Saturday, April 22, 2017

Elder Neil L. Andersen on the blessings of overcoming the world

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"The blessings that the Lord has promised to those who overcome the world are breathtaking. They will be 'clothed in white... and [named in] the book of life.' The Lord 'will confess [their names] before [the] Father, and before his angels' (Revelation 3:5). Each shall have 'part in the first resurrection' (D&C 76:64), receive eternal life (see Revelation 2, chapter heading), and 'go no more out' (Revelation 3:12) from the presence of God.
"Is it possible to overcome the world and receive these blessings? Yes, it is....
"Those who overcome the world develop an all-encompassing love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ....
"Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity....
"Overcoming the world is not a global invasion but a private, personal battle, requiring hand-to-hand combat with our own internal foes....
"Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God—our baptismal and temple covenants and our oath of faithfulness to our eternal companion....
"Overcoming the world does not mean we live a cloistered life, protected from the unfairness and difficulties of mortality. Rather, it opens the more expansive view of faith, drawing us to the Savior and His promises.
"While perfection is not complete in this life, overcoming the world keeps our hope aflame that one day we 'shall stand before [our Redeemer]; [and] see his face with pleasure' (Enos 1:27), and hear His voice: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.' (Matthew 25:34)"
- Neil L. Andersen, "Overcoming the World," General Conference, April 2017
Click here to watch or read the full talk

Elder Andersen's message was based on a phrase from a visionary experience of President David O. McKay, describing heavenly beings as those who have "overcome the world." In analyzing that phrase, he described aspects of what it would mean for a person in this life to achieve that state. While emphasizing that it's a lifelong process, "a lifetime of moments" leading to the point where "perfection is... complete" only after this life, he also describes many of the aspects of discipleship and obedience that demonstrate progress towards the goal.

I think one of the blessings of the process is that our efforts to overcome the world help to "keep our hope aflame" that the process can eventually be completed, and the joy and blessings that accompany that eventual state will be profound.

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