Recently, I read a great talk about the atonement, and how to recognize that we can use it in our lives for more than just it’s redemptive power. We can use it to find strength as well. Elder Bednar’s talk The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality is such a good talk on the atonement and on grace as well.
“I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. 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.
Most of us know that when we do wrong things, we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives. The Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. 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, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.“
We are meant to rely on the atonement throughout our lives. We need to go from bad to good with help from the atonement, but it is not meant to stop hear. Heavenly Father knows that we will never be perfect, and that we will always need help. The atonement does not have any restrictions on it, no time limit, no height restrictions, it is for all, good and bad, big and small. It helps us all.
An example that He gives is one of my favorite scriptures. In 1 Nephi 7:17 Nephi is bound in cords by his brothers. Instead of praying to be released from his trial, he prays for the strength to get through his trial, to break from his bonds. We need to remember that our trials and tribulations are “but a small moment” and they are meant to make us strong. Everything we go through is for our experience so that we can become the person that Heavenly Father knows we can become. Often times, the things we go through are consequences of our choices, and even those can be blessings. I invite you all to think of a moment that was hard for you. Think about what you learned. Of course that moment isn’t something you want to relive, but you are stronger now. Seeking strength in our trials is using the atonement more fully. Nephi understood that. We should too.
Love and strength,