And whoso knocketh, to him will he open;
and the wise,
and the learned,
and they that are rich, who are puffed up
their learning, and
their wisdom, and
—yea, they are they whom he despiseth;
and save they shall cast these things away,
and consider themselves fools before God,
and come down in the depths of humility,
he will not open unto them.2 Nephi 9:42
The door between us and the Lord opens conditionally, or rather, it stays closed if certain conditions exist. For the Lord to open the door, we must cast aside certain things, much like how Jesus challenged the young rich ruler.
- Cast aside being puffed up because of learning, wisdom, and riches.
- Consider yourself a fool before God
- Come down into the depths of humility
What is it that makes us “rich?” In some places of the world, having a certain number of cows makes you rich. In other places, having a certain amount of fiat currency (digital or physical) makes you rich.
What makes us rich and what carries value is a subjective thing determined by society or ourselves, or some combination of both. But it is our attitude that is where the problem ultimately lies and less about the quantity of specified matter we have accumulated.
To be puffed up is to be swollen or inflated. This distortion in size because of the accumulation of matter (that which does not belong to us) forms an artificial sense of worth and value that must seem as comical to God as a child putting a towel around their neck and proclaiming that they are Superman.
Now the child realizes it is just playing, but the adult that does so often actually really believes that they are bigger and badder than they really are, judging themselves so by a set of conditions that are meaningless in the eternal realm.
This is why the quantity of the substance itself is meaningless, it is our attitude towards that and ourselves that must be truthful. If we cannot cast aside our attitude, then it may be necessary to cast aside the riches.
To consider yourself a fool before God isn’t about devaluing yourself or being negative, but coming to understand the greatness of God and seeing yourself in comparison to him and the great distance that exists between us and his wisdom and glory.
To come down into the depths of humility is a journey of releasing our dependence on things to where there is nothing but God alone to sustain us.
This can be hard for those living in a society full of prosperity where any need can be met almost instantaneously. We can summon a ride, we can summon food, and we have transportation, shelter, and immediate access to any knowledge we desire in the palms of our hands.
To come down not just into humility but the depths of humility suggests something beyond just a few minutes in prayer or a little time in the scriptures.
In theology, humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one’s own unworthinesss in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence of sin, and submission to the divine will.Webster’s 1828
Lowliness in mind seems to be about obtaining a correct perspective which reveals to us a deep sense of our own unworthiness in God’s sight. (without him and the sacrifice of his Son) Self-abasement is about becoming conscious of the inferiority that exists between us and God.
Penitence for sin opens our eyes to the seriousness of what God views as serious and threatening to our own eternal life.
Submission to his will can occur in the biggest and smallest areas of our lives. This may well be the easiest place to begin, as we can start right now by answering any moment in life with actions that align with his will.
In doing this, we can communicate to God our respect for him and begin the process of deepening our humility.
To knock is to strike a door for admittance; to rap.
To rap is to strike with a quick, sharp blow [repeatedly].
Imagine going up to a door that you desperately want to enter. Maybe you want to enter out of curiosity, or maybe you want to enter because you are bleeding profusely and are in extreme pain, and desire immediate medical attention.
How would you knock?
Do you picture yourself in a neighborhood of many homes where you could knock on pretty much any door and eventually get a response? Would you tap once, and in a soft voice, would you mumble, “please let me in,” waiting just a moment or two, thinking that you’ll just move on to the next house if nobody is home?
Or do you picture yourself on a vast continent where there is but one house only, just one single option that contains inside all the help, assistance, and comfort possible? And if you don’t get inside, and fast, you’ll absolutely perish, and the clock is ticking. Would you not smash both of your fists repeatedly into the door while screaming at the top of your voice for admittance and not cease until those doors parted for you?
How do we approach the Lord’s door?
The apostle Paul wrote the Hebrews:
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:16
But here’s the thing, do we perceive ourselves as being in need?
Perception isn’t reality, it is often an illusion. Do we feel safe because of our riches, our wisdom, and our learning? Nephi wrote to warn us about these perceptions and that they would be deliberately used as a weapon to cheat our souls.
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.2 Nephi 28:21
So how do we come to a sense of reality and remove the veil of deception that prosperity creates over our eyes?
The scriptures will help us do this. For instance, just read through Alma chapter 5, which is like a mirror to your soul where you can examine yourself and feel where your vulnerabilities are.
If you wish to continue on this path, God will help you. As soon as you decide that you deeply desire him to open that door, you will begin to find opportunities in the path God has given you to come down into those depths of humility and discover what it means to knock.
To those who are searching, there is nothing in this world worth more than what is on the other side of that door.
This is great! This reminds me of the quote from Brigham Young, “An individual who holds a share in the Priesthood, and continues faithful to his calling, who delights himself continually in doing the things God requires at his hands, and continues through life in the performance of every duty will secure to himself not only the privilege of receiving, but the knowledge [of] how to receive the things of God, that he may know the mind of God continually.”