This is a question I’d like to ask myself every day, all the time –
How am I submitting my will to God today/right now?
I think it’s an important question for a lot of reasons:
- It helps me be aware of my current situation
- It helps me think ahead on how I can submit to Him today
- It keeps me focused on Jesus Christ – putting Him first in my life
- It keeps me fortified against Satan’s fiery darts
- It helps me stay grounded in the Gospel and not distracted
If I were to answer this question today, I would list the following ways I’ve submitted my will to God.
How I Submitted to God Today
- When I was picking up Chloe from dance, a song came on the radio “Timber”. I listened to the first few words and just didn’t feel good about it, so I turned it off. I feel this was a conscious decision to not go down that path and to do the will of Heavenly Father.
- Becky was feeling really bad today – health wise. The kids were being quite crazy and I was watching game 7 of the World Series (not helping out as much as I could have been). She was getting ready to head to bed and was frustrated that the kids had made quite the mess. I feel in the past I would have got defensive and made a snide remark even though she probably wasn’t really targeting me. Instead, this time, after she went to bed I made sure the kids and I picked up everything, got the dishwasher loaded and started, and cleaned things up properly. This felt much better.
- I’m writing in my journal now instead of watching TV. I feel this is a way to connect with my emotions and feelings and show God I care about recovery. I do feel I want to do this earlier in the day, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it – tomorrow is another opportunity to submit my will early on.
- I said a few prayers, at least one or two, during the day, in an effort to refocus and connect with God.
- I listened to part of a talk that I want to study more about tonight. The talk is called Free Forever, to Act for Themselves by Elder L. Todd Christofferson.
Ways I Can Improve Tomorrow
- I wasn’t always that patient tonight with the kids. I yelled a couple times when they were being crazy and spanked Jayden softly when he wouldn’t help pick things up. After a while, I calmed down and tried to take a breath or two. I hope tomorrow I can have fed my Spirit better so by the end of the day I’m not on a short fuse.
- I wish I would have studied in the morning, but, like I said, tomorrow is a new day to do this.
- When Becky was feeling bad, I could have paused the game, helped with the kids, and cleaned things up. Then, when she went to bed and the kids were down, I could have watched the game in peace and not gotten mad or frustrated.
I’m sure there are other ways I can improve tomorrow, but those are a couple that come to mind.
Now to the study of the talk by Elder Christofferson…
…who bears responsibility for what happens in our lives?
When things turn bad, there is a tendency to blame others or even God. Sometimes a sense of entitlement arises, and individuals or groups try to shift responsibility for their welfare to other people or to governments. In spiritual matters some suppose that men and women need not strive for personal righteousness—because God loves and saves us “just as we are.”
I told Becky today that this comment really reminded me of what I’ve interpreted Mandy’s new church to believe – that we are all saved by grace and we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves or beat ourselves up if we sin. No matter what, we’ll be saved.
Obviously this is just my understanding based on what I’ve heard, and honestly, I’m trying really hard not to talk about, mention, or criticize Mandy and her ways at all – I have enough to worry about as I look in the mirror and evaluate my own decisions.
So how can this apply to me?
For the last two years or so I tended to blame others for why I was doing what I was doing. After all, I was justified because I wasn’t getting the attention I felt I deserved as a husband who was trying to work and provide for his family.
How wrong I was!
Today I feel lucky even to have Becky and the kids with me. Today I feel grateful they are here. Today I’m just happy I can contribute. Today I feel so blessed by God for all the blessings He’s given me despite my actions in the past.
But God intends that His children should act according to the moral agency He has given them, “that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.”2
I believe this.
Agency is a tricky gift: we want to be free to make whatever choice we want to make, but often we forget that every choice we make, good or bad, will have with it a consequence, bitter or sweet. Granted, the consequence won’t always come to us right away – we won’t see blessings falling from heaven immediately after we choose to keep a commandment today; nor will the bitterness of sin always make us cringe the moment we choose to tip that cup. In fact, many times the bitterness only comes afterward, many times drawn out over time (as in my case currently).
Yes, there was bitterness and regret when I committed the terrible mistakes, but I was so blinded and past judgment at the time that I didn’t really feel the pain as I have now.
I want to “…be accountable for my own sins in the day of judgment.” I want to be able to look to God and tell Him I’ve tried to live as close to Him as I possibly could.
God will not live our lives for us nor control us as if we were His puppets, as Lucifer once proposed to do. Nor will His prophets accept the role of “puppet master” in God’s place.
God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become….
By submitting my will to God, I’m allowing Him to help make me into something that I’m choosing to become but that I know I can’t become on my own.
By submitting my will to God, I’m giving Him the green light to shape and mold me according to the potential He sees in me.
By submitting my will to God, I’m trusting that He knows far better what’s best for me than I do. I feel that in the past, I’ve not trusted this. I’ve felt that I’m fine, I know where I want to go and I know how to get there. How wrong I’ve been…
We can choose to become the kind of person that we will, and with God’s help, that can be even as He is.8
Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helps and guides us. Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments.
His commandments show me He loves me; and me keeping the commandments show my love for Him.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And that’s not just the ones I pick and choose to keep, that’s ALL of them.
What role does justice plan in the plan of happiness?
Justice is an essential attribute of God…But as a consequence of being perfectly just, there are some things God cannot do. He cannot be arbitrary in saving some and banishing others. He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”13 He cannot allow mercy to rob justice.14
…“according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance.”18 It is the requirement of and the opportunity for repentance that permits mercy to perform its labor without trampling justice.
The requirement of…
The opportunity for…
Repentance permits mercy to not rob justice. If I’m willing to repent, to confess and forsake my sins, mercy then can over power justice and give me a chance to still live with God.
But if I choose not to confess or forsake or make amends through repentance, then I’m willing letting justice play it’s role in God’s plan of happiness, for God cannot allow mercy to rob justice and He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”
I really like this concept:
…acting to repent is a self-willed change. So by making repentance a condition for receiving the gift of grace, God enables us to retain responsibility for ourselves.
Repentance is submitting my will to God. As I repent, I’m allowing God to share His grace with me and He’s allowing me to use the gift of agency too.
“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”20
This is so true as well:
A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist.
One young adult expressed it this way: “I don’t think I could say that Hinduism is wrong or Catholicism is wrong or being Episcopalian is wrong—I think it just depends on what you believe. … I don’t think that there’s a right and wrong.”21
To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—“I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.” But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. The same is true for eternal law and justice. Freedom comes not from resisting it but from applying it. That is fundamental to God’s own power. If it were not for the reality of fixed and immutable truths, the gift of agency would be meaningless since we would never be able to foresee and intend the consequences of our actions.
I am under no illusion that this can be achieved by our own efforts alone without His very substantial and constant help. “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”24 And we do not need to achieve some minimum level of capacity or goodness before God will help—divine aid can be ours every hour of every day, no matter where we are in the path of obedience. But I know that beyond desiring His help, we must exert ourselves, repent, and choose God for Him to be able to act in our lives consistent with justice and moral agency. My plea is simply to take responsibility and go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.
I really loved this talk.
How does it apply to me? It’s all about submitting my will to God through repentance on an immediate basis. It’s all about choosing to follow Him, choosing to keep His commandments, choosing to do His will, and choosing to reap the consequences for my actions.
All I can do is take things a day at a time, submit my will, and do my best; through His grace and mercy, He will then pick up the slack, which there will always be no matter how hard I try.
I’m grateful for this understanding today.
I’m grateful for the words of a living apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m grateful that today is another day in recovery.
I’m grateful that today I’ve tried my best to live as close to Him as I could.
I’m grateful that, if it’s God’s will, I will have another day tomorrow to try to live even closer to Him and strengthen our relationship even more.