Transforming Superficial Desires into Deep, Meaningful Change Through Christ

Transforming Superficial Desires into Deep, Meaningful Change Through Christ
Change is never easy, but it's essential for personal and spiritual growth. In this heartfelt post, explore the challenges of transforming superficial desires into meaningful, Christ-centered changes. Learn how aligning your life with His teachings can bring true, lasting transformation. Delve into scriptures, personal reflections, and practical steps to shift your focus from outward appearances to inner virtues. Perfect for those seeking to deepen their faith and embrace profound change through the guidance of Jesus Christ.

Transforming your life is challenging, but it's an essential part of growth. Despite being an obvious truth, it's a topic worth exploring.

Recognizing the Need for Change

Most people see areas in their lives they want to improve. The beauty industry is a prime example: don’t feel beautiful? Find a salon. Still not enough? Lose weight. Still unhappy? Buy whatever and do whatever to wax, sculpt, enhance, or physically alter any area you deem unworthy, unfit, or inadequate to fit the popular standard of the time. It’s superficial and although the world rants about unrealistic beauty standards and ever-changing trends, the superficial does have some value or we wouldn’t buy into it. 

I put on makeup, workout, and dress to feel confident, beautiful, and make first impressions that represent my personal values. I buy into things both literally and figuratively so I feel pretty, feminine, fit, and healthy. These are a part of my value system and my outward appearance is a manifestation of it.  The surface level, however, rarely touches the penetrating substance of deep, meaningful change, but it DOES give us a clue into our personal relationship with the Savior.

Scriptural Insights on Appearance and Virtue

The Book of Mormon describes a group of people that “did not wear costly apparel, yet...were neat and comely” —comely meaning handsome; graceful; decent; suitable; proper (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary). 

I can’t picture this group of people taking selfies, or wearing revealing, expensive, or over-the-top clothing to draw attention to themselves. I can’t even picture them focusing on their appearance at all, other than using healthy, clean, and average hygiene practices that made them look approachable and kind.

The most interesting thing about this group of people was not their outward appearance. That was simply the manifestation of the integrity and virtue with which they lived. It was who they had become because Jesus Christ was their focus. They labored according to their strength, helped the poor, and established peace and prosperity through their faith and actions (Alma 1:26-31).

Shifting Focus from Superficial to Spiritual

We may struggle to know what drives us to focus so heavily on the superficial, but maybe that’s the problem. What these scriptures teach us is that the natural consequence of being focused on Christ changes us both surface and soul-deep. We begin to do things that align with His values and teachings rather than the heavily marketed and propagandized expectations of the world.  We are made pure through Him and thus act and dress “neat and comely.” 

Christ frees us from self-centered idolization.

 Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

The gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change. “Repent” is its most frequent message ... repenting means giving up all of our practices—personal, family, ethnic, and national—that are contrary to the commandments of God. The purpose of the gospel is to transform common creatures into celestial citizens, and that requires change.” (Repentance & Change, Oct. 2003)

Embracing Change Through Service

Change is difficult because it means giving up self for service. Jesus Christ taught, “...but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant...And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased (reduced to a low state, humbled, degraded); and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)

Let’s be honest, we’re all the main characters in our lives. We often expect the world to bend to our beliefs. We may vary in our intensity or demands of it, but we all have this tendency. Yes, even those within the church. I’m guilty of it myself. 

If we make Jesus Christ the main character we hunger and thirst after righteousness. We’re then filled with the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 12:6), who “will show unto (us) all things what (we) should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). We will know exactly what changes to make, tailored to our personal needs, and empowered by the Savior's strength.

The challenge is turning to Him with all our might, mind, and strength (Alma 39:13)–A statement of personal agency attached to strenuous work and effort. Yet, we’re also taught that He is the only way we can change (Alma 38:9). 

Ways to Turn to Christ

How do we turn to Him with all our might, mind, and strength? This question requires more study, but here are a few things I found to consider:

This journey can be overwhelming, so start with prayer and seek inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

Trust in God's Guidance

Heavenly Father knows you and your needs. He doesn’t expect you to take on everything at once. He teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept (2 Nephi 28:30).

What do your might, mind, and strength require today? Let God help you by asking Him and following His counsel.

I had a giant list of things I felt needed work. I always do, but as usual, Heavenly Father surprised me with His answer.

He led me to 2 Nephi 2:26 where one line was highlighted “ act for (myself) and not to be acted upon…” 

With my emotions scattered, I've felt immobilized—paralyzed by the uncertainty of the future and my role in it. With one line of scripture, He healed my frozen mind and body saying, "...rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6)

It wasn't at all what I expected.

In other words, it's time to act and stop waiting for permission–stop waiting for things to happen–MAKE THEM HAPPEN! 

What is He inviting you to do?