Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Will Give Away All My Sins To Know Thee

A certain phrase of scripture has been in my mind for quite awhile now.  It is the response of a king to the teachings of Aaron.  Aaron had taught him many things, particularly that there is a God, who gave men commandments, that men were fallen and that because of their transgressions, God had prepared a plan of salvation and a Savior to redeem them, if they would believe in Christ and follow Him.

In Alma 22:15-18 we read the King's response to Aaron's teachings:

15. And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
 16. But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.
 17. And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:
 18. O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. 

"...And I will give away all my sins to know thee..."  This is the phrase that has been in my heart for awhile now.  

There are many, many good people today.  I am often amazed by the goodness and kindness of strangers.  And yet we are in a wicked world.  As I look around, trying to figure out what it is that is wicked in us, myself included, I ask, what is it that keeps us from truly knowing Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father?  What is it that elevates us from being "good" to being "holy" and true followers of Christ?

This phrase, "I will give away all my sins to know thee" has stuck with me because it is the sacrifice we must make if we truly want to know Christ.  Perhaps we are good.  Perhaps we avoid many of the great sins.  But do we give up our small sins, or those we justify as small?  Are we willing to truly sacrifice our will in order to know Him and be like Him?  

I love a talk by Elder Robert C. Gay in the October 2012 General Conference.  The title poses a very strong question, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"  What small sin, or "guitly pleasure" are we willing to trade for our soul?  Is any thing or act truly worth what the Lord has promised us in exchange for our obedience?  Do we believe Him when He says that all that He has is ours, if we will but follow Him and turn our hearts and wills to Him completely?  Could anything be greater or of more worth than what He desires to give us?

For me this question has been a great way to find the courage and strength to give up my sins.  Is there a TV show anywhere so good and entertaining that it would be worth losing the spirit in my life?  No.  Is there any possession I have that is worth the treasures the Lord has in store for those who inherit His kingdom?  No.  Any sin, great or small, is not worth my soul or the happiness I can have in this life and the next.  

As I endeavor to give away all my sins, I pray that the Lord will guide me to recognize them and give me the strength to abandon them.  I know there are things I do that perhaps I have justified to the point of not recognizing the sin in myself.  It will be a process, and I will have to humble myself to recognize my sins.  My pride will be another thing I have to sacrifice to be successful.  But I am committed to try.

The crazy thing is that in the end, I think it will be like giving up a nickel in exchange for a mansion.  We will wonder why it was so hard to give up that nickel.  But with our limited mortal perspective, sometimes it is.  Remember our sins are but nickels and when we are one day restored to an eternal perspective, we will mourn our loss to have held on to something of such little value when we could have given it for something of much much greater worth.

I pray we will not have our perspective clouded.  That we will see our sins for what they are and that we will say in our hearts:

Lord, I will give away all my sins to know thee for that which thou will give me will be much greater than anything I may sacrifice.