Grow Your Faith By Obedience: I Am Indestructible
Have you ever noticed that some commandments are easier to keep than others? That bit about not coveting my neighbor's manservant, I've got that one down pat! But certain commandments are not so black and white (to kill or not to kill), and are more a matter of degree–
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
Jesus teaches us that our decision-making is like building a house. We all live in the consequences of our decisions, regardless of the storms that come. But significantly, we choose where to build them. The man who "heareth [Christ's sayings] . . . and doeth them," is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock and was able to weather the storm that brought his neighbor's house to ruin.
I have totally experienced this in my life. When my priority is keeping God's commandments, I FEEL the blessings of my obedience. I feel more confident. More steady. I feel a connection with Him that I cherish. On the other hand, when my life is built on a foundation of a flawlessly clean house, for example, a few misplaced toys can send me reeling. The scriptures gently remind me: the "rock of [my] Redeemer," is a "sure foundation, a foundation whereon if [I] build, [I] cannot fall.”
When my priority is keeping God's commandments, I FEEL the blessings of my obedience. I feel more confident. More steady. I feel a connection with Him that I cherish.
I understand that Christ is like a rock. I have no problem with the concept of Him being perfect. But how do I know if my obedience is ever sufficiently constructed to obtain His protection? My success rate on most commandments is somewhere in the bumpy, messy continuum between faith and failure. How is it remotely possible for life's storms to have no power over me? Or indeed possible that I cannot fall?
Then it occurred to me: being instructible, or teachable, makes us spiritually indestructible. God knows that we aren't going to be perfectly obedient to every commandment–that's why He sent us a Savior. But He allows for an evolution of obedience, a process of refinement and sanctification, an education of our desires and our faith. The question is whether we will hear His words with a willingness to act on them.
I'm sure, you, like me, feel anything but indestructible. My house feels more like a shanty than a glamorous palace. But the nature of our indestructibility isn't that we never make mistakes. As we anchor ourselves to Him, we become incrementally stronger in our faith, more ready in our obedience, more hopeful of the future. Even though we learn line upon line, His word is constant and steady, anchoring us to the spiritual safety we need even before we are perfect! It is His strength, not ours. Our sufficiency is of Him.
So what does it mean that we cannot fall? Or that the storm shall have no power over us? To answer this, we have to recognize that the storm is anything that would tear us away from Christ. I don't think falling doesn't mean making mistakes. It means falling away from Him. This means when we focus our lives on His commandments, we won't fall away from Him and He will give us strength to overcome our challenges. Great power is given to us every time we seek His counsel and wisdom, no matter the opposition. Said Helen Keller, "To keep our faces toward change, and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is strength undefeatable." I like to think of it like this: my role is to face the winds with a willingness to learn, change, and improve through the grace of Christ. As long as I am "instructible" (willing to learn, to repent, to obey), the storm will have "no power" to "drag me down."
One of Satan's "shafts in the whirlwind" is hitting many people my age: a crisis of faith. It feels like looking over a cliff, and suddenly the rock doesn't feel so steady any more. But just because there is doubt doesn't mean that we aren't living on the rock! Dale Renlund counseled that when times of crisis hit, we should remember the spiritual foundations we have already built. Instead of putting our heads in the sand, we should lift up our eyes and trust that answers will come. Said Sheri Dew on our willingness to receive instruction: "Bring your scriptures and every question you have. Questions are good. Let's see what the Lord will teach us."
If we need somewhere to begin, some strength to glean today, some reason to obey, let us begin by building our lives on a foundation of Christ's unshakable love. M. Russell Ballard taught, "One of the sweetest messages the Spirit will relay is how the Lord feels about you. And that reassurance will strengthen you in a way that almost nothing else can."
To share this principle, consider the following teaching aides and ideas:
- To help teach children learn how to be "indestructible", invite a caped superhero named Captain Indestructible to share how he became so impervious to scary thunderstorms. His superpower is that he's "instructible." Practice following instructions from the scriptures throughout the week, and recognize efforts with a super hero lollipop.
- Sing Hymn, "How Firm a Foundation," particularly verse 7.
- “Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct your life is one of God’s greatest gifts to you.” - For the Strength of the Youth
Becca is a contributing author for the Grow Your Faith column of The Small Seed. She can be found any night of the year satiating her addiction to buttered popcorn, she can be recognized by her Lego-induced limp on one side, and, according to knowing sources at the grocery store, she "has her hands full, bless her heart." Rather than add more to her life, she is trying to keep up what she is already doing, just with more faith and devotion to her Savior Jesus Christ, so it can be said of her, "she hath done what she could."