Sunday, March 3, 2013

To Be Tested

In an English class in 10th grade, my teacher asked the question, “In a few short words, what do you think the purpose of this life is?” I can’t remember what we were studying, but that question was an amazing opportunity to explain what I believed about such an important topic to a class where I was the only member of my church. We each had to answer and I was only the third one in the row so I didn’t have much time to think of a good answer, so out came one that made no sense to anyone, I’m sure. I just blurted out, “to be tested.”

Okay, I know what I meant and maybe some people with the same teaching and perspective that I have might understand, but it taught nothing and was very incomplete. Something as complex and essential is not easy to sum up in one sentence. I wish I would have figured out something better to say, but I do know that being tested and using our agency really is a big part of it.

We are here on earth where we cannot see our Father or Mother in Heaven or our Savior Jesus Christ, but we have been given the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. We can know what is right and wrong. We are given different amounts of knowledge of right and wrong, depending on if we are exposed to the gospel or not in this life, and we are judged based upon the knowledge we have.  

Abraham 3:25
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

I re-listened to a talk called To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency by Elder Robert D. Hales last week and, of course, it has some great quotes that I’m gonna share with you.
 
“[Satan] does lie at our door, as the scriptures say, and he follows us each day. Every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior. But the adversary must depart if we tell him to depart. He cannot influence us unless we allow him to do so, and he knows that! The only time he can affect our minds and bodies—our very spirits—is when we allow him to do so. In other words, we do not have to succumb to his enticements!”
"Are we following on the strait and narrow path that leads to God and eternal life? Are we holding onto the iron rod, or are we going another way? I testify that how we choose to feel and think and act every day is the way we get on the path, and stay on it, until we reach our eternal destination.

"The voice will be as soft as a whisper, coming as a thought to our minds or a feeling in our hearts. By heeding its gentle promptings, we will be protected from the destructive consequences of sin.

“But if we ignore those promptings, the light of the Spirit will fade. Our agency will be limited or lost, and we will lose the confidence and ability to act. We will be ‘walking in [spiritual] darkness at noon-day.’ Then how easy it is to wander into strange paths and become lost! How quickly we are bound in the chains of sin spoken of by Lehi to his rebellious sons.”

None of us can say that we are perfect and do not need repentance. Thankfully, that is available to all of us as often as we are willing to use it. But as Elder Hales says, “the light of the Spirit will fade” and the desire to return to the path may never be felt again. Some people think that they can play with sin for a while and then they will return, but sometimes those people no longer want to come back and so many opportunities, much happiness and freedom are lost to them and their eternity changed.

“Agency allows us to be tested and tried to see whether or not we will endure to the end and return to our Heavenly Father with honor. Agency is the catalyst that leads us to express our inward spiritual desires in outward Christlike behavior. Agency permits us to make faithful, obedient choices that strengthen us so that we can lift and strengthen others. Agency used righteously allows light to dispel the darkness and enables us to live with joy and happiness in the present, look with faith to the future, even into the eternities, and not dwell on the things of the past. Our use of agency determines who we are and what we will be.”

It must be wonderful to be able to say when we stand before our Father one day, “I was not perfect, but I chose your path and you can see that by the choices I made and by how my heart has changed. I was obedient because I loved you and because I knew you loved me.” The small choices we make each day add up to who we become and where we will spend our eternities.

6 comments:

  1. great thoughts! thanks for an uplifting sunday read :)

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  2. It's hard to think of things on the spot. I wish everyone knew what you talked about. The world sure would be a different place!

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  3. Thanks for checking in. :) I can't blame you. 18 comes fast.

    Take care,

    Cheryl

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  4. I needed this! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  6. Valerie, no matter how little time I have to read the many blogs I know and love - I always end up coming back to YOURS (even if I have long absences :o). Thanks for writing such uplifting, inspiring, true, and beautiful words! :)
    Corine :D

    ReplyDelete

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