Thursday, July 24, 2014

Power in the Priesthood (General Conference Power)

Sometimes I take for granted the blessing of having a bi-annual General Conference for my church. I have been guided and enlightened by the talks on countless occasions; they have guided my thoughts and heart closer to my God and my Savior. I acknowledge the man behind the mouthpiece. The delivery may be imperfect, in one way or another, but I will not, nor cannot, deny the power of the word.

There have been a couple poignant occasions when I have specifically turned to the General Conference talks, looking and hoping for the power to curb my temptations and unrighteous desires that I might redirect my thoughts and feelings toward God and away from the shadows. What a blessing the General Conference talks are! What a protection! It is not as if it causes the temptations and the battle over my desires to cease immediately or even entirely--though sometimes this is the case. The peace and power I receive from the talks, however, is undeniable--in spite of the instrumental imperfections :) And I am so, so grateful for the power therein!

I am so, so grateful that as I see more of the imperfections in myself and others, that my experience with the power of the priesthood increases as well--in addition to my appreciation and admiration of its unparalleled beauty.

I have come to appreciate the irony of perfection in imperfection--in myself and others. I really do believe that in this life we were meant to experience opposition in order that we might know joy. How can one develop faith, the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and receive his or her reward, if there were no reason to trust in Christ--to trust that by the atonement of Jesus Christ, that which is wrought in imperfection may be made whole, and be given power wherewith to enlighten and sustain through redemption of the soul?

What is more of a miracle?
  • To experience the power of the priesthood as shared by a completely perfect mouthpiece of God? When the power can be just as easily attributed to the instrument itself--man?
  • Or to experience power in the priesthood as shared by an imperfect mouthpiece/instrument of God? When the power can only be attributed to a higher power--God.
What charity does God have to share His power with imperfect people, with sinners who humble themselves before Him, to faithfully live His gospel, making and keeping holy covenants--that they might have His Spirit to be with them? Faithfulness is more than belief, but it is daily loyalty to God through exercising the faith to keep His commandments, and to repent and give up sinful entertainment, actions, habits and thoughts as one becomes aware of--or is reminded--of them, and to make and keep sacred covenants with God to take upon the name of His Son and live as a disciple of Jesus Christ that one might enter into the gates of His peace and love, where they can be guided and protected by the gift and power of His Holy Spirit, as they remain worthy of His power through their endurance to the end.

Perfection is in the process. of becoming. like God, and His Son Jesus Christ. in becoming Saints and disciples who are worthy of the name they bear--the name they take upon themselves when they enter into a covenant with God to serve Him and to keep His commandments that they might have His Spirit to be with them. Herein lies perfection. The perfection of God's grace and His mercy and judgment, whereby His charity is exercised that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we who imperfectly strive to learn of Him and become as He is, are helped and saved again, and again, and again, and again, until the perfect day when we will have conquered all, and will be, as He is, the Great I Am.

Perfection is seen as those who sincerely, albeit imperfectly, strive to become as He is, are deemed worthy instruments to bear His priesthood, and to use His power to heal, to comfort, and to save, as Christ asks them to do as His disciples--having the example of His life here on Earth, and of His servants, the prophets. The more I see, the more I am grateful for His charity and love on our behalf.

Without witnessing His power, the power of His priesthood, I would surely be lacking in the faith necessary to understand and appreciate all He provides for me and for His children here on this Earth--for I tend to have selective hearing for that which is apparently and wholly logical and respectful and/or sensitive of myself and others. And I would surely be lacking in the faith, perspective, and desire necessary to take up the cross when it would be easier to succumb, or to continue to succumb, to temptation and sin. It is because of the power of His Holy Priesthood--to enlighten my understanding, to encourage, correct and empower me, to change my heart, bit by bit, and fill it with Christ-like love--that I believe. Otherwise we are all just imperfect men (and women :), and everything else becomes a nice, albeit intangible and thus somewhat/really annoying, thought.

In closing I would like to share some inspiring words from Linda Reeves--the Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, the church's charitable organization for women--spoken at the last General Conference in April, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The intent of her talk was to help us develop better internal filters to discern and sift through that which is harmful and helpful--in order to protect ourselves from the immorality in media that is more prevalent and accessible today than ever before.

Said Sister Reeves: "Filters are useful tools, but the greatest filter in the world, the only one that will ultimately work, is the personal internal filter that comes from a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father's love and our Savior's atoning sacrifice for each one of us."

Sister Reeves described that as she and her husband came to understand this better in their marriage, they chose to change their focus "and tried not to worry about the less-important things"--following instead the example and counsel of ancient and modern prophets: ". . . We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins" (2 Nephi 25:26).

"Our focus became to talk, rejoice, preach, and testify of Christ," she said, "by striving to daily pray and study the scriptures and have weekly family home evening."

"These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. Then, if [when]. . . challenges do strike our families, we can petition the Lord for help and expect great guidance from the Spirit, knowing that we have done what our Father has asked us to do."

It is my testimony that this is true :) I would love for everyone to know it too <3 Of course, so far as others desire to know :)

Happy Pioneer Day! Thanks to all the pioneers, past and present, who sacrifice to create a better way for themselves and others. I love you all!!!