Sunday, May 25, 2008

Becoming One With God

I understand that my outlook on this may be controversial, but I feel it lies at the core of my beliefs and at the core of the person I have become. Oddly, we use the phrase "one with God" frequently in Sunday School settings, but I don't think we really think about what it means.

The first step of becoming one with God is baptism. As missionaries, sometimes we get so caught up in the event of baptism, we forget the purpose of it. It isn't only to be washed clean of our sins in preparation to receive the Spirit, though it is certainly that, too. It is also a covenant to stand as God's witness all the time and to act as His hands to all His children. Essentially, it is a covenant to become one with God. We are symbolically killing the natural man to be reborn as a disciple of the divine. We are then given the gift of the Spirit to help us do that.

Becoming one with God means shame from "the world". Since I was fourteen or so, I have made some decisions that guide my behavior for which I've been mocked, and even persecuted, often by those who love me most. One of these decisions, for example, was to no longer watch PG-13 or higher-rated movies. I have my reasons for this decision. For some reason, my refusal to watch these movies strikes a cord of derision in many. I have been mocked for allowing a secular rating system determine what I watch. (For the record, I have walked out of PG movies before, so it's not as arbitrary of a decision as it seems.) I have been laughed at because I watch only "kiddie shows". I have been verbally pummeled by people wanting to share a particularly good movie with me. I have been tempted frequently over the last decade to break that decision and watch "just one". It was hardest that first year, but after the first flush of effort, it hasn't gotten much easier over the course of the next several years. There is no "happily ever after" with such things during this life.

Becoming one with God means to always have His Spirit with you, and to always be thinking about Him. Some find the thought of always having God in mind rather oppressive, or even unhealthy. Although I'm sure we have all met people who are overly pious, defining everything in terms of what is proper (much like the Pharisees), restricting laughter and stringently restricting behavior, that isn't what I believe is meant by these scriptures. God is a whole God, a balanced and complete God. The more He is in your thoughts and heart, the more balanced you become. There are no words to describe this wholeness. It purifies and sanctifies laughter and joy, as well as somberness and sorrow. Everything becomes deeper and more meaningful. Fun is more fun, sorrow is more pure. I have tasted this feeling, though I am far from completely achieving it. It is the key to the end of my depression. It is the key to my ability to forgive others of devastating blows. It is the key to true joy. It is my ultimate goal for this life.

I wish I had the ability to describe it. It is one of those things I think you have to experience to understand. I can attest to the fact that before I felt it, I had absolutely no idea that this was what the scriptures were trying to say. This is what the gospel is all about. It makes a "spiritual experience" merely a stepping stone. It makes your life into a spiritual experience.

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