October 7, 2009

The Power of Choice


The past few months have been, well, difficult to put it mildly. With school starting, many new responsibilities, and just life in general I found myself at one of those times in life where I just wondered how I would make it to the next day. Amidst this challenging time my mind for some reason was drawn to the concept of agency. I thought many hours on why agency is so important in the gospel. Sure, I have heard all the basic answers but the question still remained as to why God would be willing to give up one third of his children in the war in heaven for the preservation of this law. There must be something greater and deeper than what I understood.

As I was pondering upon this subject I read the following quote by C.S. Lewis: “Why, then did God give [us] free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having….Of course God knew what would happen if [we] used [our] freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk. Perhaps we feel inclined to disagree with Him. But there is a difficulty in disagreeing with God. He is the source from which all reasoning power comes: you could not be right and He wrong any more than a stream can rise higher than its own source. When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.” (Mere Christianity, pp. 52-53).

As I thought about it I realized that agency is the very law that gives power to all other laws. Why is love so powerful? Because we choose to love someone despite their faults. Why is faith so powerful? Because we choose to believe even though it may seem that the very gates of hell are open unto us. Why is the atonement of Christ so significant and powerful? Because He chose to perform this act of service for us, even though we did not deserve it.

Love would not be love if we did not choose to love. Nor would love have the power to change lives, to inspire or uplift if we knew the person did not choose to feel the way they did. Yet when someone chooses to love, oh, the influence and sheer power it wields. When God chooses to love us, despite all we have done, when He loves us, in fact, because of these things, then, and only then does His love have so much power and so much force as to inspire and change the hardest of hearts. It is because God chooses to love us as we are that His love has such great power.

God knew that the only way to teach us of pure love was to allow us to make mistakes and then to show us that He still loves us enough to be willing to give us everything He has. Satan’s plan of destroying agency or free-will would have destroyed love, which in my opinion is the greatest of all of God’s powers; “for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Why is agency the power behind love? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God chose to love us by giving us His only Son that we might eternally live with Him.

Thus, each day we are faced with the decision of choosing. Will we choose to have faith even in the darkest and loneliest times of our lives? Will we choose to believe in the Savior and the power of the atonement? Will we choose to love? If we do, the very power of God, the power of the “pure love of Christ” will envelope our lives and we will become like unto the Lord and Savior. Why? Because we chose to follow Him.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Daniel. This is beautiful. It's so good to hear your thoughts again.
    One of the most powerful experiences in my life was when I had a friend who was struggling with proper use of his agency. One night, I quoted to him from 2 Nephi 2:27-- "Wherefore, men are free...to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil." Then I said, "John, what are *you* going to choose?" He looked me dead in the eye and said, "I choose liberty."
    Agency really is a beautiful gift. We have the power to choose hope, faith, light, and love even in the darkest hours of our lives. Perhaps someday we will see that it really was better for us to pass through sorrow, that we might know the good from the evil. Until then, I guess we all just have to hold on to the one thing that can't be taken from us--our agency--and with it, choose Christ, and the power of His deliverance.
    Thank you, Daniel.

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