This morning, as I was gleaning and capturing quotes from the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, I came across the phrase, “what great things the Lord hath done.”
I desire with all my heart to do all that the Lord opens the way for me to do to invite and encourage the Saints to embrace message of God’s goodness testified of in the Book of Mormon. I know that I need to be reminded daily to stay out of my own one-person-size version of the “pride cycle” the Book of Mormon describes over and over. I know I spent year caught up in the polarized half of the whole truth, the half that says that what we do to earn our salvation is as important—No! More important!—than what God has done and continues to do for us.
We put the emphasis on our own works, rather than on Him and His works for us. We act as if He will not associate with us, will not come to us in our mortal foolishness and failures–until we’ve proven ourselves worthy of His mercy and grace. It is my absolute witness, based upon the precepts of the Book of Mormon, that we can never prove ourselves worthy (Mosiah 2:21).
That doesn’t mean we should stop behaving in a way that is pleasing to our Father and Savior. It means that we should start behaving in a pleasing way toward them, not to earn anything from them, but to demonstrate how much we love Them!
And why would we love Them that much—enough to conform ourselves to Their Way and Their Life? Because They first loved us!
The Savior forgave the woman taken in adultery before she had a chance to do a single thing to mend her ways (John 8:3-11) . He immediately included the woman at the well in His offer of living water (John 4:6-30). He didn’t tell her to go clean up her act and meet Him back at the well in a week.
Why did the woman taken in adultery go and sin no more? Because of His mercy and His forgiveness, His compassion and kindness extended to her before she had proven anything to Him.
Why did the woman at the well run to tell her brethren in the village? Why was her heart so filled with excitement and joy over this young rabbi she had met? Because He knew her inside and out. He knew all about her, and He offered her “living water” anyway—before she had time to prove herself worthy of His offer.
I cannot refrain from sharing my living testimony that the order in which our salvation is won is: God first, with us a very pitiful and puny second. I cannot refrain from testifying with Paul that we only awaken to the correct degree of love for Him (the degree that changes our desires forever) when we realize how much He loved us first.
Just who comes first? Just Who is Alpha, the (only truly) Holy One of Israel? That’s the concept I must humbly return to sometimes with every breath.
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