Friday, May 10, 2019

Elder Dale G. Renlund on receiving blessings from God

Elder Dale G. Renlund (born November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"Most blessings that God desires to give us require action on our part—action based on our faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in the Savior is a principle of action and of power. First we act in faith; then the power comes—according to God’s will and timing. The sequence is crucial. The required action, though, is always tiny when compared to the blessings we ultimately receive. (See Mosiah 2:24-25.)
"Consider what happened when fiery, flying serpents came among the ancient Israelites on their way to the promised land. The bite of a poisonous serpent was fatal. But a bitten individual could be healed by looking at a brass serpent fashioned by Moses and placed on a pole. (See Numbers 21:6-9.) How much energy does it take to look at something? All who looked accessed the powers of heaven and were healed. Other Israelites who were bitten failed to look at the brazen serpent and died. Perhaps they lacked the faith to look. (See 1 Nephi 17:41.) Perhaps they did not believe that such a simple action could trigger the promised healing. Or perhaps they willfully hardened their hearts and rejected the counsel of God’s prophet. (See 1 Nephi 17:42.)
"The principle of activating blessings that flow from God is eternal. Like those ancient Israelites, we too must act on our faith in Jesus Christ to be blessed. God has revealed that 'there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.' (D&C 130:20-21.) That being said, you do not earn a blessing—that notion is false—but you do have to qualify for it. Our salvation comes only through the merits and grace of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Nephi 10:24; 25:23.) The immensity of His atoning sacrifice means that the woodpile is infinite; our puny actions approach zero in comparison. But they are not zero, and they are not insignificant; in the dark, a match that is lit can be seen for miles. In fact, it can be seen in heaven because small acts of faith are required to ignite God’s promises. (See Alma 60:11, 21.)"
- Dale G. Renlund, "Abound with Blessings," General Conference April 2019
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Elder Renlund's conference talk explored the concept of  blessings from God, and the relationship to our actions and deeds. Do all our good actions result in blessings? Do we earn blessings? Is it a simple reward system? The answer is not so easy:

Our faith in Jesus Christ results in actions of obedience, service, kindness, and faithfulness. As we "act in faith," we see the power that results, "according to God's will and timing." The important key is that we don't earn blessings; they come through the grace and goodness of God. But we must qualify for them. Our small actions enable us to see the bounteous blessings that God is eager to give.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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