I don't know about you... but as I prepare to be a missionary I feel a lot of pressure. As missionaries we represent Christ. As His messengers and His representatives, we need to develop Christlike attributes. We need faith, charity, love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, obedience, etc. My whole life I've been setting goals and trying to become all of these things- which is good! But Brother Riggins, my Mission Prep Professor, helped me realize I was forgetting a very crucial part of my change and growth: The Atonement. The Atonement is NOT just for forgiveness of our sins! It is NOT just for comfort! It is through the Atonement that we are able to change and become someone better- someone more like Christ. We CANNOT do it without the help of our Savior and His Atonement!
My professor taught us this principle using charity as an example. Look at this incredibly awesome scripture link he showed us.
Definition: pure love of christ
Attributes: suffereth long, is kind, envieth not, is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh not evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity, rejoiceth in truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things, endureth forever!
It will take EONS to develop all those attributes. Perhaps instead, we should consider the definition more.
In Mosiah 4&5, we read about King Benjamin's people. He spoke to the people (the "first general conference") preaching unto them repentance and teaching of the Atonement. At the conclusion of his speaking, they fell down and cried repentance to their Heavenly Father! They received a mighty change of heart. They had no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. Because of their desire to have the Atonement applied in their lives, they desired only good! They were able to change.
Ether 12:32-34 tells us that the laying down of Christ's life shows that He loved the world. Verse 34 specifically says that this love is charity! You know those little.. if a=b and b=c then a=c? Well... if Christ's Atonement=love and this love=charity.. then the Atonement=charity. Now replace the word "charity" with "Atonement." It is always about the Atonement. It is through the Atonement that we receive Christlike attributes.
"If ye have not charity ye are nothing." Without the Atonement we are nothing.
Keep using this word replacement as we read on..
Moroni 7:46-48 Have the Atonement. The Atonement never faileth. Cleave unto the Atonement. It endureth forever. Be possessed of it. Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart that ye may be filled with the Atonement.
D&C 88:125 Clothe yourselves in charity- in the Atonement!
When the Atonement permeates us and fills us completely, the attributes of charity flow naturally.
Spend your time utilizing the Atonement, not on "working on" the attributes. It is the Atonement that will get us through. It is the Atonement that will change us.
My incredible professor suggested we pray in this way.. in a way that will allow us to use the Atonement in all we do. "Heavenly Father, give me your eyes. Let me see as you see. Let me think as you think. Let me walk as you walk. Let me talk as you talk." These are gifts of the Atonement. Through these, you'll automatically be more patient, loving, and develop all Christlike Attributes.
Allow the Atonement to permeate you! I know that it is through the Atonement that we can change. I know it is real and it is for me and it is for you! Cleave unto it. Let it change you.
I say this en el nombre de Jesu Cristo, Amen.