Chapter 7 – Enduring to the End

June 11, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 10:02 am   Category: Plan of Salvation

This is the last installment in the series of the Plan of Salvation. Click here for previous posts in this series and why I’m writing this children’s book.

The process of becoming like Christ is called sanctification. As the Holy Ghost sanctifies us, we receive more light, knowledge, and love for others; which makes us happy because we also enjoy God’s presence in our lives. n order to be sanctified, God will ask us to sacrifice the temporary things of this world to choose the things of eternity. In order to strengthen us against the temptations we will face to cling too tightly to the things of this world, Christ has outlined, through His prophets, specific habits that focus our minds on life’s purposes and invite the Spirit into our lives.

Our habits become our bosses, and good habits will make us better people, while bad habits make us unhappy. Developing a good habit requires discipline, which is why those who have the habits of Christ are called His disciples. Enduring to the end means that we continue in the process of sanctification and do our best to follow the Spirit as Christ’s disciples until we are reunited with Jesus. Learning to understand the way the Spirit works with you can be a difficult process, as the Spirit works with each person differently. Recognizing and expressing gratitude is one of the fastest ways to open your heart to receive the Spirit in your life, so choosing to be grateful is a vital habit to develop.

We have been asked to make prayer and scripture study a daily habit. We are also told to work at developing habits of church attendance, fulfilling our callings, tithing and offerings, service, work, kindness, patience, as well as some other habits. Bad habits tend to make us selfish and keep us from noticing the needs of other people. But if we will develop good habits, our minds will be free to focus on things of lasting importance, and we will be blessed with charity for others.

Charity is the pure love of Christ and it is the most important identifying trait held by His disciples. Charity is to not worry about your self, but to see other people’s needs and then serve them. It is to see others as Christ sees them, which means you will love them and want them to be happy. If we don’t have charity, we won’t be able to do Christ’s work and practice being like He is. The greatest experiences in life are opportunities to do the things that He would do if He were here, because that is really why we came to earth in the first place, to be like Him. Part of the reason there is so much pain in this world is to help us notice the needs of others and grow to love them by sacrificing for them. The type of love called Charity gives us vision and it fills us with joy and peace.

Moroni 7:48

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

I look forward to your comments, critiques, and suggestions.

19 Comments »

  1. I thought this post was going to be about bankruptcy when I saw the title.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 11, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  2. Chapter 11 – Renegotiating to the End

    Comment by Jacob J — June 11, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  3. Kent,

    Sounds great, but you are preaching to the choir.

    Next.

    Comment by Dave C. — June 11, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  4. Dave C,

    Of course he’s preaching to the choir. It’s a Mormon children’s book about the plan of salvation fer cryin’ out loud.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 11, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  5. Geoff, you just need to have more charity for Dave.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — June 11, 2009 @ 11:17 am

  6. Hehe. What do you mean Kent?? I meant for my last comment to be taken in the nicest possible way.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 11, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  7. Kent,

    I like this chapter especially because it is about stuff I find very important. I can only see one line to take issue with, which is this one:

    Developing a good habit requires discipline, which is why those who have the habits of Christ are called His disciples.

    While it is true that the words disciple and discipline are etymologically related, this seems a bit fishy to me. I am trying to decide if it is just me though. My suspicion is that you are using the word “discipline” in a different sense than the one from which the word “disciple” arose. I think you intend “discipline” to mean something about exercising sustained self-control but I think Christ’s “disciples” are called that because they are followers and students of Christ. So, I have the feeling that the sentence above involves a bit of linguistic sleight of hand, but I am not positive.

    Of course, this is a pretty ticky-tacky complaint even if I am correct.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 11, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  8. “the Spirit works with each person differently”

    Until reading this today, I’ve always accepted this to be obviously true. Now I’m wondering: 1) how we could really know this was the case, and 2) if it’s possible that He could work with each of us essentially the same and that any perceived differences would be just that- different readings of how the Spirit is interacting with each of us based on our own filters of subjectivity. I’m just thinking out loud here- I still think the way you wrote it makes the most sense (and is likely true), but I’m going to have to revisit this idea. Any more thoughts?

    Comment by brady — June 11, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  9. Geoff, thanks for having my back. I know your sarcasm detector is always turned on.

    Jacob, do you really want to go against the great WIKIPEDIA on this one? I do agree that we don’t use discipline like we used to, but I’m singlehandedly trying to bring us back to our Latin roots. I want my children to learn martial arts too, so maybe they can think of themselves as ninjas for Jesus or something.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — June 11, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  10. Brady,

    We don’t know that the Spirit works differently with everyone, but we either take others’ witnesses for it or we don’t. The problem with a “formula” approach to recognizing the Spirit is that when a child tries to make the recipe and doesn’t have a “reaction”, you are kind of out of luck. We could always fall back on, “Well, your heart might not have been right, or you need to exercise more faith.” For practical purposes we must act as if the Spirit does work differently with everyone, since we can’t really tell whether someone’s heart is right or not.

    Comment by Kent (MC) — June 11, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  11. Kent- Yep, I agree. I’m definitely with you there. I wasn’t advocating a change, just saying thanks (in a strange way) for helping me think about something differently than I have for a while.

    And I think the way it’s written here is best, especially for Jesus-ninja kids :)

    Comment by brady — June 11, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

  12. Kent,

    Actually I don’t think I am going against that wikipedia entry. It says the root goes back to “instruction,” or as I said, the disciples were called disciples because they were students of Christ. By contrast, it seems like you are using the word discipline to refer to mean something about exercising sustained self-control. I think that sense of the word is more recent which is the linguistic sleight of hand I am referring to.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 11, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  13. I love it – except for some discomfort with the Spirit works differently for everyone bit. It seems unnecessary, to me, and lends it self possibly to interpreting subjective responses as the Spirit. Also, while the learning how the Spirit works may well be a difficult process, I’m not certain that comparing differences in personal reactions is going to help that be easier. I’d personally emphasize fruits of the Spirit that are common in learning to recognize it: knowledge, wisdom, comfort, an increased desire to do good, love, etc., as you’ve outlined elsewhere.

    That’s my criticism of a fine piece. I don’t think it is weaker if you drop that sentence, or amend it to something like ‘Learning to recognize the Spirit can be be difficult, but is easier when we remember that the Spirit always leads us to Christ and enlarges His words in each of us in according to our individual needs and personality.’ ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — June 11, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  14. Once I got to “Ninjas for Jesus” I forgot everything else. Had to google it.

    It’s true, there is nothing new under the sun.

    Comment by Matt W. — June 12, 2009 @ 5:30 am

  15. Matt, I really thought I was being original. Funny!

    Thomas, excellent suggestion. I’d like to ask others’ opinions on the matter, does the Spirit work differently with everyone or not?

    Comment by Kent (MC) — June 12, 2009 @ 7:59 am

  16. Jacob,

    I thought that discipline sentence of Kent’s was one of the best parts of the chapter and I don’t think it uses sleight of hand at all. Honestly I don’t see a substantive difference between your “students of Christ” and “exercising sustained self-control” because I don’t think the two could possibly be separated.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 12, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  17. If it said, “it is fitting that they are called disciples” or something like that, I would be with you. I like the fundamental point Kent is making. When is says “which is why those who have the habits of Christ are called His disciples” I think that is just factually incorrect.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 12, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  18. Kent: May I suggest that sanctification be put into relationship with justification as it is in D&C 20:29-23? It seems to me that discussing justification as the moment that a new life — the life and light of Christ — is born is us or begins to live in us, is essential to understanding growth in this life and light, or sanctification. Justification is the moment that we are accepted into right relationship with God through Christ as a matter of grace. In accepting this life, we will naturally desire to do all that we can to conform our lives to Christ. We do that by repenting — which means to remove from our lives anything that gets in the way of having and growing in further relationship with Christ and being like him. We will desire to be baptized in his death and resurrection in covenant to stand as his witnesses because he has asked us to do so.

    Thus, justification naturally entails the process of sanctification. The further growth in the life and light of Christ through further repentance and the ordinances of exaltation are the natural fruit of justification. The process of growth in relationship with God through grace is the natural fruit of our faith in and love for Christ. This process is sanctification.

    The best scripture, in my view, about sanctification is Moroni 10 that ties together the process of growth and the goal of perfection in Christ — what I call Christification or deification:

    32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
    33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

    I love this scripture because it places the process of sanctification in proper relation to grace and that sanctification consists in denying all ungodliness — or everything about us that is inimical to being godly or deified.

    Any way, just a suggestion.

    Comment by Blake — June 14, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  19. Blake, I think your suggestion is fine. In chapter 6 I talk about repentance and baptism in a slightly different way, and I don’t ever use the word justification, but I will go back and revise that chapter slightly to give more emphasis to the continuation of the process that leads to deification. Thanks!

    Comment by Kent (MC) — June 14, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

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