Sunday, January 27, 2013

The gift of a testimony: only the beginning of conversion

I had a WONDERFUL Sabbath. I loved sacrament and temple prep, but the Relief Society lesson was truly inspired. Heavenly Father knew I needed to hear it. We often listen to General conference and love the talks and gain so much insight from them, but do we remember what we learned? Do we look back on those talks. I don't think I look back at them enough. I am so grateful for my RS teacher and president who shared this lesson today. It was beautiful, I had no other focus than what the spirit was teaching me through the words of Elder Bednar and our teacher. I hope you can learn too.

It was given by this lovely RM. The lesson was on Elder David A. Bednar's conference talk Converted unto the Lord

The theme or topic of the lesson was about how testimony and conversion should be thought about together. I had never really thought deeply into this concept. We learn from the talk that "testimony is a point of departure; it is not an ultimate destination." That is so true. We can all have testimonies, but are we actively strengthening them and learning? Elder Bednar says that testimony is a prerequisite to becoming converted. There are five basic elements in becoming converted"

1. BELIEVING in the teachings and prophesies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures.
2. EXERCISING FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
3. REPENTING
4. experiencing a mighty CHANGE OF HEART
5. becoming FIRM and STEADFAST in the faith

as he says, this is the pattern that leads to conversion. But we cannot be firm and steadfast without having a change of heart, we can't have a change of heart without repentance, we cannot repent unless we have faith for faith accomplishes repentance, and we cannot do any of these things without the initial belief. 

Having a testimony is not enough. As Elder Bednar said: "Testimony is important and necessary but not sufficient to provide the spiritual strength and protection we need. Some members of the Church with testimonies have wavered and fallen away. Their spiritual knowledge and commitment did not measure up to the challenges they faced."

Conversion is having faith and repenting continually in order to endure to the end.

In the talk Elder Bednar gives the story of the sons of Mosiah teaching the Lamanites. "....and [those who] were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. For they became a righteous people; they did lay down their weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more....Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord"(Alma 23)

What are your weapons of rebellion? This really struck me. What is it that is blocking me from giving my full heart to the Lord? It could be as simple as music or it could be the great sin of pride. Whatever it be, stop. repent. change.

We must be converted to the Lord. Not to our social status in the Church, to our leaders, or any other reason than the Lord himself. Those who are converted to the Lord will never fall away. That is a beautiful promise.

"A testimony is spiritual knowledge of truth....continuing conversion is constant devotion to the truth we have received."

"KNOWING THAT THE GOSPEL IS TRUE IS THE ESSENCE OF TESTIMONY.
CONSISTENTLY BEING TRUE TO THE GOSPEL IS THE ESSENCE OF CONVERSION."

a testimony without conversion is nothing.

"We should know the gospel is true and be true to the gospel."
Elder Bednar describes the parable of the 10 virgins and how the 5 who were unprepared wanted to borrow oil from the 5 who were prepared. Then he asks these questions: "Can't the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no."

That may be hard to hear. Sometimes we feel that we can change others or help them gain their testimony, and while we can be a starting point in some cases true conversion can only be accomplished by the individual who is seeking it. 

Alma 5: 14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

Have you? Do you know without a doubt that your heart is converted to the Lord with full purpose?

Do you value your conversion to Christ?

The thing of most worth is to preach the Gospel to all nations- how can we do this if we are not truly converted?

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

I've got some changes to make. certainly so. I hope that you will read this with an open heart. Christ did everything for you. He loves you. He endured the physical pains of the cross and the emotional pains in Gethsemane for YOU. Will you do what it takes to truly be converted to Him? Will you give your heart, time, and efforts?
 


 

1 comment:

  1. I remember this talk really touching me too. Thank you so much for the wonderful reminder. I love your insights.

    :)

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