Sunday, December 4, 2016

Not Just For Sinners

It's been a long time since I've posted much besides my missionary son's letters on my blog. He is now home! I have been wanting to take the time to share my thoughts on my blog again, even if it is just for me to have a place where my thoughts and the words of others that touch me are stored.

This morning as I was getting ready, I randomly chose a BYU devotional to listen to. As I was listening, I felt it was exactly what I needed today. It was Elder David A. Bednar's devotional from 2001 called "In the Strength of the Lord".

Directly after the sentence above, he goes on to say:
"We will become agents who 'act' rather than objects that are 'acted upon' (2 Nephi 2:14)." Elder David A. Bednar

For quite a while now, that idea has been in my mind because of counsel to me from a church leader to "act rather than be acted upon." This talk was another testament that we should not just hope that things get better when we have the power to change something. Elder Bednar gives examples of several people who prayed for strength to change the circumstance instead of just praying for their burden to be removed. We can pray for the enabling power of the atonement to strengthen us to do what we need to do when we cannot do alone. 

That is the part of Elder Bednar's talk that I was thinking about most when I again randomly chose another past BYU devotional. This time it was Sister Dew's talk "You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory". I have heard both of these talks before and I love SO much about her devotional address, but what I noticed as I was listening was that both of these devotionals stated that the atonement is not just for sinners, but also for daily use by faithful followers of Christ. I must have needed that reminder today.

"Brothers and sisters, do you know what I likely would have prayed for if I had been tied up by my brothers? My prayer would have included a request for something bad to happen to my brothers and ended with the phrase 'wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren' or, in other words, 'Please get me out of this mess, now!' It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray, as I probably would have prayed, to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances. And may I suggest that he prayed in this manner precisely because he knew and understood and had experienced the enabling power of the Atonement of the Savior.

"I personally do not believe the bands with which Nephi was bound just magically fell from his hands and wrists. Rather, I suspect that he was blessed with both persistence and personal strength beyond his natural capacity, that he then “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) worked and twisted and tugged on the cords and ultimately and literally was enabled to break the bands.

"Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient and worthy and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully."
David A. Bednar

"Until I was in my thirties, I thought the Atonement was basically for sinners—meaning that it allowed us to repent. But then I suffered a heartbreaking personal loss and began to learn that there was so much more to this sublime doctrine.

"My solution initially to my heartbreak was to exercise so much faith that the Lord would have to give me what I wanted—which was a husband. Believe me, if fasting and prayer and temple attendance automatically resulted in a husband, I’d have one.

"Well, the Lord hasn’t even yet given me a husband; but He did heal my heart. And in doing so, He taught me that He not only paid the price for sin but compensated for all of the pain we experience in life. He taught me that because of His Atonement, we have access to His grace, or enabling power—power that frees us from sin; power to be healed emotionally, physically, and spiritually; power to “loose the bands of death” (Alma 7:12); power to turn weakness into strength (see Ether 12:27); and power to receive salvation through faith on His name (see Mosiah 3:19)"
Sheri L. Dew

I am so grateful for how much I have learned about the gospel and especially about the atonement as I have used it in my life to strengthen and lift me. The enabling power has helped me get through times when I thought it was impossible to make it through. I am grateful to know Jesus, not just about Him. I am sure that as long as I live, I will continue to learn more and to learn how to better use the atonement to bless my life and bless the lives of those around me.

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