord will Do Wonders Among You. April 2016 LDS General Conference)
1 Corinthians 12:31