Saturday, April 10, 2010

Following Christ

   So I started reading Following Christ by Stephen E. Robinson today and already it is connecting to so many things I've been learning and reassuring me of so much that I've felt about Christ's presence in my life and what it means to turn to Him.
   The first chapter is called "Getting to the Kingdom" and it goes through how in accepting Christ, believing, and entering into a covenant of baptism with him we are saved NOW. The gates of the kingdom of God are already behind us. We are IN.

"Nothing that happens subsequently can be understood as helping you get into the kingdom, or earning your way into the kingdom, or contributing to your getting to the kingdom -- because you are already there. It logically follows that for those who have been born again, the critical question is not one of getting into the kingdom but of staying in the kingdom -- enduring to the end" (17).

   Of course this is something I already knew right? I mean, I knew that I was sanctified and justified through the atonement of Christ and that the only step left was for me to endure to the end and I would be saved. But I didn't think seriously enough what it means that I am already saved... I hadn't considered the POWER and COMFORT Robinson describes that comes from knowing "that as I labor for Christ, I labor as a son, encircled in the arms of his love, from a position of safety in his kingdom" (18).  It really does change how I see my standing with Him to think of it this way; that choices I make and my feeble efforts to be perfect are my decision to stay in His kingdom. (Or in the case of sin, to leave His kingdom.) 
   AND I need to trust myself to be able to remain faithful as I am learning to trust His commitment to love and help me. I am His after all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Freedom to choose

2 Ne. 2: 27-29

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;

29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

I was thinking about this scripture with the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. In Genesis 39:10 it says that "day by day" she asked Joseph to "lie by her or to be with her." This isn't just a story of a man resisting the temptation to violate the law of chastity -- it is the story of a man who chose resist anything, harmless in and of itself though it may be,  that would put him in peril of sinning. I think we sometimes justify wandering into what we see as grey area between righteousness and sin. The problem is, we start to think this means since we not choosing sin per say, we are not choosing "captivity and death." The fallacy there is that if we are NOT choosing to follow the Spirit and NOT choosing to do God's will then we are NOT choosing eternal life. We are in fact choosing to give in bit by bit. We are allowing ourselves to come closer and closer to captivation by sin each time we give in to the flesh. When Potiphar's wife grabbed Joseph's garment he quickly "fled, and got him out" because the strength of continual righteous choices was with him. If he had been giving in previously, to JUST "lie by her" (just BY her) or to JUST "be with her" (just WITH her) then what's to say he wouldn't have then be "captivated" and unable to flee -- because he had surrendered the power of his will to the flesh and therefor to the devil.

I am certainly not an expert at this. I know I have made choices in grey areas and justified them because they were not the sin itself. But I have also seen how those choices make it harder and harder to stay away from sin. I need the power to flee when the BIG choices come. I will choose to keep that power by trying harder to choose liberty in the small things.