I have heard about self-destroying individuals on television; I've read about their consquences in the newspaper. Their lives have troubled me. I've sorrowed for them. I analyze my life: "Am I square with the Lord?" I know before I can help others, I have to make sure my own feet are securely trodding the pathway of the Lord.
Well, today I read something that comforted me. In the Joseph Smith translation of John 1:1 it states:
"In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God."
As I read, my heart soared. This is how I want to be–-so closely wrapped up in Christ that all those characteristics become mine: the word of God being with me, me living in union with the Lord, therefore truly being of God. This is all quite different than that which I see in many lives around me.
This is not an easy path. To the contrary, there are elements of risk involved. In so doing, I make myself a probable target of ridicule, and most likely I distance myself from friends who choose other paths. Can I handle these dilemmas? Or better yet, will I?
Then again, are they truly dilemmas? Just what am I losing by following Christ? Are I not truly gaining? So what if at times I face ridicule for walking in the strait and narrow path. In so doing, am I not also gaining self-respect, decency, integrity, and even honor? A little ridicule is a small price to pay for fashioning a life of steady self-respect. This I can do.
And while we’re on the subject, what have I lost when friends reject me. A few parties? A few “joy-rides” that leave me with the flat tires of self-contempt in the morning? Or maybe the friends I’ve lost don’t party, but instead riddle their lives with holes of conceit and ego, looking down their noses at those “less intelligent” than they.
I want the pathway Christ offers me. I want a life of greater purity and self-worth. In essence, I want to be like Him when He appears. How much better than the geographical alternative at His coming: cowering under rocks, wishing the mountains would fall upon me.
This does not imply I become selfishly wrapped up in my own life, grinding away at imperfections. To the contrary, a Christian constructs his or her life with the building blocks of service–-especially serving those who are not yet converted. I just will not join in with their self-destructive choices. Christ was the example of even this, as seen in John 1:1. He knew what He was about and lived accordingly.
I want to follow the path He set. I will absorb the word of the Lord to such a degree that it will always be with me, thus I will always remember him, and therefore, I will make the same choices He did. He will then always be with me, and one day I will be with Him in the kingdom of His Father.
Yes, this is the path I will trod. And in spite of the self-destructing behaviors pervading the world around me, I will remain faithful to that which I know: that the gospel is true and that the Savior came to show us a better way. In this I will trust. And in His path I will follow, no matter the ridicule I gain or the friends I may lose (whether inside the church or without).
To be like Him, I must do as He did–-know God’s word and be about His Father’s business. For, "...the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God."
That is my goal, no matter the self-destructive choices around me. I know what I am about. And by so doing, I can then help those who don't.
Next week: living a life of service.