Sunday, February 17, 2019

Moroni 10:32 -- On Grace and Perfection

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
Moroni 10:32

The idea here, that God's grace is sufficient for us, is huge, and essential.  I really don't think that we get it most of the time, or at least I don't.  I have had times where I think that I just can't do it.  I'm not good enough, or not nice like other people are, or that I can't fight my own desires all day every day in favor of God's will.  It's too hard, or too stressful, or whatever... insert a billion other excuses here.

When I think this way, or when any of us do, though, we're getting it wrong.  God asks us to do two things here.  The first is to deny ourselves of all ungodliness.  That means we have to let go of those things that are holding us back... those things that we know are getting in the way of our relationship with God.  We have to get them out of the way.  The second thing is that we have to love God with everything that we are.  That means that we have to make God our best friend... call him all the time to talk, chat with him when we're in the car and the waiting room, when something happens good or bad, talk to him about it.  That's love, when he is always on our minds and we want to include him in everything.

Those are hard things sometimes--not saying they aren't.  But they are possible.  And they are a lot easier than becoming perfect overnight, which is usually what we are trying to do when we want to give up, or we think that we just can't.  They are things that we can work on each day... removing things that separate us from God, and adding things that bring us closer to him.

If we can start working on those things, then we are in the *process* of perfection.  We haven't arrived yet, but we're on the way.  We're turning the pages towards the happy ending.  And if we are moving, and trying, then God's grace is sufficient for us.  That means that it doesn't matter if we feel like pond scum or that we can't do it.  It doesn't matter if it's too hard or too stressful.  God is going to jump in there and help us, and work with us, and if we keep trying, IT WILL BE ENOUGH.

When we're standing way over here, it is hard to see what it is like over there, near the tree, with God.  It looks impossible sometimes, or not even desirable, since we are judging it by the standards of out here where people mock us or our weaknesses are tearing us apart, or we just don't always want to be good.  What we only learn as we get closer to God is that he teaches us not just physical obedience, but spiritual peace.  We can learn to be comfortable in our own skin, and we can change how we think and feel about things, because God will show us how, and he can change our hearts if we let him.  Just like we learn to like certain things because someone teaches us to appreciate them, God teaches us to appreciate the truth and the goodness that underlie everything around us.  We fear that we can't because we think that we will always think and feel as we do now, but we don't have to be afraid, and we definitely don't have to be miserable.  God's grace is enough to cover all the rest, if we just keep trying.

Today, let's get rid of the things that are in the way of our relationship with God, and let's add things into our lives that strengthen that relationship.  And then let's try not to freak out that we aren't instantly perfect, and understand that the idea of being perfect in Christ means that as long as we keep trying, that it is enough for God to work with, and together, we will get there eventually. :)

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