Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Elder David A. Bednar on gathering together all things in Christ

Elder David A. Bednar (born June 15, 1952) was serving as the president of BYU–Idaho when he was called and sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in October 2004.
"Sometimes as members of the Church we segment, separate, and apply the gospel in our lives by creating lengthy checklists of individual topics to study and tasks to accomplish. But such an approach potentially can constrain our understanding and vision. We must be careful because pharisaical focus upon checklists can divert us from drawing closer to the Lord.
"The purpose and purification, the happiness and joy, and the continuing conversion and protection that come from 'yielding [our] hearts unto God' (Helaman 3:35) and '[receiving] his image in [our] countenances' (Alma 5:14) cannot be obtained merely by performing and checking off all the spiritual things we are supposed to do. Rather, the power of the Savior’s gospel to transform and bless us flows from discerning and applying the interrelatedness of its doctrine, principles, and practices. Only as we gather together in one all things in Christ, with firm focus upon Him, can gospel truths synergistically enable us to become what God desires us to become (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48) and endure valiantly to the end. (see D&C 121:29.)"
- David A. Bednar, "Gather Together in One All Things in Christ," General Conference October 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Bednar's theme in his message was to help us understand the critical importance of focusing on the Savior, based on Paul's letter to the Ephesians in which he prophesied of our day:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

While Paul was speaking of the Lord doing the gathering, Elder Bednar extended the principle as an admonition for us to participate in those gathering efforts by understanding how critical it is for us to have Him as the center of our focus, permeating all things we do and experience.

I appreciated the discussion of "spiritual checklists." We don't become the kind of person He wants us to be "merely by performing and checking off all the spiritual things we are supposed to do." Beyond that, we must comprehend the power of the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ to transform us as we focus on Christ:

This whole-life approach to discipleship is necessary to eventually achieve "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13) and be perfected in Him.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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