Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lift Up Your Heads

There are lots of reasons to go to church. At church you renew your covenants, regain the spirit, receive a remission of your sins, strengthen your faith, learn Gospel doctrine, associate with good people, and the list goes on.

My own, personal reason for needing to go to church every week played out once again today.

The most frustrating thing in my life is my own fallen nature. The fact that I make mistakes, have limits, and sin, just drives me crazy. Though it is crazy and unrealistic, I wish that I could just be perfect right now. I wish that I didn't ever have to relearn a lesson that I've already learned once. I wish that I didn't ever recommit a sin that I've already repented of once. I wish that those moments when I feel like, "yes, I've figured it out!" would last forever, instead of fading away and once again permitting me to exercise faith in a daily, enduring-to-the-end kind of way. 

Today was one of those days when I felt burdened by my fallen humanity. I walked into church praying for help and hope, but feeling like I might never find it, because haven't I walked into church praying for hope before? Haven't I found it, left promising that this time would be different, this time I wouldn't make the same mistakes again, and then ended up falling again?

As I sat, feeling dejected and lost, the choir stood up and started singing "What Child is This?" As I listened to the beautiful lyrics, I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about Christ, the one whose birth we celebrate this season. I picked up my Book of Mormon and started reading through 2 Nephi, and found the following words.

"Let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off." 

The Spirit bore witness of the words as I continued reading. 

"Wherefore, I know that thou are redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men.

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah."

That is the truth that I need to remind myself of every week. That it isn't my own perfection that will get me to heaven--I already sunk that ship with my very first sin, which was years and years ago. No, it isn't my own perfection that will get me to heaven--it's His. Christ, the Lord's. 

And even as I write this, I'm guessing there will be another day when I feel burdened and saddened by my fallen, sinful nature. But there will also be another sacrament meeting when God can speak to me and remind me that I was never going to be saved by my own grace anyway.