Sunday, April 6, 2014

"His Grace is Sufficient"

Hola todos!

This week has been similar to others, hot and lots of walking. But always fun and rewarding. :)

We had a pretty fun noche de hogar with the Palota family. (a new family that we are currently teaching). We played this really fun flour came where essentially if you knock over the flour tower and the coin that is on top of it, you have to fish out a coin using only your face. It was hilarious. Loved It. :)

I have also had a pretty spiritual week this week. During my personally studies, I read a lot about grace. I read an excellent talk by Brad Wilcox called "His Grace is Sufficient." I realize I have only little time to write, but it's an important enough topic that I think I'd like to write about.

In my seminary years, I learned that grace was a strong "enabling" power. But after considerable time thinking about it on my mission, I have realized that it is much more than that. Obviously grace is salvation. Through the grace of God we have been saved through the Atonement. But it also is a motivating force that inspires a change of heart and soul.

My Angel Moroni from last week's activity
While justice requires payment -- and is often filled with suffering -- through the Love of Christ, He has already suffered that payment, and offers us simply His grace ...with a much simpler set of requirements ...that inspires change. Either we pay through justice, through suffering, or we follow Jesus and change. "The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment, it's purpose is change." When a soul has been touched by grace, his life begins to appear a bit more as that of the Savior's. Brad Wilcox then asked a very penetrating question. "We all have been saved by grace, but have we been changed by it? Have you been changed by grace?"

The gospel, the church, the commandments, and Christ require everything from us. But why?

It is not to fulfill the demands of Justice; rather to inspire a change in us. But why change? "The miracle of grace from the Atonement is not just that we can go home to our Heavenly Father, but miraculously, we can FEEL home there." Christ is preparing us for Heaven. Christ has His rules to inspire us to change so that we can feel comfortable once we get there. In a sense, "Heaven will not be 'heaven' for those who do not try to be heavenly." If we aren't trying to improve ourselves and change, we won't feel worthy to be in the presence of God. 

A pretty good temple, I'd say :-)
Now this part really touched me. I suspect when we get there, it won't be Christ rejecting us from His kingdom ...but us refusing to go in because we feel a lack of worthiness.  Christ paid the price in full -- not to deny us exaltation -- but to reward us with it. He hasn't (nor ever will) turned his back on us. I'm sure He'll be there fighting for us on judgment day, begging for us to enter into His Father's Kingdom. But it will be us, the sinners, who feel unworthy to enter his presence. 

Christ gave us His grace to prepare us for this day, so that we change and feel worthy to enter His kingdom. Grace is about learning and preparing for Heaven so that we will be comfortable there. 

Christ's grace envelopes us with power, strength, and help to overcome the trials of life and to initiate a change from within. A life touched by grace is a life that reflects Christ's image.

I know that God loves each of us. And because of this love, He gave us His Son, Jesús Cristo. Whenever we are down, sad, tormented, burdened, weak ...when we are at the point that we cannot continue, this is when we are truly at our strongest.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 
-- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

When we can't do it, Christ will. When we are weak, then we are strong in Christ. And with Christ we can do anything. I know this is true. Grace is all we need.

Love you all,

Elder Clemons

It's really green here, but also super dusty !!
Some of you asked what Argentina-style meant :D