Saturday, March 22, 2014

My "arm of mercy is extended towards you" -3 Nephi 9:14

We live in a day when peace has been taken from the earth, a day when men's hearts are failing, a day when "Satan reigns in the hearts of men; it is the great day of his power" (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/04/the-coming-tests-and-trials-and-glory?lang=eng). One only need to get onto social media or turn on any channel on the TV for five minutes to realize just how firm of a grasp the devil has on this world.

He could care less about how many people are currently following any one of his plethora of plans. No, his target is the very elect, both in and out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For if the elect can be deceived, either to do things that are evil or to do things other than what we need to do (it really doesn't matter, either way, we're not progressing). He seeks to drag us all down "to the gulf of misery and endless woe" (Helaman 5:12). 

“He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179). He is a real being, hell-bent on destroying you, and ceasing the Plan of Salvation from operating in your life.

He is still out to prove that His plan would have been better. We are not good enough to make choices and use our agency, so he had to rule over us; he had to "exalt [his] throne above the stars of God", in other words, us (Isaiah 14:13). He lost that battle, but he is still striving to win the war, by disproving the Father's plan for each person he can get his clutches around.

However, this is not to be a depressing post, but to understand the absolute wonder and awe of this post, we needed to understand what Lucifer has done. He has no low point; nothing is too low for him to do. If he can prove that you can't use your agency, he feels he has won. There is a fatal flaw to his plan however.

He cannot descend below the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;" (Doctrine & Covenants 88:6). He descended below what Satan is capable of. Our Savior led a one man charge against Death and Hell, and came out victorious. 

Because of the Atoning Sacrifice of the Son of the Eternal Father, we can all be saved from anything. "There is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of Complete Forgiveness. This is the promise of the Atonement of Christ" (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/the-brilliant-morning-of-forgiveness?lang=eng). 

We, as mortals, fail to realize just how merciful our Father and our Savior are. I feel this is because we often lean more to justice, particularly when we look upon ourselves. While some do have strong feelings of judgement towards other people, usually, that is from people in the great and spacious building mocking those who seek after eternal life or those on forbidden paths. Those who are on the path, or are striving to remain on the path, usually reserve the judgement of justice for themselves. 

If we truly realized how merciful our Savior is, I'm sure we would find ourselves being a little more merciful to ourselves. Not excusing our sins, and daily trying to improve and to repent, we'd find that with a little more patience and mercy towards ourselves that we would begin to see the image of the God of Heaven in our countenances.