(Scroll down to read parts one and two first)
I think that I left off with, “…it’s not easy, nor is it the work of a moment, but it is possible.”
In an April 2002 Conference address entitled “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quroum of the 12 Apostles taught this principle:
“Spiritual submissiveness is not accomplished in an instant, but by….incremental improvements….Eventually our wills can be ‘swallowed up in the will of the Father’ as we are ‘willing to submit…even as a child doth submit to his father’ (Mosiah 15:7, 3:19).”
Elder Maxwell notes that “partial surrender is still commendable,” but it is not enough. He illustrates this point by giving some examples from the New Testament. The first is that of Ananias and Sapphira, who sold all their possessions to further the ministry and become true disciples, but “kept back part of the price” (Acts 5:1-11). Elder Maxwell remarks, “So many of us cling tenaciously to a particular ‘part’, even treating our obsessions like possessions. Thus, whatever else we may have already given, the last portion is the hardest to yield.”
He then discusses the righteous young man with great riches who was dismayed upon asking the Savior what he needed to do to gain eternal life, when the Savior responded that he needed to sell everything and give to the poor (Mark 10:17-22). Although this young man had lived a righteous life, he was “not yet willing to confront what [he] yet lack[ed]. A residue of selfishness is thereby exposed.” How often do we, too, seek to find and follow our Father’s will, only to falter when we find that He wants of us that which we don’t want to give?
Elder Maxwell taught, “The best way to valiantly testify of Jesus it to become steadily more like Him, and it is that consecraation that carves out the emulative character….Breathtaking submissiveness was acheived by the Savior as He faced the anguish and agonies of the Atonement and ‘would that [He] might not drink the bitter cup and shrink’ (D&C 19:18)….[but] What of Jesus’ ministry if He had performed additional miracles, but without the transcending miracle of Gethsemane and Calvary?” Without this final and great act of submission and consecration, the earth would have been totally wasted, mankind left without hope of salvation or redemption. All His other acts of submission and consecration would not have mattered. He had to give all and submit fully.
Sacrifice is the “very essence of the Atonement” (President Gordon B. Hinckley). In order to become like our Savior, we, too, must learn the lessons of sacrifice, submission and consecration. Elder Maxwell further elaborates, “In striving for ultimate submission, our wills constitute all we really have to give God anyway. The usual gifts and their derivatives we give to Him could be stamped justifiably ‘Return to Sender.’ Even when God receives this one gift in return, the fully faithful will receive ‘all that [He] hath’ (D&C 84:38). What an exchange rate!”
Yet we still hold back that final “part” even defending our idiosyncracies, “as if these protrusions somehow constituted our individuality.” Yet, we can give them up and “become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty” (Joseph Smith).
Elder Maxwell stated, “Since knees often bend long before minds, holding back this ‘part’ deprives God’s work of some of mankind’s very best intellects….Yet, sadly….in the subtle interplay of agency and identity, there is so much hesitation. The surrender of the mind is actually a victory, because it then introduces us to God’s stretching and ‘higher’ ways! (Issaiah 55:9)”
In each of our lives, there is something that is keeping us from being a true missionary or a true disciple of Christ. There is some “part” that we are withholding from the Lord, a piece of our will that we foolishly and selfishly cling to, saying “it’s mine.” But if we submit, it we fully surrender and give ourselves over to the Lord, it isn’t that we will lose what is “ours,” it’s that we will gain what is His.
We must submit in order to serve with our heart and mind as well as our might and strength. We must give up the things holding us back internally as well as externally. Only when we fully submit will our works fully be consecrated. And only then will we be able to profit from our service and “bringeth salvation to [our] souls” (D&C 4).
(I just want to mention how miraculous it is that we only have about 5 English Liahonas in our apartment ranging from 2002-2011, yet I seemed to find all the quotes I needed/wanted. Good deal!)
Well, that is it. Finally finished with that mammoth blog. Maybe now I can get back to the funny and stupid of -little-consequence things.