In all my high-minded criticism of others (see previous posts for proof) I drifted into a prideful state that drew me away from God. Meekness is the great protective buffer that keeps me on the Lord’s side, because it is constant recognition that I am nothing before God. Sin induces me to accept the false proposition that I am something great, and as something great I deserve to have my natural man needs met immediately. I had a recent experience with sin that I feel I need to share. I drifted away from God for a couple of days. It was enough to feel alienated from the light and love He freely offers me. I eventually came to a point of feeling spiritually nauseous. I felt deep regret for having willfully distanced myself from God to heed the selfish cries of the natural man. As I turned again toward God, I worried that it might take a long time to regain Father’s grace and feel His full acceptance again.
It did not. His acceptance was full and immediate. His love came flowing back rapidly. I realized I had previously labored under a false belief that required me to suffer in spiritual limbo before being worthy of God’s full acceptance, light, and love. As I pondered how I could have turned away from my Father, a thought came to me. It was a merciful, loving thought (and feeling) that brought the scripture Ether 12:27 to mind. It reads:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
I realized that all of the righteousness that I had attributed to myself prior to this episode had not come from me, but from His grace. I believe that only He can change my heart. I can hit my head against the wall of sin long enough to recognize that it will always bring pain, darkness, and spiritual nausea. At the point that my heart truly doesn’t want sin and longs for the light and love of God, I believe that is the fundamental turning point in spiritual progression. When, after “coming to oneself”, one begins to wholly and completely trust in God and ask Him to purify one’s heart, then real spiritual progress can begin to occur. I thought I was strong enough to overcome sin alone. I am not. He taught me that it was His love and grace that had kept me from sin. Without it I am nothing. He sent me a special assurance throughout this process. After teaching (reminding) me that He gave me the weakness that drew me away from Him, he assured me that would be the last time that particular weakness would drag me down. He promised me that that particular weakness would not again keep me from Him as it just had. He would make “weak things become strong” to me.
This experience reinforced a growing belief in me that the only thing true discipleship entails is giving up–giving up my desire to live my life and make something of myself. When I finally got sick of sinning and recognized that only through Him are all good things available, I stopped trying to perfect myself and threw myself down in front of Him and pleaded that He would change me into something good. I am wholly dependent upon Him for any goodness that I may become. And I love Him for it.
“22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing… 24 And behold, there were divers ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.” (Moroni 7)