Friday, April 19, 2013

Jacob 4:4-5

"For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.
Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son."
Jacob 4:5

I like this explanation.  The reason for so much of what we do is to point our souls to Christ.  The scriptures are full of people, throughout history, who believed and led exceptional lives, trusting in God, and making offerings to him... at first through the law of Moses, and then after Christ fulfilled that law, offering instead broken hearts and contrite spirits, or as it asks in the book of Omni, "offer your whole souls as an offering unto him."  The notion of pointing your soul to Christ, or offering your soul to him is what all of this is about.  It's like the test of Abraham.  He committed to God in the first place in order to get away from human sacrifice... and God needed to show him that his commitment was deeper than that.  It requires everything... not just everything *except* the one thing we are most afraid of.  We can never just go through the motions... commitment to God is not shallow.  It's body, and mind, and heart, and soul.  Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.  We start out with just part of ourselves committed sometimes, but if we don't follow that up and finish the work, then that kind of partial dedication just causes internal war, and lots of pain.  And when we're in that kind of pain it is really easy to leave God behind entirely, thinking that is the way to solve the internal conflict.  And it does, to a very small extent.  But this is God... the desire of our hearts.  The source of our truest joy.  And letting him go causes us pain in a completely different and more desolate way.  Instead, we have to follow the path to its conclusion.
Commitment to God is a commitment to change, a commitment to dedicate everything, down to our last desire.  If there is something within us that doesn't fit God's plan, does that mean that we aren't meant to follow him?  Absolutely not.  We commit to God and become new creatures, and everything about us changes.  We don't have to have an internal war.  We don't have to hate ourselves or even part of ourselves.  We have to *change* ourselves... be reborn.  More than being baptized, it is that mighty change of heart that it talks about in Alma 5:14.  It is tempting sometimes to think that God will make an exception for us, out of love.  And he does love us, so much... but it doesn't work that way.  We're the children.  We're here to learn and change.  He's already perfect.  He knows that we can't function as adults with these kinds on internal conflicts, and we have to resolve them.  We have to adapt to God's definition of good, rather than trying to change the definitions so that we can keep souvenirs of our old selves.  And that happens through all of this... pointing our souls to God rather than pointing them elsewhere.  Conversion, and that mighty change of heart.
And that change, internally and externally, is something that we need every single day.  As Alma 5:26 asks, "Can ye feel so now?"  Today, if we haven't had that mighty change, let's talk to God about it, and be willing to change even our hearts for him.  And if we have, let's think about whether our hearts are still changed today, and renew our commitment to God.

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