Be Ye Therefore Perfect

June 13, 2011 Gyumri 1 (North) Week 4
Be Ye Therefore Perfect

It is sometimes overwhelming thinking about my responsibility. I have a responsibility for the welfare of all the souls in this city. That overwhelming feeling quickly leaves when I  recognize his help. The Lord really does reveal his will. I have seen that over the last few weeks.

We found three new investigators this week. It is amazing. You can see it in their eyes. The people who are seeking to follow Christ and his example have a light in their eyes, sometimes explained as the “light of Christ”.

It’s a pretty funny story. We met a drunk guy on the street a week ago. He said that we should come over and he gave us his address and phone number. So Wednesday we called him. He was still drunk but we don’t deny anyone the opportunity to follow Christ. We just wanted to talk with him and plan to meet him when he wasn’t drunk. We arrive at his house only to meet two women. We apologized, telling them that we were searching for a man named Samvel. They smiled and said, “This is his home”. They invited us in and eagerly listened as we shared with them how God answers prayers and that the same priesthood authority that Christ gave to his apostles has been restored. They were ready to pray and learn for themselves whether or not God is leading us today by a living Prophet.

It was exciting to meet someone who was so eager. I can’t wait to see the blessings that will come as they begin to obey God’s commandments (Alma 36:1 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.)

The most complex and sometimes the most overwhelming commandment was given to us by Christ himself:
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

or as Christ said to the people in the Americas when he visited them

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. ( 3 Nephi 12:48)

We must not expect to be able to keep this commandment all at once. We must consistently, diligently make incremental changes until we reach that point of perfection. This will require us to make goals. We are not perfect, but we can be if we have faith in Christ. He promised us”… If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”

So we must, almost strategically change until we are perfect, even as he is, for God will supply the needed strength and power to make the painful but necessary  changes.

I have learned recently (well after a process of trial and error) that planning, goal setting and accountability to God when used properly are a process of performing miracles. It is the process, the model, that we must use to access the power of the Atonement. It is one of the most efficient and powerful forms of making the needed changes in our life. It calls upon the powers of heaven, while at the same time maximizing our effectiveness through the “best” (not just good) uses of our freedom of choice. The first and last part of Chapter 8 in Preach My Gospel explains this very well. One of the general authorities promised that if we use the skills taught in chapter 8 throughout our live we will triple our income. I feel that this promise is true for receiving spiritual gifts (1 Cor 13), guidance from God, miracles and making major or minor changes.

My mission is so much more than me walking on the street and opening my mouth. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Who would be crazy enough to suffer and sacrifice to teach people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who would be crazy enough to start a family  and suffer and sacrifice to raise a family? Who would be crazy enough to test God and keep his commandments and see “if [he] will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3)

My answer: Peter and John and anyone else that wants to see the miracles of God.

And to him [the council] agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffershame for his name.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.(Acts 5:40-42)

There is a joy in becoming like Jesus Christ. There can be a joy in the sacrifices that we make to keep his commandments. If we understand those commandments and why they are given we will understand that we keep them so that we can be judged according to our good works.

We choose to which degree we progress. We can become like Christ. I know that this is not only possible but that it is a commandment and that there is not greater joy than in striving to become like our perfect older brother and friend.

Really there are only two questions that we must answer
1) Is Jesus the happiest man ever?
2) Do we want to be happy?

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Elder Cook

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