Perfection

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We were asked in elders quorum yesterday how we can become perfect; what can we do to become perfect.

As I thought about this, I considered the life of Jesus and how he was perfect spiritually. I concluded to myself that if there was anything we could do to become perfect, it would be found in His life.

Then I was reminded of his declaration of the two great commandments:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37-39)

So I wonder, is this the pattern we need to follow to become perfect? If we can develop a complete love of God and a pure love of our fellow beings, can we become perfect? Will such a development remove from our minds the desire to do wrong? Will it destroy our natural self and rebirth us with a spiritual self?

One thought on “Perfection

  1. My short answer is: Yes.

    However, I’d like to say just a little more.

    There are good, better and best reasons to keep the commandments of God. When I keep some commandments, I don’t know if I’m always acting out of love for God or love for man. Sometimes I’m acting out of a sense of duty (which some would equate with love but which I don’t think is always the same thing). Sometimes I’m acting out of fear for the eternal welfare of my soul.

    Christ points out that on these two commandments–love of God and love of fellow men–hang “all the law and the Prophets.” In other words, all the other laws, commandments and revelations “hang” on these.

    By this I think he means, among other things, that if we succeed in truly loving God and our fellows, we will always want to follow his commandments. It will be natural for us to do what he wants us to do, and to become like him, if we are possessed of this love. We won’t have to think very hard about “rules” because the behavior of following those rules will naturally flow from the Pure Love of Christ. That love is the highest and best of all the reasons we may have for keeping the commandments.

    But how do we get there? How do we develop that love? How do we get to doing things for the BEST reason?

    One of my answers to this question is, work backwards: Keep the other commandments, even for lesser reasons. Do the things that a person who loves God does, and the experience will help us to develop a greater measure of that love. Use the other, lesser reasons for obedience–such as a general sense of “duty” or a fear of damnation–as stepping stones to the higher form of obedience.

    Keep the Word of Wisdom because you fear damnation if you don’t. Then feel the blessings that come into your life as a result of that obedience and learn to feel a greater love for God. Take part in a ward service project because you’re “supposed to” and learn through the experience to feel a greater love for your fellow man.

    There are other steps to take, as well, in order to develop Charity. But I believe that obedience of other commandments, for lesser reasons, will help us on our way to keeping these two greatest commandments.

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