Sunday, January 22, 2012

sufficiently humble

The Guide to the Scriptures describes humility as "being meek and teachable" and "recognizing our dependence upon God and desiring to submit to his will." I couldn't imagine a better definition of "charity... seeketh not her own." What keeps getting to me, however, is the fact that as much as I try to be teachable and submit to God's will, I feel like I keep falling back into the same bad habits as before. I remember that the Lord gives us weaknesses so that we may be humble and rely on His grace to make us strong (Ether 12:27), but then I read things like Alma's soul-searching questions to church members who had strayed from the path a bit:
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? (Alma 5:27)
 I start to wonder whether humility is really enough! On one hand, it seems like the Lord will cover our weaknesses and help us overcome them. On the other hand, it seems like we won't be prepared to meet God unless we're completely cleansed from sin. The footnote for the word "blameless" directs us over to the term "justification," which is defined as being "declared guitless," and is received "by the Savior’s grace through faith in him" (GS--Justification, Justify). It then goes on to explain that faith is shown by repentance and obedience, and now we have completed the circle: we are free from sin if we stop sinning and receive grace.

Right?

Well, if we think that Jesus' grace is only effective if we're doing everything we're supposed to, I think we've missed the point. I would like to share a wonderful BYU Devotional from Brad Wilcox that discusses how Christ's grace can be an effective part of our lives long before we've overcome our many sins and weaknesses. The talk is entitled "His Grace is Sufficient," and you can watch it at byutv.org or read the text at speeches.byu.edu.

If you're like me, you often hold yourself up to an impossible standard. I would challenge you to join me in recognizing that we are incapable of reaching that level of perfection that we so desperately seek, humbling ourselves before the Lord, and relying on His grace to cover us as we strive to learn and do God's will. He will "make weak things become strong unto [us]" (Ether 12:27). But as long as we are still weak, maybe we can follow Peter's counsel and "[cast] all [our] care upon [the Savior]; for he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

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