May 31, 2021
Being perfect and being worthy are two very different things. It is easy to forget that fact! When we dwell on our imperfections, it can be easy to feel unworthy and unmotivated. But God understands us perfectly and knows our potential.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it.”1
The guilt we feel from sin and imperfection is meant to motivate us to improve — different from shame, which paralyzes us with sorrow. God loves us despite our sins, and He can lift us from our pain. He simply asks us to repent and be worthy, but He knows we will not be perfect. It’s our commitment to Him that allows us to be instruments in His hands.
Joseph Smith: A worthy servant
The Prophet Joseph Smith is an incredible example of a committed servant. Joseph frequently admitted his faults, but those imperfections didn’t stop the Lord from using him to restore The Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days.
Three years after the First Vision, Joseph confessed that he “frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth.”2 With the guilt of his mistakes on his shoulders, Joseph turned to the Lord for forgiveness. As he was praying, Moroni appeared to Joseph and told him of the gold plates — beginning Joseph’s preparation to bring forth the Book of Mormon.
Moments before the angel Moroni’s first visit, Joseph had been repenting of his sins and declaring his commitment to God. The Lord heard Joseph and used him to restore the gospel, despite his imperfections.
Paul: Committed persecutor to committed prophet
Paul had not always been a loyal servant of the Lord. He “made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and committed them to prison.”3 He was a ruthless persecutor of the Christians and had dedicated his life to destroying the Church.
He continued on like this until, one day, while traveling to Damascus, he heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Why persecutest thou me?”4 As Paul began to feel the guilt for all the wrongs he had done, he cried out to the Lord, “What wilt thou have me do?”5 In this single phrase, Paul showed his humility and desire to serve the Lord.
After becoming converted to the Lord, he said, “I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Christ.”6
Paul had a lot to lose from his conversion. He was a man of noble heritage and riches, but nothing was worth more than his testimony of the Savior. Paul’s past was far from perfect, but his humble commitment helped him overcome his imperfections. He changed from a committed persecutor of Christ to a committed servant in God’s kingdom.
Anastância: A faithful student
Anastância Balanga, a BYU-Pathway Worldwide student from Angola in Central Africa, was balancing her duties as a mother, wife, teacher, neighbor, and Relief Society instructor when she heard about PathwayConnect. The Spirit confirmed to her that she needed to enroll, but she still doubted her ability to be a student on top of everything else. Despite her fears, Anastância trusted in the enabling power available through Jesus Christ and His Atonement. She committed to starting her education and said, “I can feel the presence of the Lord in my daily activities and studies.”
Heavenly Father never leaves us alone when we commit to follow Him. He only asks that we trust in Him and strive to have a willing and committed heart. We will not achieve perfection in this life, but if we repent and serve the Lord, God will enable us to participate in His glorious work.
How has committing your heart to God blessed your life and the lives of others? Share below!