Sunday, October 9, 2016

Realizing Our Divine Potential

We are imperfect human beings living in a mortal world as designed by our Heavenly Father in his perfect plan for our eternal progression. Before birth we lived as spirit sons and daughters with our Father in Heaven. At the designated time, we are born here with a blank slate to parents who ideally provide protection, education and support as we grow. By the time we reach adulthood, we have the mental capacity to make choices of our own and be responsible for the consequences. As our mortal life ends we pass through death and enter the world of spirits where we await our designated time to report on our mortal life. Some time afterwards our Father in Heaven will reward us with a perfected, resurrected physical body as well as a home where we will continue to live as eternal beings. This is part of the perfect plan.

Another part of the perfect plan is agency. Agency is the gift to choose for ourselves good or evil. Knowing that we sometimes choose evil, our Father in Heaven who cannot tolerate even the least bit of evil, prepared a way for us to be cleansed so that we can live in his presence if we choose and he allows. Our brother, Jesus Christ, offered to personally assume the pain of all the evil choices made in mortality. His sacrifice was part of the perfect plan before any of us came to this Earth.

During this Earth life, we are taught about Heavenly Father’s plan by ancient prophets testimonies in the Bible and a living prophet today, Thomas S Monson. “The requirements of His plan are glorious, merciful, and rigorous. We may at times be filled with determination and at other times feel totally inadequate. We may wonder if we spiritually can ever fulfill the commandment to stand spotless before Him at the last day.” (Bednar) Everyone has heard of the Bible. Everyone can learn of the plan if they choose. This is part of the plan, to choose what to believe and how to orient one’s life. “Although none of us can achieve perfection in this life, we can become increasingly worthy and spotless as we are ‘cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.’” (Mormon 9:6, Bednar)

Realizing our divine potential includes first learning the truth about ourselves as sons and daughters of Heavenly parents. Second, we must learn about and choose to believe that there is a perfect plan by which we arrive, pass through and pass on from this mortal life. In addition to mortal birth, we are encouraged by prophets to strive for a spiritual rebirth. This new awakening helps us to “triumph over the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man.” (Bednar) This rebirth is begun with the ordinance of baptism, and continues with the individual mentoring of the Holy Ghost together with a weekly ordinance reaffirming our commitment and presented in the breaking of bread known as the sacrament.

The Holy Ghost is an essential part of the perfect plan of our Heavenly Father. He is “the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit and bears witness of all truth. In the scriptures, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the Comforter, a teacher, and a revelator. Additionally, the Holy Ghost is a sanctifier who cleanses and burns dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire.” He confirms the message of truth to our hearts and helps us to know how and when to release the desire for evil and the pain that it causes.

The ordinances of baptism, confirmation and the sacrament are far more significant than a mere ritual. When authorized by one who holds the priesthood keys, they “constitute authorized channels through which the blessings and powers of heaven can flow into our individual lives.” (Bednar) The spiritual power to overcome weaknesses and sins and grow in integrity is granted to those who choose to accept Divine mentorship. “Each successive ordinance elevates and enlarges our spiritual purpose, desire, and performance.” (Bednar) We will not reach a level of purity worthy of living in God’s presence by our own efforts. While the resurrected body we will receive is a free gift, the ennobling power of Jesus Christ’s atonement is conditional upon acceptance. Acceptance is not a one-time event, but a life time of choices to repent and retain the remission of our sins. It is a belief in Christ powerful enough to change desires and behaviors. We have the potential to become perfect, eternal beings with the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This is Heavenly Father’s perfect plan.

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