I admit it. I’m a fan of action movies. The more spectacular the special effects the better, right?
Leaping from tall buildings. Car chases defying all odds. Daring helicopter rescues. Narrowly escaping explosions. It’s an adrenaline overload.
My wife, however, is not a fan. “It’s so unrealistic.” “Like that could ever happen!” Sometimes she seems to think we’re watching a comedy.
Imagine you’ve been placed inside of an action movie and your eternal future depends on your successful escape. You have to get every sequence right. There is no CGI to cover your mistakes. If you succeed, you’re the hero. But one misstep and it’s over.
Such a scenario is neither thrilling nor funny. It’s tragic and terrifying. Yet this is exactly what Mormons face. It is truly an impossible mission.
Mormons are taught God wouldn’t give a command we can’t keep. “For I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7, Book of Mormon).
This would include commands like “Be perfect” (Matthew 5:48), “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32, Book of Mormon) and forsake all sin (Doctrine and Covenants 58:43). In fact, Mormons are taught “ye cannot be saved in your sins” (Alma 11:37, Book of Mormon).
Now young Mormons may initially face this challenge with courage. Yet as time passes they inevitably struggle and recognize it as impossible. To avoid these crushing expectations, many suggest God just wants us to try our best and he’ll do the rest.
While this may soothe their guilt, it does not align with leaders from the Mormon church. “To ‘try’ is weak. To ‘do the best I can’ is not strong. We must always do better than we can” (Spencer Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p.165).
No action movie would become a blockbuster if the lead role simply tried their best. Most people claim that. It just doesn’t stand out. We have higher expectations. So does God. If you’re trying to be the hero of your own action movie, be prepared for a tragic ending.
Did God give us an impossible mission?
Absolutely! None of us can live up to his perfect expectations. That forces us to write ourselves out of the script and to search for a real hero.
But there is an account of incredible valor. There is a hero who defied all odds. He was given a mission which would have been impossible by any other. He hurdled every obstacle. He passed through the fire and emerged victorious. This hero’s name is Jesus.
Friends, this completely transforms your story. When you fall short, that scene is deleted and replaced with footage Jesus previously recorded and performed perfectly as your stunt double. “Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). What was once a mission impossible is now a mission accomplished.
When the curtain finally closes and the credits roll, you might be surprised to see your name listed. It’s there because Jesus gives you the credit for all he did. Point those who are still trying to do the impossible to the true hero. Rejoice because, through Jesus, God is thrilled with your amazing story!