Devotional cover: 3 ways you can cleave unto God

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BryanPope speaks. Photo credit: Dallen Vick

On Jan. 18, Bryan Pope, the Portfolio Management Managing Director, gave his devotional address, “Cleave unto God,” in the BYU-Idaho Center.

He began his address with a story from his service as a missionary in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. He and his companion met a recently returned missionary who lived on crutches because of a deformed leg and whose family didn’t support her membership in the Church. Pope asked her how she handled her struggles. She smiled as she answered, sharing Jacob 6:5, the scripture that inspired his devotional.

“She explained that knowing God was cleaving unto her gave her strength to make it through her challenges,” Pope said. “Her example and love of God has stayed with me ever since. There are many ways we can cleave unto God, like worthily partaking of the sacrament, reading the scriptures, praying, attending church and listening to God’s prophet.”

Students join in prayer
Students join in prayer Photo credit: Dallen Vick

Pope then shared three specific ways he cleaves unto God — ways we can do the same.

First, love God — truly love Him. Pope stated that one of the most powerful ways he has found to love God is by feeling God’s love for us.

“Loving God changes the nature of our obedience and increases our desire to be like him,” he stated. Then he illustrated this idea by sharing a story from his past.

Pope spent summers working on his uncle’s farm as a young man. One morning, he was asked to get the new grain combine working. Everything was going well until the engine of the combine began to overheat. Pope recounted that he did his best to manage the situation, but he left the combine running when he went to find help, and when he returned, the engine was broken.

When he told this story to his uncle, he was met with a loving and patient reaction. Pope’s feelings toward his uncle changed, and he made it a point to express His love and gratitude for him every day. He realized that if his uncle could forgive him for ruining the combine, Heavenly Father could forgive him for his big failures.

“A loving God will work with you to grow your faith and love of Christ, but you must initiate the spark” Pope said. “You must honor and ‘give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart.'”

Pope’s second suggestion to cleave unto God is to keep His commandments. As we do our best and make an honest effort in keeping God’s commandments, we will find success.

“Keeping the commandments and growing your testimony require effort, but it is because of the effort that they change who we are — they make us more capable of being disciple leaders in our homes, the Church, and our communities.”

He cautioned us that as we keep commandments, Satan’s temptations will become stronger. We must be careful to avoid an excess of activities that distract us from our potential.

Brother Pope speaks
BryanPope speaks. Photo credit: Dallen Vick

The third way we can cleave unto God is to serve others. Service provides two great benefits in terms of cleaving unto God. It changes our focus from ourselves to others. As we shift our focus, it becomes easier to forgive ourselves and others.

Pope reminded us that, “The person sitting next to you is worthy of your love. The people you live with are worthy of your love. You are worthy of God’s love. The person who has wronged you needs your love. How can you deny that which God so freely gives? How can you hate those whom He clearly loves? If you want to cleave unto God and feel His love then serve others — especially those you find difficult to love.”

Service knits our hearts together, enabling us to go to the places God wants us to go. We become more like God as we serve others.

Pope ended his address with his testimony that God loves us and invited everyone to cleave unto God as He cleaves unto us.