See Part I here.
In my last post, I introduced the idea of seeking the blessings of the atonement in our lives. This is, in my view, the essence of the gospel. King Benjamin talks about retaining a remission of our sins, which happens after we first obtain a remission of our sins, which is only possible through the infinite atonement, offered by our perfect Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. It is a gift which we must claim in order to enjoy its full benefits. (Some benefits, such as resurrection, will accrue to us regardless of our efforts, but the full blessings of the atonement require us to seek them.)
In the language of 12-step recovery, we learn that there are certain things we simply do not control, no matter how hard we try. Among those things are other people, and sometimes even our own weakness as human beings. This is a crucial element of allowing the atonement to work on us, realizing that we are not about changing ourselves, but we are working to change through the atonement. (More on that in the next part of the series.)
At the same time, the things we cannot control are things God could control if He chooses to, because he is powerful enough to do it. (He has told us there are some things He also will not control because he has granted man his agency.)
Moses understood his relationship to God: He was created in the image of God. He was a child a God. And he was allowed by God to see the things he saw. He did not have power in and of himself to do those things, but God did have the power, and God allowed him to do it. When Satan came calling, Moses recognized instantly – despite his recognition that he was nothing compared to God – that he had power over Satan. He recognized that Satan was not a source of light as God was. And he recognized that Satan was not someone he had to listen to. And despite his fear, despite the temptation to do otherwise, he sent Satan packing. Awesome story. Awesome lesson.
In the rooms of recovery, they say, “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let Him.” It means, I know there are things I cannot control in my life, and as long as I try to control them I cannot find happiness. But God can help me live with what I can’t control, and I can give myself over to Him and find peace, so I think I’ll let God do His job and I’ll do mine.
Of course King Benjamin taught the same lesson a different way. He said the natural man is an enemy to God, and we cannot overcome the natural man unless we submit to the will of God, just as a child willingly submits to his father. If I’m really, really ready to turn my life over to God, then I’m approaching where Moses and King Benjamin say I need to be. Then I’m exhibiting the faith in Jesus Christ that I mentioned in the last installment. Then I’m almost ready to be thinking about repentance. Then I’m beginning to look to Christ so that I can live.
In the next installment, I’ll look at specific things we can do, having really submitted ourselves to the Father, ways we can act in faith that will invite the blessings of the atonement into our lives.
See Part III here.