“Be Ye Therefore Perfect”03872_000_009
Christ commanded his disciples to be perfect, even as he and his Father are. (See Matt. 5:48; 3 Ne. 12:48.) But this commandment may seem overwhelming. Some Church members become discouraged. Others become so worried about achieving personal perfection that they seek for their own glorification rather than for ways to serve others.
Moroni taught that we should “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; … and love God with all your might, mind and strength, … that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” (Moro. 10:32.)
If we love and serve the Lord and keep his commandments, it will be possible for us to become “perfect in Christ.” We will feel peace and strength, even in times of difficulty or heartache. Our burdens will be easier to bear, and we will be better able to help others bear theirs as well. (See Gal. 6:2; Mosiah 18:8–10; Mosiah 24:14–15, 21; Alma 33:23.)
We can find comfort in our efforts to become perfect from the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord once counseled him, “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means.” (D&C 10:4.) Like Joseph, we are not required to do more than we have strength and means to do. Nor do we have to become perfect in all things right now. “We have to become perfect to be saved in the celestial kingdom,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie.
“But nobody becomes perfect in this life. Only the Lord Jesus attained that state, and he had an advantage that none of us has. He was the Son of God. … Becoming perfect in Christ is a process.” (1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977, pages 399–400.)
Several people in one ward learned about that process by accepting their bishop’s challenge to live a “perfect day.” One young man found that starting the day by reading the scriptures helped his day to be brighter. A woman and her husband found great joy as they visited sick ward members. (See Tambuli, April 1989.)
We attain perfection a little at a time, with the Lord’s help. “We begin to keep the commandments today,” said Elder McConkie, “And we keep more of them tomorrow, and we go from grace to grace, up the steps of the ladder, and thus we improve and perfect our souls.” (Ibid., page 400.) That is our challenge—to begin today.
Suggestions for Visiting Teachers
Read 2 Nephi 31:19–20 [2 Ne. 31:19–20] and discuss what it teaches about the process of becoming perfect.
Share an example of how you learned to live a commandment more perfectly, and invite the sister you visit to share a similar experience.
(See Family Home Evening Resource Manual, pages 7–19 and 48–63, for related materials.)