Saturday, April 21, 2018

D&C 58:29 -- On Attitude and Action

"But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned."
Doctrine and Covenants 58:29


Something that we don't always get about life is that attitude matters.  God isn't just trying to force us into a behavioral mold.  He's trying to help us to become happy, to learn *why* the commandments are right and good and we should stick with God, rather than just doing things "because he says so."  As with any parent-child relationship, it isn't a bad idea to obey for that reason, but eventually (and the sooner the better), we need to learn why for ourselves, and actually want to do the good things for the right reasons.

I had a teacher once who gave me a C on a paper, and explained to me that for anyone else it would be an A, but that he knew that I could do better.  I didn't react well to that message, and I thought it was a pretty unfair standard.  Looking back though, I think it makes a lot of sense.  He was right.  The idea in the verse above of keeping a commandment with slothfulness was *exactly* me.  I did the minimum necessary to get by, and thought that I would skate through like always... and I needed to wake up.  That teacher was looking out for me, trying to give me some individualized education, and help me excel.  It didn't work so much at the time, but that's my fault, not his. :)

God isn't expecting us to be good at everything, or to be better than the next guy.  Truthfully, he knows that none of us will ever meet the minimum standards for heaven by ourselves.  So it isn't about being "fair" to us.  If he were actually fair, we would all fail.  He just wants us to all make a sincere effort and keep trying, so that we can eventually rise above our limitations and be able to live with him again.

Today, let's try not to be resentful that we have to do things that reek of effort.  Let's not wait around until the last minute when there is no way out of it to take care of our obligations to God.  Let's not go in expecting to fail, or expecting God to condemn us.  Instead, let's work with God, being open to his help to change our hearts and to become the amazing people that we can be.  That day, in that class, I should have realized that it was an opportunity to improve, and rewritten the paper.  Today, with God, let's do better than I did with my professor, and let's take the opportunities that God gives us and act on them.  Let's find ways to learn and grow and help people without God having to draw us a map.  We can see good things to do all around us.  Let's do some of them. :)

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