- One of the great challenges each of us faces every day is to not allow the concerns of this world to so dominate our time and energy that we neglect the eternal things that matter most. We can be too easily diverted from remembering and focusing upon essential spiritual priorities because of our many responsibilities and busy schedules.
He shares that the Plan of Happiness is based around doctrines, ordinances and covenants and are help us become worthy to live with God again.
- Our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness includes the doctrine, the ordinances, the covenants, and the exceeding great and precious promises whereby we can become partakers of the divine nature. His plan defines our eternal identity and the pathway we must follow to learn, change, grow, and ultimately dwell with Him forever.
As we start to live the covenants we have made, the Holy Ghost will bring about that might change of heart that is talked about in the scriptures. This change does not happen all at once but it put together piece by piece and moment by moment.
- As we press forward submissively with faith in the Savior, then because of His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, “a mighty change [takes place] in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
- Such a comprehensive change in our nature typically does not occur quickly or all at once.
He speaks about Ordinances and covenants and how these bring the power of godliness and the blessings of mortality into our lives.
- Ordinances that are received worthily and remembered continually open the heavenly channels through which the power of godliness can flow into our lives. Covenants that are honored steadfastly and remembered always provide purpose and the assurance of blessings in both mortality and for eternity.
He goes on to speak about the Sabbath day and temple worship. These two things will raise us above the world and strengthen us spiritually.
- The Sabbath day and the holy temple are two specific sources of divine help instituted by God to assist us in rising above the level and corruption of the world. We initially may think that the overarching purposes of keeping the Sabbath day holy and attending the temple are related but distinctive. I believe, however, that those two purposes are precisely the same and work together to strengthen us spiritually as individuals and in our homes.
Concerning the Sabbath day, he shares several key ideas.
- The Sabbath is God’s time, a sacred time specifically set apart for worshipping Him and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.
- On the Sabbath we worship the Father in the name of the Son by participating in ordinances and learning about, receiving, remembering, and renewing covenants. On His holy day, our thoughts, actions, and demeanor are signs we give to God and an indicator of our love for Him.
- An additional purpose of the Sabbath is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity. Removed during this sacred time from many of the regular routines of our busy lives, we can “look to God and live” by receiving and remembering the great and precious promises whereby we become partakers of the divine nature.
Concerning temple worship, he shares several key ideas.
- The Lord always has commanded His people to build temples, holy places in which worthy Saints perform sacred gospel ceremonies and ordinances for themselves and for the dead. Temples are the most holy of all places of worship. A temple literally is the house of the Lord, a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises.
He then takes both of these key points and shares that their purpose is the same and the results are the same. Both lead us to God and the great plan that He has for our lives.
- Please note that the Sabbath day and the temple, respectively, are a sacred time and a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His exceeding great and precious promises to His children. As instituted by God, the principal purposes of these two divine sources of help are exactly the same: to powerfully and repeatedly focus our attention upon our Heavenly Father, His Only Begotten Son, the Holy Ghost, and the promises associated with the ordinances and covenants of the Savior’s restored gospel.
Elder Bednar talks about these sacred times and sacred spaces and then shares that these two things need to be part of our home. These great things are only effective if they are practiced within our families at home.
- Importantly, a home should be the ultimate combination of time and space wherein individuals and families remember most effectively God’s great and precious promises. Leaving our homes to spend time in Sunday meetings and to enter the sacred space of a temple is vital but insufficient. Only as we bring the spirit and strength derived from those holy activities back with us into our homes can we sustain our focus upon the great purposes of mortal life and overcome the corruption that is in the world.
- Our Sabbath and temple experiences should be spiritual catalysts that imbue individuals and families and our homes with continual reminders of key lessons learned, with the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, with ongoing and deepening conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, and with “a perfect brightness of hope” in God’s eternal promises.
- The Sabbath and the temple can help us to establish in our homes “a more excellent way” as we “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” What we do in our homes with His sacred time and with what we learn in His sacred space is pivotal to becoming partakers of the divine nature.
In conclusion, Elder Bednar says that who we are and what we become is more based on our knowledge and willingness to follow God than on the daily things we do.
- What we become is the result of our knowledge of and willingness to learn from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; it is not merely the sum total of our daily pursuits over the course of a lifetime.
Finally, Elder Bednar reminds us that the gospel is so much more than rules and checklists. It is the ultimate guidebook on how we become like our Father in Heaven and a disciple of our Savior Jesus Christ.
- The gospel is so much more than a routine checklist of discrete tasks to be performed; rather, it is a magnificent tapestry of truth “fitly framed” and woven together, designed to help us become like our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, even partakers of the divine nature.
I don’t think I have ever encouraged people on my blog to go read the entire talk. This talk deserves that distinction. This talk is powerful and there are so many little lines that have caused to me stop and ponder on what Elder Bednar is saying. The ordinances and covenants we have and make in our lives will help us to become more like our Heavenly Father. Ordinances and covenants are given to us to bring us closer to God and to recognize the role that the Savior plans in the great plan of happiness. Taking these things into our homes and having them guide our everyday lives is the ultimate goal and one we should all strive to emulate.