This is the conclusion of my series on the equation:
Potential for Good = Desire x Skills
It is one of my guiding personal principles.
Introduction: Potential for Good = Desire x Skills
Level 1: Purifying your heart (desire)
Level 2: Spiritually-rooted skills (A)
Level 3: Spiritually-rooted skills (B)
One of the main themes of the Book of Mormon is that those who follow the commandments of God will prosper. The people of whom it speaks wax and wane spiritually. Often, their spiritual declines are followed by political intrigue, economic decline, societal disunity and military overconfidence followed by crushing defeat.
I feel like the above reasons might provide a partial explanation. These “Christlike attributes” of which I’ve spoken, and their applications, form a glue that holds our families, communities, workplaces, and societies together.
A paycheck can motivate you to go to a job. But working with colleagues who lack integrity and kindness, it is easy to become resentful and frustrated.
A sense of community and shared purpose can hold a group together. But without love and the desire for humanity's good, gangs and nation-states often go astray.
Authority can get you to obey your parents. But if they don’t love you enough to listen to you your relationship will feel hollow.
In my life, some of my deepest satisfactions have come from watching myself – after months of trying – starting to develop some of the Christlike attributes I sought. I realized that doing so would improve my own quality of life. It is my dreams that this can in some significant way impact the world.
Writing these things doesn’t give me any claim on perfection. Anyway, the original Greek in Matthew 5:48, “perfect” is better translated “complete, finished, fully developed.” I feel more complete, more finished, and more fully developed. I’m sure there are many steps to go but I’m confident that I am on my way.
This same growth is available to everyone, if we really want it.
"God sells us all things," wrote Da Vinci, "at the price of labor."
If you are more interested I would recommend:
- Reading Stephen Covey's book, The Spiritual Roots of Human Relations, online here, or on Amazon.
- Studying Preach My Gospel, Chapter 6, "Christlike Attributes."
- Meeting with your local LDS missionaries.
- Going on a mission
(At least, these are the ways I learned these things...)