Sunday, June 8, 2014

Alma 5:26-30 -- On Avoiding Complacency

"And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?"
Alma 5:26-30

A good reminder today.  Conversion and dedication to God requires a change of heart... we have to inwardly be committed just as much as our outward actions show.  We not only have to avoid evil, we have to believe that it is, in fact, evil. :)  We can start with purely physical obedience, but we have to get our hearts and heads into it as well, before we can say that we are truly converted.  A lot of this chapter deals with those things, but here it talks about later.  If we have been truly converted and we have felt that mighty change of heart... can we feel so now?  Are we sustaining that belief and that perspective in our lives?  It goes further, basically reminding us that conversion isn't a one-time blink of emotion... it is a new perspective that changes who we are.  And it prepares us for eternity. :)  Once we are converted, we sometimes think that is it, we're done, but as we learn especially in Alma 31:19, it is just a beginning.  These verses talk about other things that we need to do to be "prepared to meet God" ... that idea is a powerful one.  With him standing in front of us, could we answer all of these questions positively?  Have we been humble and clean?  Have we gotten rid of pride and envy from our lives?  Do we mock others, or persecute them?  Definitely not judging any of you, but I'm guessing that collectively we're not there yet.
Sustained effort is hard... that word "effort" in there kind of gives it away, I guess. :)  And part of us wants all of our difficult projects to be over.  We want to do something and have it be done... not to have to revisit it over and over again.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for us, the gospel isn't like that.  Imagine if we as children reached the old age of 13 and then we had said, that's it, I'm done.  I've grown enough.  I'm exactly the way that I want to be right now, and there is no reason for me to change.  If somehow we had been able to stop our physical and intellectual growth there, our lives would now be in shambles, right?  Those people that we used to be needed to learn a lot.  And I submit to you that we're all still about 13 spiritually.  We still have so far to go.  Today, let's renew our dedication to being and feeling converted, both inwardly and outwardly.  And let's remember that some part of ourselves is still 13, and not be complacent about who we are or what we've accomplished.  Let's work on answering the questions posed here, and be open to learning more, and preparing better.

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