It has flown for years in my spiritual vision, but its presence in my day-to-day consciousness is increasing rapidly. The image becomes just a little more focused every time I honor it with my faith, trust and obedience. Not long ago, it was nothing more than a vague perception high on a distant mountain top. As the focus increases, it appears to be drawing closer and closer, and details that I never made out before are becoming clearer. It flies bravely from the top of an iron pole that is straight, tall and shining white, with a beautiful gold ornament at the top. It looks much like any other flag; about twice as long as it is wide; finely woven of a deep blue cloth – royal, honorable, true.
I speak today of my own personal standard of righteousness and truth. To be sure, I feel it more than I see it, but it is no less real for me than the flag that flies over any state or national capitol. As I said, it has probably always been there, but when I was shown it recently while I was praying, I was suddenly given to recognize how critical it is to my journey. This standard calls me; it beckons me. As I approach it, light seems to increase. There’s a warmth and a fullness that grows inside me. The sensation is familiar and comfortable, even safe – as if I’m coming home.
I know its call. I know what it means, all that it represents. The depth and details of its principles, laws, even commandments, as well as their application, are recalled from my eternal memory. Having recalled them, they are no longer new to me. It’s not like the ensign of Zion – a beacon unto all the world as mentioned in D&C 64:42 – although it was clearly woven on the same loom:
And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.
This standard is much more personal and much more accessible. It’s mine. I may envision a nation or a world of people gathered around a summit, with the ensign of Zion waving above them, but I never see the multitude attaining the summit. On the contrary, I hope someday to spiritually wrap myself in the cloth of my standard. This, my standard of righteousness and truth, is custom made to emphasize the things that I personally need to perfect, and its promise is that I will ultimately fulfill the measure of my creation.
It is a glorious standard, constructed and offered lovingly by the Lord Himself. It is glorious in that it actually contains the seeds of godhood. It is a standard of compassion, understanding, patience, and meekness. It is a standard of courage, loyalty, and commitment. It is a standard of honesty and integrity. Above all, it is a standard of love.
I am learning to recognize, when I think, do, and become, whether I am in harmony with my standard. More and more frequently, when I contradict it, I feel very ill-at-ease. I am learning to repent more and more quickly. Practice makes perfect, I guess.
Honoring my standard takes a considerable amount of faith. Obviously, babylon would teach me to largely ignore it. That is to be expected. It is the nature and the evil of babylon. I’m finding, however, that there are those, even within my church associations, who do not understand how I am being drawn towards it. They seem to think that because my understanding of, and faith in, gospel truths is different than theirs, I must be deceived. What they don’t seem to understand is:
- My standard is just as customized for me as theirs is for them, so there will be differences, but…
- Since all personal standards of righteousness and truth come from the same source, close adherence by both of us should reveal that we are ultimately in harmony
- It is spiritually demeaning for all of us when we judge another person’s sincere effort at learning truth and living righteously to be misguided, misinformed, or somehow less than sincere simply because we don’t understand them. In my experience, such judgments are typically motivated by fear and, ironically, a lack of faith.
So, as predicted by the Savior Himself, persecution is likely to accompany me the closer I get to truly honoring my standard.
A beacon, a guide, a personal ensign, my noble blue standard is lovingly constructed, specifically for me, from the mind of God, by the mind of God – even the Holy Ghost. As I enable myself through faith, trust, and obedience to shed the bonds of this world, it continues to come more sharply into focus, calling me home. Where following it seemed at one time like a hazy dream, it is now a sharp reality. I thank my Lord for His patience and persistence; for gently nudging me, over and over again, toward this standard of righteousness and truth. I now understand even more fully that by following the principles that it represents, I can eventually become one with the mind of God and thus with my Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ. In His holy name, Amen.