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Monday, May 7, 2012

Salvation's Simple Formula

3,000 (or so) years ago,

"...the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21:6-9)

This is such a relevant story, that even the Lord mentioned it in the two verses right before John 3:16 (the most popular salvation verse in the Bible).

It seems like today, not much has changed.  True, we have prophets and apostles, quad scriptures and multilingually-translated general conferences.  But we also have programs, policies, practices, traditions, manuals, websites, memos, handbooks and guidebooks.  I personally know many who have held significant church leadership positions for decades who almost unanimously say it's a struggle to keep up with it all.

Is it any wonder Pres. Dieter F. Uchdorf recently stated,
"We human beings have a strange tendency to complicate simple things. We set up rules, laws, bylaws, processes, and subprocesses. Eventually, we pile up load after load until we end up under a huge weight of expectations that are so complicated it is difficult to keep track of them, let alone meet them.  Too often, we complicate the beauty and simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ with endless lists of meticulous expectations." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Acting on the Truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Jan. 2012 Worldwide Leadership Training)

"Printed material, wide-ranging media sources, electronic tools and gadgets—all helpful if used properly—can become hurtful diversions or heartless chambers of isolation." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Of Things That Matter Most," October 2010 General Conference)
Although the battle of simplicity vs. complexity seemingly continues, salvation remains simple.  Like the Israelites of old, many today stumble over salvation and don't believe it, because it just seems too simple.  There's no doubt it was hard for many Israelites to believe that a simple look at a bronze snake on a pole would save them from dying, but that was the only way they could be saved.  Perhaps that's what Jesus was comparing salvation to here.

Today, it is so easy for the basic gospel message to get lost among the deluge of information that hits us from all sides. Yet amidst the multitude of voices and choices, the humble Man of Galilee stands with hands outstretched, waiting. His is a simple message: "Come, follow me." And He does not speak with a powerful megaphone but with a still, small voice.

I know many who wish there was a simple formula they could rely upon to grow closer to Christ.  I understand how they feel.

Might I recommend one simple, single, solitary verse of scripture that might help you cut through all the programs and policies, processes and subprocesses (which we latter-day saints are so adept at creating) in helping you establish and maintain a truly intimate, personal and continual relationship with the Savior?

Here's my nomination.  Read, enjoy, and bask in its simplicity.

Your thoughts?

3 comments:

  1. How beautifully simple!! But the ol'deluder would entice us to believe we are of THIS world, and then it becomes complicated. It's so easy to be derailed. Diligence! Constant forward motion toward our Elder Brother. I look forward to the day when I have 'given up all my sins' to know the Savior.

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  2. The scripture that hits me between the eyes that goes right along with this is found in 1 Nephi 17:41

    41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.

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  3. It IS this simple. And laid out perfectly for us. Forsake. Come. Call. Obey. Keep. These are relatively easy actions. Then why is it hard?

    Because we're not looking up. We forget where to look. We get distracted and look down. We see something shiny out of the corner of our eye. :)

    Proper perspective changes EVERYTHING though! I have taken YEARS to figure out that when I immerse myself daily in the things of the Lord I can keep my eternal perspective.

    Thank you for your insights!

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