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5 Commandment-Keeping Myths Busted

Bethany Bartholomew Church Magazines

Still not perfect yet? It’s OK. Here’s why.

Ever feel like you don’t measure up? First, remember that no one is perfect. We all “come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But second, give yourself a break! You’re probably doing better than you think. Here are some common myths about keeping commandments, along with some facts to keep in mind.

MYTH #1: God expects perfection now.

Fact: He knows we will struggle. He is pleased when we do our best and keep trying.

Heavenly Father doesn’t expect us to do everything perfectly right now; He does expect us to do our best and then to have faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ to help us change.

“With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever” (“Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 125–27).

MYTH #2: I keep making the same mistakes. I might as well give up, because I can’t change.

Fact: When we keep trying and turn to God, He can help us change—no matter what.

The whole point of this life is to change—to become, to grow, and to learn so that one day we can become like our Father in Heaven.

But we have to make the choice to change.

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy warned, “Once any of us conclude[s,] ‘That’s just the way I am,’ we give up our ability to change” (“What Manner of Men?Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 53).

So whatever we do, we shouldn’t give up.

When we choose to change, that doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect right away (see myth #1). But it can mean that our heart wants to be obedient and that we’ll keep trying again whenever we fall short of where we want to be. When we make that choice to turn to God, He will give us strength beyond the strength we’d have on our own—and He will help us change.

 

MYTH #3: Everybody else is doing better than I am.

Fact: God doesn’t judge us by comparison. We shouldn’t either.

Don’t worry if you think others are doing much better than you.

“God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect. … God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. … Be compassionate and patient with yourself” (“Forget Me Not,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 120).

And remember, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “We are not in a race against each other. … The race we are really in is the race against sin” (“The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 31).

So just try to do your best to become better each day.

MYTH #4: I know I should be better. I’m just not good enough.

Fact: God knows our limitations. He won’t measure us against an impossible standard.

Sometimes we assume we know how God will judge us. But He reminds us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (see Isaiah 55:8). He is the perfect judge, and He judges with a perfect understanding of our situation.

Think of it this way: If you try to jump as high as you can right now, you can probably jump pretty high. But if you try it again while holding 20 pounds of weight, you won’t be able to jump as high. Does that mean you aren’t as good now as you were before? No. You didn’t change; your circumstances did.

Sometimes we have to deal with heavy things. God knows what you’re capable of, but He also understands better than you do what your limitations are. He will judge with that understanding in mind. He just wants us to do the best we can with what we have.

MYTH #5: Commandments are too restrictive; they take away my agency.

Fact: Commandments lead us to incredible freedom and blessings.

Rather than restricting our agency, commandments open our lives to more freedom and blessings—they’re like a how-to booklet for happiness (see D&C 82:8–9).

So the next time you feel like you just don’t measure up, remember that you are a divine son or daughter of heavenly parents—a royal soul with infinite potential.

And that is what Heavenly Father sees in you—that’s why He gives commandments.

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How does keeping the commandments bring you happiness? Share your experience below.

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