I told a story about two houses, one built on rock and one built on sand. Do you understand that this was not really a story about architecture and building construction? Are you fragile? Is your life built on a foundation that will weather the storm? Houses can be destroyed by fire, earthquake, flood, and storm, but also by neglect. You don’t need to make exact parallels for each of these to realize that the foundation of your life matters, and that the structure of it can be threatened from multiple sources, within and without. So what does it mean to build your life on the rock?
Are you ever tempted to seek revenge? Yet you know that vengeance is mine, and I will repay. This implies that you shouldn’t seek revenge yourself. Do you take comfort in the thought that I have more powerful resources at my disposal for vengeance than you do, and can do a better job? But what if I do not deploy these to your satisfaction? What if I show mercy where you would not? Will you criticize me for doing an inadequate job? Perhaps you should use my performance to evaluate your own intentions. If I display a bias for mercy then shouldn’t you prefer it as well?
Do you practice a robust faith? Is it hard to break, and able to resist challenges from without? What about challenges from within? Do you ever have doubts, or struggle to maintain your belief in the central doctrines of your church? Do your church and the world outside seem like two separate realms? Yet you have a foot in both worlds. Does your church strengthen your faith by challenging it, by teaching you how to deal with the dry and desolate times that come to all, and how to deal with your doubts?
Have you ever gone fishing for compliments? Have you ever caught any? Everyone likes approval, but if you go looking for it you can put people in an awkward position and calls into question the sincerity of the compliments you get. This is a characteristic of an insecure person who can be controlled by those offering false flattery. Don’t give others undue influence over you by depending on their approval. You may not get as many compliments if you do not solicit them, but if your identity is secure then you don’t need as many, and those you receive spontaneously will be sincere.
What does the concept of spirituality make you think of? The doctrines of your church? The words of a creed? All people are created in my image and on this basis alone all are spiritual, so you may consider a broader definition, which can be applied to everyone. Can you view the spirituality of a person as the basic way they orient themselves toward that which is beyond them? There is a large gap between that and what you consider to be essential faith. But I promised that those who seek the truth would hear my voice. If they keep seeking they will get there.
Are you quick to form your first reaction to situations you encounter? Are your first reactions full of mercy, grace, and love, or they more judgmental? Your reactionary brain is eager to provide answers and make connections that are immediate and wrong. Have you found that it takes intentional effort to stay engaged and take a more gracious look, and think of more benign explanations for what you see? So if you stay engaged, you can come up with more than one explanation. Which one is correct? Do not assume that you need to resolve every issue.
Do you ever wish that things would get back to normal? There is a natural longing for the stable, predictable, and familiar. Yet this desire does not work in your favor, and a closer examination reveals why it is undesirable. Normal implies a static condition in which there is no change, growth, or progress. You are comfortable with familiar conditions, and uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. Yet it is under these conditions that growth occurs. Your comfort zone is not large enough for your life and your destiny.
Even for those who are already in prison, those in charge have the ability to impose more strict punishments. One of these is solitary confinement, keeping a prisoner isolated even from other prisoners, and this is considered a harsh penalty. This is a testimony of the power of my statement that it is not good for the man to be alone. It is better to be assigned any other prisoner as a cell mate than to be alone. Have you ever been alone even if it wasn’t externally imposed as a punishment? Have you observed others in isolation of their own making?
Do you love your enemies? This is clearly required by my teachings. Do you regard this as the most difficult of all my commandments? How would you normally regard your enemies? As those who had nothing in common with you, and nothing of value for you? You may think of your friends as those who agree with you, but have you ever received acts of kindness or seen sacrificial giving from those who do not? Have you ever learned anything from those with an alternative viewpoint? So how can you love your enemies? You could start by seeing if there is anything that you could learn from them.
Do you have an inner sanctum and an outer platform? You need some way to spend time with me for your own sanity and mental and spiritual cohesion, if nothing else. Could you survive without this direct connection? What do you gain by maintaining this relationship? Do you get more than just enough to hold yourself together? Do you also get wisdom and insights and encouragement that you can pass on to others? What do you do when you leave your secret place? Do you have a platform and audience from which you can pass along that which you have received? First you need a light.