Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reflections on a Consecrated Life

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the LDS Quorum of 12 Apostles, spoke on living a Consecrated Life in this past October General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Of the many talks given, this was one of my most favorite. The was my favorite because if there is any topic that encapsulates the Gospel of Jesus Christ more, it is the principle of Consecration.

Elder Christofferson reminds us that each of us have been given 2 things in this life: 1. Time, and 2. Freedom to Choose. The liberty we are given is to decide what to exchange our time for. Do we trade our time for cheap thrills, or do we exchange it for eternal joy. Elder Christofferson reminds us that the Scriptures teach that "Men are they they might have joy." And if it is joy we seek, the only way we can lay hold upon joy is by aligning our lives with the will of God.

'What win I, if I gain the thing I seek? A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy. Who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week? Or sells eternity to get a toy? For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy? Or what fond beggar, but to touch the crown, Would with the sceptre straight be strucken down?' -William Shakespeare

Matt 6:20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."

Elder Christofferson taught, "consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny."

This quote reminds me of the rich young man who asked the Savior what he must do to receive Eternal Life. In response, Jesus Christ asked the young man "what saith the Law?". The young man than recited the commandments and proudly declared that he had kept them since his youth and then added, "what lack I yet." Impressed, the Lord responded, "if thou wilt be made perfect, sell all that thou hast, give to the poor, and come and follow me."

This invitation by Christ to the rich young man, is the higher covenant. The invitation to devote and consecrate all that we have to the Lord is an invitation made to all who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. In exchange for our complete submission, dedicated commitment and loyal service, the Creator of the Universe promises us perfection, sanctification, eternal life, and exaltation.

The first most important step in living a consecrated life is after we believe in Christ, that we repent of our sins. Elder Christofferson taught, "Consecration therefore means repentance. Stubbornness, rebellion, and rationalization must be abandoned, and in their place submission, a desire for correction, and acceptance of all that the Lord may require." Our sinful pride, finds excuses why we don't have to change. It's easy to excuse ourselves and tell ourselves that we are the exception. However, the true follower of Christ submits to His will and has faith that He has power over any sin. Like King Lamoni's Father in the Book of Mormon, will we give up all our sins to know God?

Next, Elder Christofferson teaches that we must labor diligently. This principle reminds me of the Book of Mormon where King Benjamin teaches, "How knoweth a man the Master whom he hath not served, and who is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart." So, diligent labor in the service of God is part of living a consecrated life. In partnership to labor we must not forget leisure. A hunter who always keeps his bow strung will soon discover his bow has lost all its spring. In the same way, a lumberman will work work much more efficiently if he remembers to regularly take some time to sharpen his ax.

Lastly, Elder Christofferson reminds us that a consecrated life is one of integrity. Do we deal honestly and justly with everyone? When we are baptized and have accepted Christ as our Savior, we covenant to be witnesses of God is all times, and places and circumstances that we may be in. With this in mind, I wonder, do we remember to stand as a witness on the internet, in chat rooms, and bulletin boards. Or does the illusion of anonymity of the internet with our many avatars, usernames, and aliases, tempt us to become someone else?

In the end, Elder Christofferson reminds us of the promises in scripture, that if we love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength, and truly consecrate our lives to the Savior, that not only will we be blessed, but others around us will be blessed through us, and see Christ's countenance in us, as we reflect His glorious light.

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