Why do I do this? Why do I do what I do? Why do I go to church? Why do I do my home teaching? Why do I pay my tithing? Why do I keep the Law of Chastity?
This semester I am blessed to be in a families in world religions class. This week we had a guest speaker talked about Protestantism. Now I listen to a lot of Christian radio (kLOVE is always preset on my car radio) but something he said really struck me.
I knew from growing up around evangelicals that most Christian religions outside Mormonism and Catholicism don't prioritize baptism or works. In fact I was used to hearing those black baptist stereotypes from mission stories praising God because they were saved. I've definitely been one to get lost in the faith vs. works argument and being a perfectionist a lot of that argument was between me and myself in my head.
Thankfully I'm not much of a perfectionist anymore (though I still have my moments). However, as the guest speaker was talking I had a lot of perfectionist friends in mind as he talked about grace. He presented the faith and works scenario in a way that I'd never thought of before. He pointed out that Catholicism (and I'd add many people in Mormonism) view grave and works like this: Faith + good works = salvation. I liked his take on it though: Faith = salvation + good works. He even referenced King Benjamin's people as evidence of this (having grown up with an LDS best friend and now living in Utah he knows a bit about Mormonism).
I talked to him after the lecture and I have to agree! Why am I doing what I'm doing? Am I doing it to be saved? If so, why? The Savior has already paid the price for my sins and the scriptures say that it's through His merits that I'm saved. What do any of these "good works" matter?
They matter because I love God. How would my life be different if the reason I kept the commandments and did everything I'm "supposed to do" was because I love God?
A year ago I was in a bad place spiritually. I was wrapped up in a thick blanket of insecurity and addiction. Want to know what pulled me out? It was because I finally let God in. I stopped trying to do it and I let Him take control.
Back to the guest speaker, what's my motivation? We talk in the church about "enduring to the end". The guest speaker noted the miserable connotation surrounding that. How many times have I heard members of the church upset because they feel they HAVE to live the gospel or they HAVE to go to church. The people I know who live like this... Miserable.
How would my life be different if I wanted to do all these things? If I want to go to the temple, it's a joy, not a chore. If I want to live the commandments (because I love God enough to trust in His methods), I will find joy in my life, instead of feeling restricted or oppressed.
Living the gospel will never be a chore again if I can keep the love of God in focus. I know why I do what I do. I don't HAVE to keep the commandments, I GET to live the way my Heavenly Father knows will bring me happiness.