Randall J. Brown shares in his book, Experiencing Christ: Your Personal Journey to the Savior, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc.(pp. 21-23), that we don’t need self-help books—we need the help of our Savior Jesus Christ. As we go to our Savior, He will help us—there is no other source that can completely rid ourselves of the natural man. Brown belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”), and is an avid follower and disciple of Christ:
A family member recently told me of her friend’s struggle with perfectionist tendencies. She related how her friend had taken her children to a midnight movie. The movie ended in the early hours of the morning, and, I assume, that if she did go to bed it was long after that. Yet she was up at 5:00 am, ready to do her daily five-mile run. As far as I know, this woman was not a world-class athlete training for the Olympics, yet she apparently felt driven to maintain a certain body weight and level of appearance.
Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, addresses an important question: What is it that drives us in our lives? We should seriously consider this question. Warren said, “Many people are driven by guilt. . . . Many people are driven by resentment and anger. . . . Many people are driven by fear. . . . Many people today are driven by materialism. Many people are driven by the need for approval.” As we put Christ first in our lives, everything else will fall into place or fall out of our lives. Our desires, or that which drives us, will either come into alignment with the Savior’s purposes or fall out of our lives.
People whom we consider Christ like are probably not the self-made men or women who are driven by success. They are probably not those who visit the gym on a daily basis to maintain the perfect physical appearance.
On the other hand, they most likely are those who are humbly relying on the Savior’s grace to strengthen and enable them. They probably are those who counsel with the Lord for guidance regarding their infirmities and weaknesses. Most likely, they are the men and women who, through the experience of their trials and afflictions, are developing the gifts of compassion, charity, and divine nature. They are the men and woman who are experiencing Christ in ways that are changing their hearts so the things of this world are losing their grip upon them. They are those who have come to know that without Him, there is no other way.
In society today, we pride ourselves on self-sufficiency, self-mastery, and self-discipline. Reliance on anyone or anything is looked upon as weakness. In fact, the word surrender is often thought of in a context of losing.
Today, self-help programs and personal-power philosophies exist in abundance. We are seduced by the modern god of self. If we were to search the scriptures for evidences of self-sufficiency, we would find no support for this man-made philosophy. In fact, we would find that the scriptures support just the opposite position—the position of “relying wholly upon the merits of [Christ], who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19).
Colleen Harrison, in her book He Did Deliver Me From Bondage, said, “True self-mastery comes from turning our ‘self’ over to the Master, and true self-sufficiency is found turning to Him only who is sufficient.”
The prophet Ether taught the doctrine of Christ’s grace to his people in these words: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me” (Ether 12:27).
The Lord, speaking through the Apostle Paul, taught the Corinthian Saints the same doctrine: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Robert Millet said, “We incorporate the powers of divinity only through acknowledging our own inabilities, accepting our limitations and realizing our weakness. We open ourselves to infinite strength only through accepting our finite condition.”
Self-sufficiency skews our understanding of the Savior’s infinite grace. Sometimes we hear people in Sunday School trying to compare grace to a race or a marathon, proclaiming that grace only comes into play if we get close to the finish line on our own efforts. Then Christ will come and pull us across, but we’d better get close enough! Some might say we earn as much of it as we can and then the Savior pays the rest.
This line of thinking insinuates, for the most part, that we do not need a Savior and that most of the merit for our salvation is earned by us. This is vanity and unbelief!
How wonderful and freeing it was for me to gain an experiential knowledge of the Savior’s infinite part in my covenant relationship with Him. How glorious it is to know that His infinite contribution is sufficient. How amazing it is to know that there need be no anxiety on my part because it is in His infinite merits that my reward is assured through faith.
I witness that our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of true and lasting change, the kind of change that actually helps us become like Him. He has helped me, and continues to help me as I strive to improve my natural man tendencies—He is qualified to do this because He has conquered all of the pains, sicknesses, and consequences of sin that have ever and will ever be.
I invite you to seek Jesus Christ in a greater capacity than ever before by prayerfully studying the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This is an account of his ministry to the people on the American continent, after His resurrection. His ministry there was what He was referring to in the Holy Bible that “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16). If you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon, and ask God if it is true, then the Book of Mormon promises that you will receive an answer to your prayer (Moroni 10:3-5). I have followed these steps many times, and each time I do I grow closer to God, rid myself of un-wanted behaviors, and have the Holy Ghost confirm to me the truthfulness of this sacred book.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.