Adam and Eve had it easy. They had two commandments; don’t eat the fruit, and make like fruit and multiply. Even with two commandments they still transgressed, and things just got more complicated from then on. Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the law written on large stone tablets. The Ten Commandments were soon followed by more rules that constituted the Law of Moses, and the Levitical laws and processes. Then Jesus came and gave a higher law. Not only are our ACTIONS held accountable, but now our THOUGHTS and intentions are too. Because God was only getting warmed up, we had a restoration which included more rules; the Word of Wisdom, tithing, etc.
As if there weren’t enough things to follow already, we enter the temple to receive our endowments and make covenants to follow even MORE commandments and rules. If this doesn’t seem overwhelming, you probably aren’t doing it right. If you haven’t knelt down at night to repent, only to realize you have no idea where to begin because there are so many ways you have sinned that day, you totally aren’t doing it right.
As we attempt to live true to all the rules, commandments, and covenants we agree to, we’re bound to mess up, forget, or forsake some of those things. I think it’s fair to say I’m not the only one to get to the point where I realized how truly overwhelming an effort to do all these things is. Like, how the heck are we supposed to even remember all these rules and ways to sin?!? President Kimball did NOT help matters with his chapter on sins of omission in “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. If you need a swift kick in the butt about sinning, pick up a copy. You’ll soon realize how it seems nigh impossible to live all the commandments and rules.
When the gospel feels heavy, which it often does, don’t let it weight you down. The gospel boils down to a single word: Try. Try to live the gospel, obey the commandments, and follow the rules. The fallacy pervading our generation is the belief in mortal perfection. The belief that Christ’s commandment to be perfect is expected immediately. Christ certainly didn’t atone for a bunch of easily perfected people. He died and suffered so we could fall, pick ourselves up, and keep trying. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of works and actions. Effort is required, yes, but perfection, at this point, is not. I know too many people that give up, feeling discouraged and disheartened because their efforts never seem to be enough. They sin, then try to do better, then sin again, and try to do better, only to sin once more. That cycle is a hard one, and is one that many of us find ourselves in. Any temptation to end the cycle by giving up is from satan. Certainly these feelings are not coming from the Spirit. The Spirit is the voice in your mind that urges you to keep going, and urges you to try again.
God asks us to try and improve. Try is one of the most beautiful words in this gospel. Trying shows endurance. Trying shows faith. And trying shows hope in Christ’s atonement. This is the Gospel of Try. When it gets hard, keep trying, and know the Lord will sustain and multiply your efforts. And you know what, if we keep trying, one day we will be perfect, even as He is perfect.