Nothingness

Moses stood in God’s presence. He was only able to survive the experience because God’s glory strengthened Him. When God departed, Moses fell to the earth, too weak to stand. He learned an important lesson from that experience. “For this cause,” he said, “I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10).

Joseph Smith’s experience was similar, after seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ. “When I came to myself again,” he wrote,”I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength” (Joseph Smith—History 1:20).

As children of God, we have unlimited potential. Moses didn’t feel defeated or depressed after discovering his relative weakness; he felt encouraged and empowered. “I am a son of God,” he said shortly after, “in the similitude of his Only Begotten” (Moses 1:13).

After King Benjamin’s people received a remission of their sins through the atonement of Jesus Christ, he was grateful that “the knowledge of the goodness of God” had awakened them to “a sense of [their] nothingness, and [their] worthless and fallen state” (Mosiah 4:5). “Nothingness” and “worthless” sound pretty harsh, but Benjamin didn’t mean it that way. To help his people retain the joy and peace they felt at that time, he encouraged them to “always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you” (Mosiah 4:11). We can and should derive a sense of self-worth from an awareness that God loves us and delights in our progress, rather than from an unrealistic assessment of our current capabilities.

Today, I will remember my nothingness before God. I will remember that any nascent skills or positive attributes which I might detect in myself are embryonic compared with God’s perfection. I will take confidence from my potential and from my trajectory, not from my current abilities or status.

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