Unfortunately I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to with my six month challenge to read a General Conference talk. However, the time hasn’t completely passed yet so I thought I’d study a talk today titled “Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written in Our Hearts?”
Before looking at the article I want to write out what I think the talk will be about or what it will suggest:
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to think about it often.
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to believe Christ will really be there for us.
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to have faith in the process.
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to put first things first and prioritize.
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to submit ,y will to God by praying, asking for His help, and then going to work.
To have the Atonement of Jesus Christ “written in our hearts” we/I need to not look down on or judge others but simply focus on what we/I can do to be a better person.
These are some initial thoughts. Now on to the reading.
Making, keeping, and rejoicing in our covenants will be the evidence that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is truly written in our hearts.
So the talk is about the covenants we make, how we keep those covenants, and how we feel when we do keep those covenants.
“After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. …
“… They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”3
We are the people Jeremiah saw. Have we invited the Lord to write the law, or doctrine, in our hearts? Do we believe that the forgiveness available through the Atonement that Jeremiah refers to applies to us personally?
How do I invite the Lord to write the law, or doctrine, in my heart?
I believe one of the ways is by starting my day off with prayer and gospel study. To me, this is inviting the Lord to write the doctrine in my heart; it’s showing Him what I feel is most important. It’s showing Him that, above all other things, I want to do what’s right and I rely on Him to help me succeed in everything else.
I met with the Bishop last Sunday to renew my temple recommend. In that meeting I was very open about my relapses and told him I was nervous on how those relapses would effect my temple recommend. The Bishop was very understanding and talked to me about not beating myself up. We talked about repentance and the importance of being honest about what happens.
I talked with the Stake Presidency yesterday and that went well too. I feel I’ve been honest and am trying to submit my will to God.
B and I had a great talk last night too about what our core issues are – what causes us to yell, get angry, and eventually “act out” in our addictions. She helped me realize that one of my core problems is self-imposed expectations. I want to do all these things and when I don’t get them all done due to lack of preparation or wasting time, I get frustrated and dig myself into a deeper pit. Her core issue is similar to mine.
“If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other less-needed things sort of fall out of the wagon. I’m told those handcarts could only hold so much. Just as our ancestors had to choose what they took, maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, ‘What can we put on this handcart?’ It’s the substance of our soul; it’s the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones.”4 Or, to put it another way, it is what is written in our hearts!
What would I put in my handcart? What’s most important to me?
My family is the first and most important priority. I think I’d also take journals and pictures (family history). I’d take my laptop although it’s probably not the most important thing in the eternal realm of things.
Sister Burton goes on to share three principles of the Atonement that will help us increase our faith in Jesus Christ:
“All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Without an understanding of Heavenly Father’s perfect plan of happiness and the Savior’s Atonement as the central feature of that plan, these challenges could seem unfair.
Why does the Lord allow suffering and adversity to come to us in this life? Simply put, it is part of the plan for our growth and progress! We “shouted for joy”6 when we knew we would have the opportunity to come to earth to experience mortality. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught, “Our needed conversions are often achieved more readily by suffering and adversity than by comfort and tranquillity.”7
There is power in the Atonement to enable us to overcome the natural man or woman and become true disciples of Jesus Christ.9
“A [woman] walking along a road fell into a pit so deep [she] could not climb out. No matter what [she] did, [she] could not get out by [herself]. The [woman] called for help and rejoiced when a kind passerby heard [her] and lowered a ladder down into the pit. This allowed [her] to climb out of the pit and regain [her] freedom.
“We are like the [woman] in the pit. Sinning is like falling into the pit, and we can’t get out by ourselves. Just as the kind passerby heard the [woman’s] cry for help, Heavenly Father sent his Only Begotten Son to provide the means of escape. Jesus Christ’s atonement could be compared to lowering a ladder into the pit; it gives us the means to climb out.”10 But the Savior does more than lower the ladder, He “comes down into the pit and makes it possible for us to use the ladder to escape.”11 “Just as the [woman] in the pit had to climb up the ladder, we must repent of our sins and obey the gospel principles and ordinances to climb out of our pit and make the Atonement work in our lives. Thus, after all we can do, the Atonement makes it possible for us to become worthy to return to Heavenly Father’s presence.”12
I’ve felt like this from time to time: like I’m in a pit so deep that I can’t climb out. Elder Bednar taught:
“It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us.”13
The Atonement is the greatest evidence we have of the Father’s love for His children.
Elder Oaks stated:
“Think how it must have grieved our Heavenly Father to send His Son to endure incomprehensible suffering for our sins. That is the greatest evidence of His love for each of us!”14
This reminds me of the talk I had yesterday with Caleb after church. He seemed really down and almost sick. I asked him what was wrong and he didn’t want to talk about it. So I let it settle for a bit and then, when we got home, I brought him in the office and we talked about what was bothering him. He told me about a man that had let his little boy die in order to save some people on a train. Go figure, this was the story I shared at my mission farewell – “The Bridge”.
Caleb was really bothered by the story, by how sad it was. I assured him that the story was probably just that, a story, but that something like that really did happen when Heavenly Father sent His son to the earth to die for all of us. He knew that Christ would suffer terribly. He knew that Christ ultimately would have to give his life. But he also knew that there was no other way nor means by which men could live with Him again, save it were through the Atonement of His Son.
9 O remember, remember, my sons, the awords which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the batoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to credeem the dworld. (Helaman 5:9)
That supreme act of love ought to send each of us to our knees in humble prayer to thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough that He sent His Only Begotten and perfect Son to suffer for our sins, our heartaches, and all that seems unfair in our own individual lives.