Choose ye this day

"Is it God's will that we be free men and women enabled to rise
 to our full potential both temporally and spiritually"
-D. Todd Christofferson-

Have you ever made a bad choice? I think I can answer for everyone when I say "Yes." For that is part of life; having our agency to choose. Whether it's what car to buy, to rent or buy a home, who to marry; or more serious choices with potential eternal consequences, such as keeping the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, going to church to be spiritually fed, among others.

"The Father of souls has endowed His children with the divine birthright of free agency; He does not and will not control them by arbitrary forces; He impels no man toward sin; He compels none to righteousness." (James Talmage, The Great Apostasy) Part of our great journey through this mortal realm is the ability to choose. Whether you choose righteously, or choose to sin, the choice will always be yours.
When I think of choices, I like to think about the great war in Heaven. Our Heavenly Father appointed Jesus Christ to be our savior. With that appointment, He also gave us the right to choose. Two-thirds of us, as spirits, chose to follow our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but, sadly, one-third of the spirits in the pre-mortal realm chose not to; and instead decided to follow Lucifer.

When Heavenly Father was making His decision, Lucifer wanted himself to be appointed, and wanted to control our decisions; "without regard to individual preference, agency or voluntary dedication."(War in Heaven, In other words, we would be forced to follow Heavenly Father and would not have been allowed to make decisions for ourselves. So there was a war; and the spirits who sided with Lucifer were thrown out of heaven and put on the earth without the opportunity at a mortal body.

"...that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgement." (D&C 101:38) With the gift of free agency comes responsibility. We are accountable for our actions; we cannot skip our way through life ignoring Heavenly Father's plan until the last second. In order for us to return to Him, we have to prove ourselves. We have to make righteous decisions, and when we don't, take accountability for our actions through proper repentance. I don't know about y'all; but I would much rather have a life of growing pains and learning, than one of being controlled in every way. Will I make mistakes? Of course; I already have. As has everyone that lives on this earth. Nobody that has dwelled or will dwell on this earth will be perfect, except for our Savior.

"No one is immune from Satan's power. Even the Savior was sorely tempted by him three different times, and each time refused to submit to his deceitful temptations." (Delbert L. Stapley) We are told to follow Christ's example. This includes rejecting Satan's influences and choosing to use our agency for good. 

But what about those who were born into unfortunate circumstances, who might have a medical condition that limits their understanding; will they be held accountable the same?
"In the judgement with which we shall be judged, all the conditions and circumstances of our lives shall be considered." (James Talmage)

Our Heavenly Father is just and fair. He doesn't want any of us to fail, to fall away, to give into the temptations of the adversary and his followers. But we still have the responsibility of following Him; to cleave unto the Gospel and to follow our Savior's example. 

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they 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; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."(2 Nephi 2:27) 

This is why we are here; this is why we chose the side we did in the pre-mortal realm; this is why we have been given a body and have been sent to be tried and tested. We will slip up, but don't let those lead to more slip-ups, until your so far gone, it will be so difficult to make your way back.

"There are but two parties on the earth, one for God and the other for the world or the Evil One. No matter how many names the Christian or heathen world bear, or how many sects and creeds may exist, there are but two parties, one for heaven and God, and the other will go to some other kingdom other than the celestial kingdom of God." (Discourses of Brigham Young)

"Satan exerts his greatest power when God has a work to do among his children on earth. Every dispensation of the gospel since the beginning of time has come to a close, not because God has failed, but because man has failed God by the improper use of his free agency." (Delbert L. Stapley)

Happiness or misery.

The choice is yours.

"As we obey our Heavenly Father's commandments, our faith increases, we 
grow in wisdom and spiritual strength, and it becomes 
easier for us to make right choices."
-Wolfgang H. Paul-

Helaman 14:30 - And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. 

D&C 29:39 - And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.

D&C 37:4 - Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so. Amen.


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