In our relationship, Larry was the more "public" person. I was the "safe place" for him to come to and find peace. It took him a lot of years to accept the fact that I was what he called "milquetoast" until one day I said to him "This is exactly what you like about me --I am the only steady and calm thing in your life." Instantly he knew I was right. He had to go out into the chaotic world and slay dragons every day, and I was able to stay at home and make a place where he could find refuge, comfort, and love when he returned. He appreciated that.
President Thomas S. Monson and those before him have shown us the way. The path is clearly marked, and the pace is steady and strong. You, like Agnes, are being asked to cross the plains. You may not have to give up all your earthly possessions, but the journey to Zion requires that you give up all of your sins so that you may come to know Him—the true and living Christ. You may even be asked to run to the point of exhaustion, but by doing so, the warmth of the Lord’s love will preserve you for the great work yet to come.
We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny. The Lord’s pattern for spiritual development is “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2 Nephi 28:30). Small, steady, incremental spiritual improvements are the steps the Lord would have us take. Preparing to walk guiltless before God is one of the primary purposes of mortality and the pursuit of a lifetime; it does not result from sporadic spurts of intense spiritual activity.
I witness that the Savior will strengthen and assist us to make sustained, paced progress. The example in the Book of Mormon of “many, exceedingly great many” (Alma 13:12) in the ancient Church who were pure and spotless before God is a source of encouragement and comfort to me. I suspect those members of the ancient Church were ordinary men and women just like you and me. These individuals could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence, and they “were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God” (v. 12). And these principles and this process of spiritual progress apply to each of us equally and always.
Let me suggest to you four settings in which to practice quick and steady obedience. One is the command to feast upon the word of God. A second is to pray always. A third is the commandment to be a full-tithe payer. And the fourth is to escape from sin and its terrible effects. Each takes faith to start and then to persevere. And all can strengthen your capacity to know and obey the Lord's commands.
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