Lately, my Sunday school teacher (trust me when I say you should be jealous that he isn’t yours) has been giving us a lot of challenges that have to do with being true and faithful to the end.
I know that this concept comes from his heart. He has mentioned in class that he wonders how some people who seem so strong, yet, years later, will no longer be active at all. That hit home to me – not only because I know he meant it, personally, but because I think that most of us know someone who once seemed a pillar in the gospel, but are no longer active…It is mind-boggling.
And I think about it. When I was younger, I was filled with the sense of invincibility that also seemed to permeate my spiritual-life, too. I just didn’t think that anything could happen to me that would shake my testimony to the point of my disassociation with the Church. I remember having a conversation (probably 11-12 years ago) with a friend about this idea – personal apostasy, and she voiced that sometimes she was afraid that one day she would fall away from the church. Let me clarify: she didn’t want to, and I couldn’t imagine it in her, she was just saying, she hoped it wouldn’t happen to her… And she hoped for that diligence in the gospel – just like that – as if it were arbitrary.
I countered that I wasn’t afraid if I would apostatize. She seemed appalled – by my audacity (?) pride (?), and I explained, I was actually afraid that I’d get lazy. If I got lazy, then I’d be afraid about apostatizing.
In some ways, I think that my mindset was good. Complacency is absolutely a first step to apostasy for many. (“All is well in Zion…“) But lately, as I’ve lived longer, I know of people who, at least outwardly, didn’t seem complacent, yet they give into a major sin, or they stop going to church…Something drastic happens so quickly. (a la King David – didn’t his downfall seem to come so quickly?).
I know that this is a part of the plan. To the multitude of the Nephites, Jesus said:
“18 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” – 3 Nephi 18:18
Satan is lying in wait. He is ready to snatch us up, as soon as we are falling. He’s not going to wait until we are really distanced from the gospel. In fact, our hearts may not be looking to sin – we may just be distracted. I don’t think he cares – as long as we forget the Lord, forget our covenants, and fall away.
So – I’ve been thinking about this. Making sure that I don’t get complacent is a great first step, but is it really enough? This is where my Sunday School teacher comes in. He gives us these challenges, and keeps bringing up the idea that we should commit ourselves to being true to the end.
I want to be true to the end!
Yet, I feel like, I have no idea what will happen. How can I promise that I’ll be true to the end if I don’t know what is in store for my life? DUH. Wrong approach. In writing, I see how silly it is. Yet, I feel like it has been hard for me to make this promise to myself because I’m afraid – what if I renege?
Yet, I’m thinking – making the promise, making the commitment is the key. If I make the commitment, then I’ll make it. After all…The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7).
I can only imagine that some of the great prophets I look up to – Nephi, Abinadi, Peter, Paul, Elijah, Isaiah, Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley – made the commitment to stay true to the end. I can’t imagine that they locked into the power of God without promising that they would stay true. I guess what I’m saying is, the promise to stay true empowers us in a few ways – we know where we stand, and I think that we open ourselves up for additional blessings – to fulfill this righteous goal.
So…I’m making the commitment to be true to the end. I’ve made this covenant before – in the waters of baptism, in the temple, and, now, I’m making it an actual commitment. And, instead of worrying about what happens in life – I know that things will happen, I’m confident in the Lord. I know that the Lord wants me to make this commitment. He wants all of us to make this commitment. I am confident that if I take this commitment seriously, he will bless me with the knowledge and testimony I need in order to fulfill this righteous goal.