Michele's Journal: The Importance of the Atonement

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This journal entry was written by Michele at the beginning of her fifth week studying Act in Doctrine, a new book written by Elder David Bednar.

Early on in my reading of Act In Doctrine, I felt a desire to learn more about the Atonement and its application in my DAILY life. It’s interesting that the Atonement has been on my mind so much because Elder Bednar doesn’t spend too much time specifically discussing it, and yet I have a desire to learn more about it every time I read.

I have searched and read many talks on the Atonement. One of my favorites was Elder Bednar’s talk, The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality. I feel like I am trying to change and become more Christlike, but sometimes my efforts seem unrealized and then after a couple of weeks I forget and just have to start over later. Elder Bednar said, “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. … Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient for us to triumphantly complete this mortal journey. Truly, we must come to rely upon ‘the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.’”

I can’t believe I’ve never realized this before. The Atonement is not just for my sins but also for overcoming my imperfections and supporting me through all of life’s frustrations. Of course I can’t do it myself. Everything I’ve been given and everything I’ve been blessed with has come from Him, so I have to include him in my process to change because it’s His grace that will allow me to do it.

Elder Bednar talks about Christ’s grace and defines it as “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.” I cannot make it to the Celestial Kingdom without His grace because it is also “an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” I love thinking of grace as divine enabling power that allows me to change and grow. My own determination and willpower is really important, but it’s nothing without Christ’s (more powerful) enabling power.

I still have a lot to learn about the atonement, but I know that I need to access it often, probably everyday. I have to pray and learn to use Christ’s power to change me rather than resting on my own, insufficient, efforts. I hope the Lord will continue to teach me and reveal to me exactly how this is done.

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