The spiritual life consists of many virtues and activities — earnest prayer, scripture study, love of fellowman, caring service — to name a few. Undergirding all, it seems, is attitude toward God.
Here Elder Neal A. Maxwell shows how crucial is that element. For the disciple, he points out, the teaching and example of Jesus Christ shows an inescapable pattern — submission always to the Father's will. The Savior's greatest test and greatest triumph — the love-inspired Atonement — capsulizes and personifies this spirit: “Not my will, but thine.” As he bore and “learned . . . obedience by the things which he suffered,” so we should bear our infinitely lighter burdens or problems, whether they result from life's vicissitudes or from our Father's deliberate tutor process. We should, as King Benjamin put it, submit to God's will “even as a child doth submit to his father.”
The author offers sound advice on the compelling reasons as well as on the “how-to.” One reason is that there is no way to go around this life — we have to go through it. As with the Prophet Joseph, “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” — they signify that the Lord finds us worthy, at least potentially, of his tutorial care, which may include some custom-made trials. But there is a glorious promise for those who “endure well” — no less than eternal life, God's greatest gift.
In this superbly creative style the author explores this important principle of willing, loving submission to our Heavenly Father. He clearly shows this to be not a sacrifice of will but an elevation to a higher purpose and privilege. As such, it offers a life of faith, peace, and joy in the Lord.
Here is one quote from this fine little book:
"Life in the Church means experiencing leaders who are not always wise, mature, and deft. In fact, some of us are as bumpy and uneven as a sackful of old doorknobs. Some of the polishing we experience is a result of grinding against each other. How vital submissiveness is in such circumstances, especially if the lubrication of love is not amply present. In a church established, among other reasons, for the perfecting of the Saints -- an ongoing process -- it is naive to expect, and certainly unfair to demand, perfection in our peers. A brief self-inventory is wise before we "cast the first stone." Possessing a few rocks in our own heads, it is especially dangerous to have rocks too ready in our hands." (pp 78, “Not My Will But Thine”)
Neal Maxwell's works have aged well (perhaps especially this timeless little work on the ever rare subject of being humble and submissive). If the quote above is worth something to you, perhaps you should stop reading and simply order the book. The author’s humor and geniality fold profound insights into delectable bites; his wonderful weave of wit and self-depreciation make the reader feel he was “in here struggling with the rest of us." It is never pompous or provincial. To the wounded and aggrieved he offers balm and healing rest. Those more or less "full of themselves," are gently poked and prodded until their damaging lack of discrimination is deflated. Maxwell deftly leads readers closer to Christ and each other by injecting the warm lubricant of love into the frozen cogs and springs of the ancient clockwork of repentance and forgiveness.
I thought this book was one of the best I've read ever. the ideas expressed in this book are easily understandable, but sometimes hard to apply. It is a thought provoking book that allows the reader to take a personal inventory of their relationship with God and how they can better that relationship through bending their will to meet God's. A wonderful book that I recommend to anyone who asks.