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The role of faith
By DH
12/16/2011 12:13:35 AM
I know I have only been on this site for about 3 days, but it has really helped me in those three days. I am uplifted in sharing the struggles and successes of this community.

I have made some changes to my behavior in these three days. I have begun to notice earlier on when I start down a path that I don't want to be on. It is so much easier to avoid sin than to stop it once you let it go for a while. (Alma 59:9 says it is easier to keep a city from falling than to retake it.) This has been really helpful for me. I appreciate your support.

I wanted to share a scriptural insight I had that has helped me.

The Lord commanded Nephi to build a ship. He had never done anything like that, that we know of. There is a decent chance that he had never seen a ship built for the ocean, and this was back in the day when most people probably thought that if you sailed too far you would fall off the world or something -- my point is, I am SURE Nephi was a little unsure about his ability to do this.

His brothers didn't help any. They told him that he was crazy like their dad. Nephi responds by reminding them that God has consistently performed miracles for his people and those miracles seem much more miraculous than simply instructing Nephi how to build a ship. Nephi says:

If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?

What I saw in this verse that helped me is a simple reminder that if God COMMANDS it, and if we DO it, it will be DONE. I know that sounds pretty obvious, and maybe it is, but this is what I take from it: I have been so afraid that I can't be free from MB because it is too hard. I am just no good at it -- others can do it, but not me. That is my Laman and Lemuel coming out.

My Nephi would say:

"has God commanded me to forsake MB?"
Yes.
"have I done it?"
No, because I am afraid that if I do it, I will be preoccupied with sexual thoughts and I will crash with pornography and my desires will eventually just exhaust me and I will eventually fall anyway.

That is a lack of faith in God's ability to fulfill all of his own words. If he has commanded me to do this, and if I just do it, then it would be done. He will take care of the rest. If I have faith that by simply doing what he asked me to do he will take care of me.

One of my primary excuses for MB is that I am afraid of being exhausted by unsatisfied sexual impulses. But I should leave that to Christ. I should just do what he has asked me to do and he will perform the miracle. I need to take it a day -- or an hour -- at a time; the miracle of long term change is in his hands, not mine.

If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.

The role of faith in overcoming addiction, I think, is to believe that one day we will overcome through Christ. It is to believe that our efforts are not for nothing even though they are so often unsuccessful. It is to believe that Christ has asked us to try, and if we try, he will take care of the miracles.

Comments:

be thou earth    
"I love your analogy. I can do all things with God-- So, why not this?

There may even be more to learn from the water becomes earth analogy than simply that we can do anything with God. What are the characteristics of water? And what are the characteristics of earth? How exactly does God turn water into earth?

Are we more like water when we are trapped in our addiction? And what does it mean for us to become like earth?"
posted at 09:45:36 on December 16, 2011 by beclean
I don't know    
"Beclean, I don't know about the physical properties of water and earth, but spiritually, I think the point is that the water was an obstacle for Nephi at the time and his point was that if God wanted to, he could remove this obstacle with no effort at all, but instead he has asked Nephi to do something hard (for Nephi) which, compared to God's miraculous power, was very simple.

Nephi had the sense to recognize that how hard it was for him was not the issue, the issue was how simple it was for God.

So, Nephi reasoned: God can do this easily, therefore, If he commands, and I act on his command, I can count on the result regardless of whether my efforts are successful; God can succeed alone and he won't let me truly fail (although I may be sorely tested in my resolve to follow him) as long as I am obeying him.

Similarly, I believe that God could easily balance the chemicals in my brain and body and remove any desire from me to ever indulge in the filth of MB/P again. But he doesn't do that -- at least, he hasn't yet. Partly, perhaps, because life isn't meant to be easy. I am here to learn how to seek after him and how to trust him.

So he tells me a different way to get across the water instead of just turning it to dry land -- build a ship: work with bishops, 12 steps, family, scriptures, and prayer, and KEEP TRYING.

this is hard for me. Very hard. And I am afraid of failing, so I sometimes choose not to try. But as hard as it is for me, I have to remind myself that my challenge is no match for God's miraculous power, and just because he has not used that power does not mean that there is no hope of a miracle. If I just ACT on his command, if I just give my best shot to obeying his command, then I believe that someday the miracle will occur -- I will get to the promised land. He will get me there."
posted at 22:32:44 on December 16, 2011 by DH
faith to be saved    
"Yes, I like what you said a lot.

I think it's interesting that members of other Christian Faiths often accuse us of having a "we can save ourselves" attitude. They think because we put so much emphasis on works and actions that we do not truly understand or believe in grace. However, at least in my case, I know that I cannot save myself, and I cannot do this alone. I know that my work and my actions will never save me. But I know that Christ can save me. So, I do everything I can even though I know it won't save me, because I have faith that he will. Does that make sense to others? It makes sense to me."
posted at 12:46:40 on December 17, 2011 by beclean


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"Man has a dual nature; one, related to the earthly or animal life; the other, akin to the divine. Whether a man remains satisfied within what we designate the animal world, satisfied with what the animal world will give him, yielding without effort to the whim of his appetites and passions and slipping farther and farther into the realm of indulgence, or whether, through self-mastery, he rises toward intellectual, moral, and spiritual enjoyments depends upon the kind of choice he makes every day, nay, every hour of his life"

— David O. McKay