I absolutely love the symbolic imagery that we studied today! I love thinking about the gospel, and symbols help me to understand the abstract concepts of the gospel so much more.
So – today, we’re studying the symbol of the Fruit of the Tree of Life.
“And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.
And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” – 1 Nephi 8:10-12
When Lehi partook of this fruit, he was filled with joy! This sounds more satisfying than: It tasted really good. His entire soul was joyful. It’s pretty straightforward – Lehi ate the fruit→He was filled with joy.
A consequence of feeling this joy, he desired to share it with others. Isn’t that the way it goes? When we experience something that brings us joy, we want to share it with others – especially those we love. Joy is contagious.
Nephi explains more about the fruit of the tree of life:
“And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.”- 1 Nephi 11:21-23
Here we learn more about the fruit of the tree of life. Not only will our souls be filled with joy, but the fruit is actually the love of God. His love – is pure, and it is the most desirable thing. Another word for Our Father’s pure love: Charity.
Charity is the most desirable and joyous to the soul – That’s so true!! – I know that when I experience the pure love that Christ has for me, then I’m filled with joy. I’m filled with hope and peace. I want to do more to keep the commandments, and I want to do what I can to continue to experience His love and Joy.
Charity sheds itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men. That’s so true!! – When we experience charity, we are moved to also give charity. When we experience God’s love, then we are able to express God’s love. When we feel the Love God has for us, we begin to understand that He loves everyone. And it fills our souls with joy – even if those we share this charity with don’t end up accepting it. (We feel bad, but we still have peace).
The more I study this, the more I want to partake of this fruit.
We can’t just walk up and partake of the fruit, though. It requires a bit of work. We need to take a hold of the Iron Rod and overcome the conditions of the road ahead. In other words, we need to come to the Lord and take a hold onto His word and then overcome the conditions mortality. It isn’t easy, but if we follow the prophets – who, like Lehi, beckon us from the tree to come and partake, and if we press forward, holding onto the Rod of Iron, we will make it. We will be able to pass through “mists of darkness” such as depression or other kinds of trials. We also will be able to overcome the “shouts” we hear from the world and put off the natural man, so we can partake of the fruit.
The people who made it to the tree of life and partook of the fruit (and stayed faithful) didn’t go too quickly. They didn’t cling. They didn’t get distracted. They took it a step at a time. Because of their steady discipline, they eventually partook of the fruit.
Another mention of fruit
” 41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.” – Alma 32:41-43
Does it excite any of you – to no end – that the seed of faith that we plant in our hearts may one day be the fruit of the tree of life? I love when things like this happen in the scriptures. We can see that the gospel is radial.
Alma teaches us that when we partake of this fruit, we will not hunger or thirst. We will be satisfied. We will be filled with the Love and power of God.
So – joy is available to us. This joy isn’t just a fleeting pleasure. It is Christ’s pure love. It motivates us to share. It satisfies and fills us. Even though we don’t experience this in full now, we can continue to press forward faithful. We can continue to nourish the seed of faith in our hearts. When we do these things, we will have the potential to partake.
For tomorrow’s assignment, click here.