ALL IN – 28 Nov 2018
Over the years, we’ve bought our children different sets of scriptures, for different years or different Family Home Evenings or different classes, or whatever. I just found an old floppy-copy of the Book of Mormon I’d given Liam years ago. I’d given him scripture stickers to mark his favorite parts, and a metallic pen to make personal notes.
For your viewing pleasure:
A Book of Mormon scripture for today’s discussion. 2 Nephi 25:23, “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do”. Let’s talk about the “we” in this verse.
“It isn’t a matter of doing all that (I) can do FIRST, but rather it is a matter of engaging with Christ in a covenant relationship… Instead of speaking about HIS PART and MY PART, we need to speak more often about HIS HEART and MY HEART – loving each other, and being conformed to the same image.
The word we should focus on in that phrase, ‘after all we can do’, is WE. After all WE can do – WE as in me working together with God. It is not all on our shoulders, and grace isn’t something that comes AFTER we have done everything we could possibly can…
Grace is the power that surrounds us here and now. It is the force that gets us through the journey. It is not just waiting for us at the end of the journey.”
I like to categorize things. I like to say, MY PART, and, HIS PART. I’ve shared this before. But, maybe MY PART and HIS PART aren’t entirely autonomous.
I was talking to my friend the other day about my battery-powered bike. The way it works is this: I pedal, and it helps me. Simple. As long as it is turned on, and as long as I am pedaling, my battery is helping me, all the way up as well as all the way down the mountainside.
It does not wait for me to be so tired, so exhausted of strength that I cannot pedal another foot, before it kicks in to help. It does not wait for me to finish MY PART before it finally kicks in and does IT’S PART.
It is with me all the way.
In fact, it helps me so much more than I think I realize. I get the idea that I am strong. Ha! And then to test myself, I press the button to turn off the battery – just for a second – climbing up Quail Drive in north Provo. My friends, I cannot go forward without my battery. It is quite literally the “force that gets (me) through the journey”.
Well, I have been working and praying and fasting and trying to wrap my brain around this “journey” to a change of heart. It is one of the deepest desires of my life – a changed heart, a soft heart, a Christ-like heart. I want the thoughts that accompany such a heart. I want the emotions that come with this change of heart. I am pedaling, my friends! I am pedaling hard!
But I am not alone on that journey either.
I think, like that battery in the back of my bike, His help is ever present. The steep hills still make me sweat and shake, and my muscles cramp. And, like going around those curves on Quail Drive, I simply cannot see the end of the uphill. But He is there. His grace is an enabling power. Ours is a covenant relationship – “a warm relationship”. It is not a contract in that God won’t do His part because I cannot perfectly do my part.
“We need to get rid of the contract thinking.”
It is a covenant in which I am committed to Him, and He is committed to me – HIS HEART and MY HEART.
“Grace is not a get-out-of-jail free card… Grace is not a lowering of God’s expectations. Grace is His enabling power. It is how He can help us be lifted to meet those expectations. Grace (is) the power that changes us…
The goal isn’t just to be with God. The goal is to become like God. And that is a process that we can only achieve with His help – with His grace….
It’s not just about getting to heaven, it’s about becoming heavenly.”
What is there, more than forgiveness? Why do we have to go through trials in the first place? It is the transformation that grace brings to our lives.
“The reason its important to remember that grace is a little different than an answer to prayers, or a little different than a tender mercy is because then we can see grace in our lives even when we don’t see answers to prayer. And we can see grace changing and transforming our hearts even when we don’t see tender mercies. We can see grace beginning to change us and shape us.”
That change takes time. The transition takes time. And it takes “grace for grace”.