In a recent message I shared in our church service, I stated that:
“The gospel of Jesus Christ just doesn’t work with half measures. The blessings that come from living the gospel of Jesus Christ: Peace, strength, hope, joy, fully come to those who are fully committed.”
While I believe that maximizing the benefit we receive from the gospel of Jesus Christ requires giving it our all, I need to amend this statement slightly.
Can we receive blessings by being only halfway committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What about 90% committed? Or 10%?
The answer is an unequivocal yes.
No matter where you are on the path of discipleship…
You can feel the love of God.
You can receive divine guidance.
You can receive confirmation of things that are right and true.
You can enjoy the blessings your Father in Heaven desires to give you.
Making mistakes, falling down, not being a 100% disciple does not exempt us from experiencing the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But how often do we make the mistake of thinking that membership in Christ’s church is an all-or-nothing proposition? I’m either saved, or I’m damned. It’s only heaven or hell for me.
One of my favorite quotes is from Elder Marvin J. Ashton. He taught:
“… the speed with which we head along the straight and narrow path isn’t as important as the direction in which we are traveling.”
I just love this!
God expects us to move closer to him, but he knows we will inevitably stumble. Thankfully, he is perfectly patient with where we are along the path. And because of this, the expectations God has of us are all different. He does not expect you to be just like me, or I like you. And thankfully he doesn't expect any of us to be like President Nelson. Giving "our all" to the gospel is not the same for everyone.
So, can your efforts be pleasing to God if you cannot do “everything” right now? Yes!
If you can’t do “everything” right now, do what you can do. Do as much as you can until you can do more.
Can’t quite get to church every week? Go every other week. Can’t get the energy up to study the scriptures every day? Read just a verse a day. Don't feel like you can handle a church calling right now? Volunteer where you can.
Then let that be OK. Please don’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Please don’t walk away from Christ’s church just because you can’t do it all right now.
I am by no means trying to say that being a disciple of Jesus Christ can be a part-time job. God has rules that are non-negotiable. We don't get to bend the teachings of the church because we don't like or agree with them. But I sincerely believe that God is more patient with our shortcomings than we can comprehend.
Again, do as much as you can until you can do more.
Striving to live the gospel is living the gospel.