Thursday, May 29, 2014

I will give away all my sins to know thee

With four littles in the home, family scripture study can be difficult.  My husband and I read three to five verses of scripture each night with the children and then say a family prayer before tucking the littles into bed.  It's going to take us a while to get through the Book of Mormon, but we are making progress and instilling the habit of daily scripture study.  We are currently in the book of Alma.

The other night, while my husband was reading aloud to us, a scripture jumped out at me and was embedded into my thoughts: "And I will give away all my sins to know thee."  It was Alma chapter 22 verse 18.  This is when Aaron teaches King Lamoni's father (Ammon had taught King Lamoni) about the reality of God and the atonement and being redeemed of one's sins, Lamoni's father is converted and is willing to, as he says: "I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy." Alma 22:15  (emphasis added)

I immediately thought of all the things in my life that distract me from the Savior, the small vices that won't necessarily keep me out of the temple, but don't help bring me closer to the Savior.

I know the Savior, I have felt His love and have felt His comfort blanket me during times of trials.  But I have also had moments where He felt distant, not from His doing but from mine.

I have vices, we all do.  I tend to think of sins as those huge heinous ones that are serious and will keep me out of the temple, but there are also the small ones that usually get overlooked, or maybe even rationalized.  For me it's usually music, movies, or television shows, and even how I spend my time; things that aren't always obvious but at times contain content that goes against my beliefs.    

I also thought of the young fellow in Mark Chapter 10, the one who ran to the Savior and knelt at His feet and asked what he could do to inherit eternal life, to which the Savior asked him if he had observed the commandments and the young man answered yes.  To this the Savior responds:

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me
 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  (emphasis added)
The Rich Young Ruler
I'm not using this example to say that having possessions are a sin (though they are when we choose them over the Savior).  But the contrast between King Lamoni's father who was willing to give away all that he possessed and all of his sins to know God, compared to the young rich man who was already obedient to the commandments but couldn't give up the things he loved because they were more important than knowing God, that difference is what I'm pointing to.

Are there things in our lives that are "not so bad" and don't necessarily keep us out of the temple, but get in the way of knowing our Savior?  Are these things, things that we would participate in if He were in the same room with us?  Would we still watch that movie, that show, listen to that song, drink that energy drink, partake in that conversation or use that language?  Would we ignore His presence, His advice, His love as we sat attached to our mobile devices? 

My vices have been troubling me lately, especially since reading Alma 22:18,  my vices aren't things that most would consider to be bad habits, in fact, most would probably chuckle and say, "Oh it's really not that big of a deal." but for me they are distractions from feeling my Savior's presence and from getting to know Him better.

We are all at different stages in life, especially in spirituality; that's the beautiful thing about this life.  The things I feel the Spirit guiding me, telling me I need to improve on might be things others have already mastered, or things that others don't have trouble with.

So though I'm already doing my best at avoiding the "big sins",  I'm resolving to give away ALL my sins so that I can really know Him.

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