What does it mean when Christ says, “I am Alpha [the Beginning] and Omega [the End]; I am the Author and the Finisher of your faith.” (3 Nephi 9:18)
I think it means that He is both the beginning—the guidance—as well as the end—the grace and power—required for recovery. Both are accessed through His Atonement.
While it is true that the Atonement—being at one with God—is the culmination and end of a life of good works, a portion of that Atonement is also a gift that we can grab hold of during our daily life.
This daily portion of the Atonement is given to me from Him, not as a wage that is paid to me for my good works, but as a gift. That gift is the beginning of my ability to refrain from unhealthy behaviors or addictions.
Coming to Christ at the beginning of my addiction is also my “doing all that I can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). It is often in the depths of my despair, my weakness, and it frequently looks like a tiny infant laying in a field, crying for someone to come and save me.
And save me He does.
Yesterday, I watched myself live a letter-of-the-law, squeaky clean, day of sanity concerning food.
But you know what? I didn’t do it! I didn’t make one single effort to live by the “laws” of healthy and sane eating.
All I did was ask Him to change my heart. I asked Him to take away my desire to eat unhealthily.
And guess what?! It happened.
It happened—and I didn’t do it. I just went along for the ride. I watched it happen—right along with everyone else who noticed my sane and healthy eating choices.
You need no law to behave His way. When He is the one doing the deed—driving the car, so to speak—and you’re the one letting Him, you naturally follow in the best way, the right way, the healthy way.
It is true that “grace without works is dead” (James 2:17). If He offers His power to me and I refuse to take it—trying instead to succeed by my own power—then grace never materializes into works.
But it is equally true that works without grace is dead. In fact, doing the right things without acknowledging that it is His power carrying and empowering me is worse than dead. It is iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).
It is in accepting His offer of grace, His Atonement, that we receive the power for recovery.
©2012 Hearthaven Publishing. All rights reserved.