Sunday, January 26, 2014

Using my Agency for Good

With New Year resolutions still fresh on our minds and the desire to change for the better burning within us, I wanted to share my testimony about agency. Agency, according to a study guide mainly used by LDS members called “True to the Faith” states that agency is “the ability to choose and to act for yourself. “
Why is agency so powerful? God entrusted His spirit children (us) to make our own decisions. God is all powerful and all knowing. He could have easily told us how to live minute by minute so that we could never do wrong and sin. He could have easily stripped us of this ability to choose and to act for ourselves. So why didn't He?

When I was 17 years old I went to play at a friend’s house. Our church believes that it is wrong to watch R rated movies. I remember my friends telling me the movie they wanted to watch and that it was R rated. I thought I could easily text my dad and let him know that my friends wanted me to watch it and he would say something along the lines that he forbade it. By doing this I could easily blame my dad for the reason why I couldn't watch the movie. Instead of letting me take the easy way out, my dad texted me back saying, “It’s up to you. You decide.” I knew what I had to do and I couldn't even use my dad as an excuse-I was mortified. I had to stand up to my friends and I was the only person keeping me from having “fun” with them. I went home alone early that night but I felt great for standing up for my beliefs. Because I used my agency to follow what I believe God thinks is right, I was blessed for not polluting my mind with entertainment that was probably gruesome and vulgar. This may seem like a small victory in my life but it was because of this experience that I was able to see what I really stood up for. After that, R rated movies no longer became even a slight temptation to me. Other situations that may have been a gray area for me in the past were made clear so I could choose the decision I needed to become a stronger and more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.
I believe that in order for both my spiritual and temporal progression, my Heavenly Father has entrusted me to use my agency wisely so that I can become the person He knows I can be.

I hope you had a safe and wonderful holiday full of love and laughter. What are some of your goals for this year? How will you use your agency-a gift God gave us- this year? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Agency - our ability to choose for ourselves


As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that our Father in Heaven has given us agency, or the ability to choose and to act for ourselves.

I believe that before we came to this earth, we participated in a great council. In this heavenly council, our Father in Heaven presented a plan. Part of His plan allowed us agency. Satan rebelled against our Father and wanted to take away our ability to make choices. Because of this rebellion, Satan and his followers were denied the opportunity to come to earth and gain bodies. I believe that because of our faithfulness and desire to follow our Father in Heaven, we were sent to the earth to gain mortal bodies and have the privilege of making choices.

We have a great responsibility to show our Father in Heaven that we can make good choices and follow our Savior’s example. Along with making choices come consequences to our actions. Whether our choices are good or bad, we will have consequences. I have seen the direct consequences to my actions. I strive to make good choices that will lead me back to my Father in Heaven. Living the commandments and following the teachings of my loving Savior, Jesus Christ, has blessed me with positive consequences in my life. My life is happy and peaceful because I make good choices and use my agency in positive ways. I am so blessed! And for that, I am eternally grateful for a wise and gracious Father in Heaven.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Gift of Agency

As I look back on last year and look forward to this New Year ahead.  I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for so many things.  Heavenly Father in His divine wisdom knew that this life would be a proving ground.  That by allowing us to have the ability to choose we could learn and grow by our choices.  Heavenly Father also knew the risk; that choice comes with a price. 
            He taught that “men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.” (2 Nephi 2:5)  This sacred instruction began in the heavens.  There, in a Grand Council, our Heavenly Father would continue the gift of agency to prove us here in mortality, “to see if [we] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command.” (Abraham 2:24-25)
            I remember back when my daughter was little, maybe 5 years old.  My wife and I were trying to teach her about choice and consequence.  I don’t remember the difficulty of the decision that she was trying to make.  It was most likely whether or not to obey one of our simple rules, like clean up what you are playing with before you get out something else.  I do remember her comment; “Daddy, I don’t like choices because consequences aren’t fun.”  Choices do have consequences, both to bless our lives or to hinder our growth.
            Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following.  “It is our sins that make the devil laugh, our sorrow that brings him counterfeit joy.  Although the devil laughs, his power is limited.  Some may remember the old adage: ‘The devil made me do it.’  Today I want to convey, in absolutely certain terms, that the adversary cannot make us do anything.  He does lie at our door, as the scriptures say, and he follows us each day. (Moses 5:23)  Every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior.  But the adversary must depart if we tell him to depart.  He cannot influence us unless we allow him to do so, and he knows that!  The only time he can affect our minds and bodies - our very spirits - is when we allow him to do so.  In other words, we do not have to succumb to his enticements!” 
            I choose to try to follow my Heavenly Father’s commandments.  To allow the spirit of Christ into my life so that as I use my Agency, I choose those things that will help me be more like him.  I want the consequences of my choices to be positive, not negative.  This takes some thought, not reaction.  I have found that if I react, most of the time I choose unwisely.  I am so grateful for the Gift of Agency, that I can have my Heavenly Fathers help in all of my choices I make.  I rely on my Savior’s example, but also my relationship with him to move forward with faith.  As I make choices, I choose to be on the Lord’s side.

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