"The greatest yardstick of success is to see how much your daily walk can be like Christ's--how closely you can walk each moment in his steps."
Ezra Taft Benson
In my New Testament class today we spent our time pondering Luke 2:52. It contains pretty much the only information we have about the life of Christ between ages 12 and 30:
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
That's it. I can't tell you how many times I've gone over that verse and only gotten that much out of it. Thanks to the help of a good teacher, today was my first time really noticing what it actually teaches us.
Luke 2:52 illustrates four ways in which Jesus grew over His adolescent and young adult years: He increased in wisdom--in other words, He grew intellectually; He increased in stature--or, physically; He increased in favor with God--so He also grew spiritually; and finally, He increased in favor with man--meaning, He grew socially. In so many words, He was balanced:
Someone who is Christlike is also well-rounded. Such a person will seek learning, take good care of his or her body, associate appropriately with others, and strive for a greater closeness with God.
In contrast, Satan is an extremist. He'll try to get us to take either too much or too little--never a balanced portion. If he can throw us off balance, he'll have an easier time making us miserable like he is. And he'll use anything to do it:
Someone who studies all day and never gets out isn't very balanced. Same with those who live at the gym, obsessively working toward that "social ideal" that never really comes. Likewise, something's off when we can't stop texting long enough to read the scriptures. And what about those who spend more time with their Church callings than with their families? Not balanced. Not happy, either. In moderation, all of these are very good things. It's important to read good books. It's important to have a body that feels good. It's important to stay in contact with friends, and of course it's important to magnify our callings. But there can be too much of a good thing if we're not careful, and the Adversary is a tricky fellow.
So, here's to balance. I realized some things today that I can definitely do to achieve more of it. Actually, there are a lot of things I can do to improve. But since I had that realization and started applying what I learned, I'm already seeing results. It feels like I have more time in the day. I feel lighter. I feel happier.
And that's why I love Institute. Every time I go, I hear something that I really need. It's my favorite part of the day.