Waiting (fixed)

March 2, 2012

Much of my life, and I’m convincede the lives of others, has been spent waiting and looking forward to things. I waited to get a drivers license. I looked forward to the summer break. I waited to get off work so that I could hang out. I waited for the cross country race the coming weekend. I waited for my mission call, and then endured the MTC experience. I’ve gone through a phase of struggling to stay on mission and just waiting every week for p-day. All with the hopes that I can endure a whole 2 years and go home.

But then what? Satan’s “real world” would tell me to wait through 4 years of “education” so that I can look forward to a wonderful job opportunity. So that I can wait  for a paycheck every week; so that I can wait till my kids are old enough to leave the house, and I can then retire… Once retired then what? Well more waiting… but when does it stop when does the waiting end.

Many assume the waiting for better things will end when we die and are “assigned a kingdom” or when we “go to heaven”.  Then we can stop waiting because now were stuck in one of the 3 circles on the diagram… “Gee hopefully I’m good enough for the celestial one”.  This, “hopefully I can be good enough” mentality can cause for a really stressful waiting period

As we wait we ask god “what do you expect of us in order to be worthy?  Or good enough for such a kingdom? “The lord responds by simply telling us we have fallen and we wont be worthy but to be humble enough to accept his direct guidance, and we accept the atonement he will do the works through us.  But the ones waiting reply “well god you can’t really mean it’s that simple we want to make ourselves better”. So in reply the lord gives us exactly what we have asked for with a checklist of things that we do in order to make ourselves righteous.  In the days of the children of Israel god gave them 614 laws to follow. Of course the laws pointed to something and were deeply symbolic because they come from god. But unfortunately the people added their own laws onto the list as well, as they the rejected the actual list that god had given. And we have seen practically the exact same thing happen today, we have rejected the meaningful laws while adding our own rules of worship. Rules that point to nothing but our own pride. “If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches?” (Mosiah 12: 29) We are required to wear costly apparel but have rejected or ignored large portions of the D&C (the modern law of Moses)

Maybe it’s just me but I see a pattern here, the more written laws and commandments of men a people receive the more self-righteousness and pride they embrace.  It seems that as we add more and more expectations for ourselves and for others the less we are able to see the worth of souls. We become statistics capable of producing something instead of people.

The law is interesting because the same Lord through the apostle Paul later states “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20) well then why would he give the law? Whats the point? The point is that by focusing on our own merits we miss the point. “For god hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they could not understand….god hath done it that they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:14) The law is there so that we will realize that we cannot do it on your own.

God does not wish for us to be down here just waiting, and worrying about eternity, and whether or not we are going to be “worthy” for eternity when it comes at some point in the future. Granted this life is a time for men to “prepare to meet god” (Alma 34:32) but given the scriptures cited above and many other things I could cite, I think it’s easy to say that focusing on obedience with  exactness is missing the point. Especially when we’re striving to obey mans rules rather than gods laws.  I feel a different form of preparation is in order…

Alma in Alma 5:27-28 gives us a big hint as to what sort of preparation is needed, “Behold I say unto you are you stripped of pride? I say unto you if you are not your are not prepared to meet god.”  (Alma 5:28) verse 27 also gives us some great insight he starts by asking if we are blameless before god? And then proceeds to tell us what makes us blameless, and the only qualification is humility. Humble enough to allow Christ’s atonement to take away our unworthiness.

Our worthiness struggle is a problem because it removes our humility and replaces it with pride. “I am going to pay tithing so that I can get the blessings, because if I do the works I deserve the blessings” I could say that over the pulpit and none would cry foul. This kind of statement is common among us if not openly than definitely in our minds. We act like the only reason for the gospel is for god to give us what we deserve for our good works. “obedience with exactness+hard work+ faith=blessings”  is the mission equation. Obedience is reduced to being a means to an end.
There has become an unwritten checklist for members (it’s written for missionaries) when obedience is the only focus. It’s a checklist of dead silly works done without hear but just to check it off to relieve the burden of unworthiness from the mind. But what we are not seeing is that the burden is not to be taken upon us. It is taken upon Christ. Our merits can never relieve that burden. Only Christ merits.

“He hath forgiven us…and taken the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his son.” (Alma 24:10)  Jesus Christ’s works are what are to take away our guilt. Not our works, our works are prideful. Christ works are humble.
Yeah we are saved “after all we can do” (alma 25:23) but all we can really do is stop thinking that we can do so much for our salvation and accept what Christ did do for our salvation. Being “saved” as some Christians put it is a real experience, we scoff at it because we don’t understand the scriptures the way they are. Mosiah 5:2 talks about a people who were changed and they no longer had a desire to do evil.  It’s the baptism of fire, the mighty change of heart (link here) it’s how we really accept the merits of Christ his perspective is given to the person and this is how we are saved by the grace of Christ, and by our works. Christ’s works become our works when we actually take his name upon us. In a discussion with one of my companions about how to live without a desire to do evil, my companion kept repeating the commonly held doctrine that “changing is a process” and “it’s not going to happen all at once”.  I disagreed but I didn’t know how to show him that it is an all at once thing. Looking back now I should have said “yes you are right changing ourselves is a really long process that will not happen all at once; but allowing Christ to change us does happen all at once. He can do it for us much better than we can do it for ourselves.”

Moroni 6:6-7 mentions what church members should really focus on after baptism “relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith” is the conclusion. Of course in V. 7 it says that the iniquities are cast out but when someone has truly relied upon the merits of Christ they are purified and desire no more to do evil(mosiah5:2) When one really becomes like christ and has “the will of the Son … swallowed up in the will of the Father.” (Mosiah 15:7)

We need to quit looking waiting for eternity and notice “we are in eternity and out of it we can never get” (BY JD 2:8) “for the kingdom of heaven is AT HAND, at our feet, here for the accepting . But what does man do? He wants to buy it with his ‘worthiness’, grab it for his greediness, use it for his vanity” (Max Scousen)

“Come unto the lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him” (Mormon 9:27). How many of us can say we have been truly humble enough to fear the lord. Fear to the point of trembling. Not many of us I think. Were to ‘worthy’ to have to worry about our salvation. Obedience to commandments is important but only through Christ can we be truly obedient. Through our own efforts we will always be found unworthy.

The only reason I bring up my somewhat controversial views on these matters is that I know its true. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16) . And all this that you might understand that all flesh is in his hands so “be still and know that [he is] god” (D&C 101:16) once you get that far you will start to really see how heavenly this earth really is.  Eternal things real things are not obtained as a result of achievement they are gifts of god (Moroni 7). Anything eternal exists right now, the kingdom of heaven is here for us to find joy in we are just too busy ‘’knowing” better to see it. I find the joys of eternity surrounding me daily and it fills my soul with joy. Eternal life is to be found today, tomorrow and forever. Not earned. But until you really realize what you Christ had done and truly accept it, you will still be in the lone and dreary world WAITING….


6 Responses to “Waiting (fixed)”

  1. Justin said

    I’ve talking a couple times with Joana about “waiting” and how the idea of Heaven or Zion as a place we’ll all get to in the future keeps us separate.

    That conversation between her and I made its way into the end of one of my posts:

    Eternity is NOW, and we can make a heaven of it or we can make a hell of it:
    We think our separateness is just fine to settle for here-and-now because one day we will have Zion in which to be together. Just having the “idea” of it all is what’s keeping us apart and wasting all the life that we could be living, right now.

    When I think Jesus has been the one just waiting – waiting on us to get a culture of heaven established here on earth – to have things “on earth” as they are “in heaven” – so He doesn’t end-up killing us with such a culture shock.
    Instead of thinking, “Oh, we’ll just get it all figured out after we die [or after Jesus returns, etc.]” – we’re supposed to be doing it all here, all now – otherwise we’ll drown when we’re immersed in Zion in the future.

    She calls it “Heaven is a Problem” — because it can keep us apart.

    Meaning the idea of Heaven often keeps friends or families scattered — separated by great physical distances — depending on wires, satellites, money, and energy to bring them together every once in a while — and all the while thinking that’s OK to settle for now because “one day” we’ll be together as our Celestial, Eternal Family forever.

    Waiting on that idea of heaven keeps us apart now. And it keeps us working, commuting, passing time, polluting the planet, moving faster — but never finding Joy.

    We’re not supposed to wait for Heaven [or Zion, etc.] — we’re supposed to make it on earth as it is in Heaven.

  2. Rob said

    This is great. I’ve really been going over this and trying to understand it better. I used to believe that people were either lazy or scared, that’s why they didn’t progress. But now I’m seeing so many other issues, such as complacency and the idea of waiting. From reading your post it just clicked that really, the issue is either being born by fire or not.

    My last blog post was in the same vein , “Pray for your desires to change, then you’ll do what’s right because you’ll be moved to do it. That is the only way Zion will be established. That is the way to the Celestial Kingdom. No one is going to be there because they “did what they were supposed to do.” They will be there because they lived a Celestial life in both their actions and desires that mirrored those of the Carpenter’s Son.”

    I’m glad for my mission and the way it turned out for that time in my life. It’s pretty cool that you are on this path already, especially this growth while on your mission. I was being prepared, but didn’t get your same spirit until years later. I say this because it will really make a difference in the direction you go with in life and the super important decisions probably on your menu.

  3. well rob didnt you hear i got sent home fro my mission. i guess i just told to many people too many things.

  4. returningtozionMike said

    Very good post as always. Sorry you got sent home. I had my “awakening” right before I turned 19 (I’m 20 now), so I never went on a mission. I feel that my personal convictions and testimony of the scriptures prevented me then (and still do) from answering every question on my temple recommend interview the way the church TM requires. I imagine it is a difficult process at anytime of your life, but while on a mission seems particularly difficult. But no matter the heartbreak, I am sure you like myself would not want to go back to a state of ignorance after being enlightened be the spirit.

  5. Rob said

    Ya, I heard you got sent home. If you really have desires to serve and going on a mission wasn’t just a duty or what you have to do between high school and college, then this is a great opportunity to go on a true disciple of Christ mission.

    So this isn’t me telling you what to do…this is just where I was at after my mission. If I was who I am now and was in that position again, this is what I would have done. I’m trying to raise my boys with the same attitude, while letting them figure things out and hopefully coming up with better ideas than mine.

    When I got home, I was happy to see everyone, but after a week, I really wanted to go back on a mission. I had a friend at the apartment I was living at who felt the same. All we did was daydream about it and then would go to classes at UVU and work in the evenings and do what “we’re supposed to do” to be successful in this world.

    If I was in that position again, I’d pick one or both of two plans:
    1)Head to some place like Honduras or Liberia or Sudan. I’d go there and either join a humanitarian group until I figured out the situation and then go and do it better on my own w/out the bureaucracy.
    2) I’d either do that or head out to the Indian reservations and go like Ammon. A mission, but like Christ taught, as well as the scriptures. Hopefully reconcile with the Lamanites.

  6. I’d probably sit right down and consider the lillies a little more heavily, then climb to the top of a mountain to consider the birds.

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