Jill Hubbard Cleaver
4 min readDec 15, 2022

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Most Desirable, Most Joyous to the Soul, Most Sweet Above All, The Love of God

The tree of life is a representation of the love of God.

Nephi, an ancient prophet, saw the tree of life in a vision.

The tree is “the most desirable above all things…the most joyous to the soul.” The fruit of the tree is “desirable to make one happy…most sweet above all…white to exceed all whiteness…” The tree “is the love of God which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men.” (See 1 Nephi 8, 11)

I like that thought of the love of God shedding itself everywhere, in our hearts. I like to imagine the love as little sparkles of light everywhere.

Do we notice His love?

There is power in awareness, power in noticing. We are more aware of His love when we look for it.

We see some form of the words, “look”, “see” and “behold” sixty-three times in 1 Nephi 11. Sixty-three times in one chapter we are told to give our full attention to the things that are most desirable, joyous and sweet.

That is a significant message about the power of being fully aware of God’s love.

I remember a time when I was with a couple of friends on a special outing. Almost every time I tried to contribute to the conversation, I was interrupted. It felt as if they were not interested in anything I had to say, like I was a little bit invisible. I started having a little pity party inside my head. Then I reminded myself how much Heavenly Father loves me, even when I am awkward or self-centered, and how much He loves my friends, even when they are awkward and self-centered. Remembering God’s love made me smile.

What obstacles might be preventing us from seeing and feeling the love of God?

Nephi saw a great building which represented the pride of the world. “After (the Lamb of God) was slain I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb…that great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great”.

What causes pride?

Fear causes pride. Fear causes a lot of problems.

The fascinating thing is that the remedy for fear is the love of God, which comes by looking to Him, noticing Him everywhere, giving Him our attention, trusting Him, following Him, remembering Him, making and striving to keep promises to Him.

An angel asked Nephi, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” I love Nephi’s reply, “I know that He loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” How did Nephi know that God loves His children? He paid attention to the things of God. His brothers, who did not seem to know the love of God, paid attention to their desires for the comforts of life.

Why should we look at Him, give all of our attention to Him?

Because He is far more accepting of us than we are of ourselves. He is infinitely more loving, wise and perceptive. He knows all the answers and solutions. When we look to Him, believe Him, accept His love, breathe in His light and love, trust Him, let Him help us, follow His example, then we are less encumbered by fear and we feel free to go and share His love with others, minister in a higher and holier way, and do so with pure intent, instead of trying to look good. We don’t feel the need to have the approval of others because we have God’s approval. We allow ourselves to feel loved and accepted.

We can choose to allow ourselves to feel loved.

We can choose to share God’s love with others.

Immerse in His love.

Immerse in His perspective.

Immerse in lifting others.

Immerse in creating something beautiful.

Look.

See.

Behold.

Do some good.

In April 1994 M. Russell Ballard taught that behold means not to just glance or casually observe or occasionally take a look in a general direction. He said it means to embrace with our eyes and with our hearts, to see and appreciate divine attributes.

If we want the love of God, which is most desirable, most joyous to the soul, most sweet above all, we would do well to spend time seeing Him, beholding Him; and following His example.

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