To see part one, click here.
“Given for a principle with a promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. – Doctrine and Covenants 89:3
This verse contains two very striking concepts. Promises and humility. Previously, I wrote a post on Promises. Now, I’d like to touch on…
I’ve always read the phrase, “adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints,” in a way that connoted the easiness of keeping the Word of Wisdom. In other words, I thought that this commandment is so easy to keep, that even the weakest saint would have no trouble keeping it.
Studying this verse has taught me otherwise.
The word weak in this verse has a few scripture references that are worth pondering.
“10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
Here, Paul is speaking to the Corinthians. He seems to take pleasure in his infirmities – but only because of Christ’s sake. He has recognized the miracle of mercy. Because of Paul’s weakness, he can come to Christ and be made strong. In fact, it is only when we are weak, and we admit it, that we are made strong. This reminds me of the concept taught in Ether: “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them,” (Ether 12:27). Christ teaches that we all have weakness. In order for us to make weak things become strong, we must, humble ourselves before Him. It is Christ’s grace that cover’s our weakness. Paul understands that through Christ – when he is weak, he is strong…This is really powerful stuff.
” 19 The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—” – Doctrine and Covenants 1:19
The prophets have been telling us this for millennia – the humble and weak will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. We can see examples of this all the time – in history. Additionally, this theme: the tragic hero, full of hubris, is destroyed by something relatively simple – repeats itself throughout literature. So…we can learn from this verse that “weak” means humble – close to God. and “strong and mighty” are powerful in a worldly sense. The Lord has always taught that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. Weakness – or at least the admission of weakness – is humility.
The final footnote listed for “weak” points to the topical guide- Humility. I found this scripture reference especially helpful for understanding the concept of weak.
” 10 Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” – Doctrine and Covenants 112:10
When we are humble, we qualify for the Lord’s grace.
The Word of wisdom doesn’t seem like it is supposed to be such an “easy” commandment anymore!
Finally, travel with me to one more scripture reference…
” 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” – Mosiah 3:19
Putting off the natural man – requires not will-power, but the submission of our will. This may include giving up the tendency to be gluttonous and lazy. In other words, taking care of our bodies requires us to have humility by giving up our wills – to eat junky food/be lazy/give into our natural appetites – and do what the Lord would have us do, instead.
It is through such submission that the Word of Wisdom is for the weak and weakest of all men. You can, instead say, that the Word of Wisdom is, “adapted to the capacity of the humble and humblest…” This makes a HUGE difference! Physical desires are extremely difficult to overcome, and there are times where only humility and diligence will enable us to keep this code.
The thing to keep in mind: When we are humble, we qualify for Grace. Grace will strengthen us to be able to keep this commandment. The Lord really wants us to succeed.
Does understanding the link between the Word of Wisdom and Humility make a difference to you? How have you had to exercise humility in order to keep the word of wisdom?