Word of Wisdom is a standard for measuring faithfulness

I marvel at the Lord's wisdom in the direction He has given His Saints as contained in the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, known as the Word of Wisdom. This revelation, originally given as counsel, became a commandment by the voice of the Church 18 years after the Prophet Joseph Smith received it.

In our day, it continues to be a means whereby the Lord measures the faith and obedience of His children. Adherence to its principles brings remarkable blessings to His covenant people.The Word of Wisdom provides great temporal and spiritual blessings. Both aspects are blended so that one cannot be considered without the other. Obedience to this commandment provides for the temporal salvation of the Saints through overall improved health. It also protects them from the "evils and designs . . . in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days." (D&C 89:4.)

Those who choose to do more than simply adhere to the "don'ts" of the Word of Wisdom, but adhere to the spirit of this commandment as well, will generally enjoy even greater blessings to their health. If the world would follow the counsel contained in the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, there would not be as much need for the numerous diets, health fads and exercise equipment that exist today.

A more important, but sometimes overlooked, aspect of the Word of Wisdom pertains to the spiritual promises made therein. The Lord has told us that "all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal." (D&C 29:34.)

In verse 19 of D&C 89, the Lord identifies spiritual promises of "wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures." As with all blessings, we must seek these things out.

One of my favorite examples of the temporal and spiritual benefits of obedience to the Word of Wisdom is the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah - whom the prince of the eunuchs renamed Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. (Dan. 1:7.) These great young men refused to eat the king's meat or drink his wine. They did not want to defile themselves with those things. As a test, the prince of the eunuchs gave these young men pulse and water instead of meat and wine. After 10 days their countenances appeared "fairer and fatter in flesh" than all those who ate the king's food and drink. Obedience was the key to the blessings of health these young men received.

Obedience to this commandment is the key to receiving those temporal and spiritual blessings that will help us face the "fiery furnaces" of temptation and adversity in our lives. We will receive these blessings if we truly seek them through prayer and study. Then, by faith and obedience, the heavens will be opened, and divine knowledge and heavenly wisdom will distill upon our bodies, minds and souls.

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