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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Safest Road to Heaven


The idea of using the "Gradual Progress" Principle to help an individual change their lives and move along a given path, began with God.  

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1

As the days went on he created other stuff...one day at a time. How foolish would it have been to have created the fish before the waters?  With little effort you can think of many examples of how God uses the passage of time- in order to bring about his purposes.

The Gradual Principle- is so powerful it works regardless of who applies it---Satan or God. To learn more how Satan uses the Gradual Progress Principle see The Safest Road To Hell.

"...conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. Conversion unto the Lord requires both persistence and patience." (Converted unto the Lord, David Bednar, General Conference 2012)
Here's my version of God teaching His ministering angels how to be successful at bringing you and I unto Christ:
You will say that these are very small acts of goodness; and doubtless, like all young ministering angels, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular righteousness and perfection …It does not matter how small these acts of goodness are, or how many times they might fail, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Nothing and out into the Light.Indeed, the safest road to Heaven is the GRADUAL ONE...
God warns his ministering angels not to convince a person that "Perfection" is immediately necessary. Why? Because, there is a much higher risk the person will become so alarmed they will wake up saying something like, "There is no way I can be perfect. I just can't do it. I've tried it didn't work. I must be no good. Something must be wrong with me. etc etcDemanding the bigger goal of perfection too soon typically turns the person to feeling overwhelmed, guilty and wanting to give up - thus turning them towards Satan's path.

Baby steps toward good are still good.

IF what I'm saying is true, consider this: ALL THESE YEARS that you've thought you have been following "God's Plan" by beating yourself up with the gigantic goal of "BEING PERFECT NOW" (e.g. I need to change this habit today!) has really been SATAN's Plan to turn you around to his path.  My experience has been, the pressure created by expecting immediate change of a behavior and becoming perfect typically produces the "fruits" of discouragement, guilt and being overwhelmed. Furthermore, it demonstrates a lack of your understanding of the Principle of Gradual Progress.

Neal Maxwell explains the importance of enduring in "God's Time".
… if certain mortal experiences were cut short, it would be like pulling up a flower to see how the roots are doing. Put another way, too many anxious openings of the oven door, and the cake falls instead of rising.... (Endure It Well, Conference Talk April 1990) 
Don't be discouraged about God's plan of  "precept upon precept, line upon line," (Isaiah 28:10; 2 Nephi 28:30; D&C 98:12; D&C 128;21) progress to PERFECTION. Perfection takes a LONG TIME! And of course we each should be diligent and persistent about our pace along God's path,
... but remember, regardless - the day you and I die we will each
be a sinner and require His atonement. (Romans 3:23

I like Brigham Young's way of looking at it:

The Miracle of Healing is also Usually Gradual
The same is true for HEALING from depression, physical injuries, divorce, a loved one's death etc etc. I've read about "miracles" where people are changed dramatically and immediately. But for whatever reason, I haven't personally seen such a miracle. The "miracles of healing" I've seen have all occurred over weeks, months and sometimes years.

Determine if the Principle of Gradual Progress applies to you. If so...
BE a little more gentler and kinder to yourself knowing you're doing your best and staying on God's path as much as you can.  I believe, the power of  "Gradual Progress" along with God's immense love for you (See: God loves you THIS MUCH!) -  WILL pull YOU to heaven.

It's a principle with  promise. Just be on the path.

dr rick
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