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The reward of pride
By josh
9/28/2006 1:59:54 PM
2 Nephi 26:10 — And when these things have passed away a speedy destruction cometh unto my people; for, notwithstanding the pains of my soul, I have seen it; wherefore, I know that it shall come to pass; and they sell themselves for naught; for, for the reward of their pride and their foolishness they shall reap destruction; for because they yield unto the devil and choose works of darkness rather than light, therefore they must go down to hell.

1 Corinthians 6:20 — For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Alma 12:14 — For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

In a sense, everything we do or have is bought. We buy it with money, or with time, or effort, or even through omission. Everything we acquire ourselves (not counting gifts) is bought one way or another. Like time and effort, pride is also a powerful currency, and is worth a great deal. By exchanging it we can buy freedom, understanding, and healing. By harboring it and investing it, it quickly compunds and grows, like a high yield investment fund. But what is the reward of letting our pride grow? Ultimately, desctruction. But even before then, we miss out on so many "good sales" because we just can't part with this powerful currency. We pass opportunities by, we deprive others of things that we could buy for them, we live in misery, a miser ourselves, and a slave to our "wealth" of pride.

There will come a time for everyone when all that pride must be turned in. We will either claim our agency and freedom by exchanging it now, or we will buy our destruction by exchanging (or losing our investment) later. Alma spoke of the latter exchange: "...we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence." Our pride won't do us much good at that point. It'll be gone alright, but we will have purchased only destruction with it.

Like Derek wrote in his blog, there is a transaction, a larger transaction than any individual transaction that we could ever engage in, that has already taken place. For regardless of the wealth of pride we have accumulated, turning it all in will never scratch the surface of the price of salvation. This transaction paid for things we are completely unable to ever pay for - not just because it costs more, but because we flat out don't even have the ability, or the right currency, to pay for it. Indeed, we are "bought with a price."

The Savior has already paid the price for my sins and temptations. He's already made it possible to have them taken from me, including my animosity, my unkindness, my inability to forgive, my temptations, as well as my outright sins. It's a gift. We don't buy it, not by giving up all the pride in the world. He's already bought it with an infinite and eternal sacrifice. And this extremely valuable gift that he gave more than His life for, He turns around and gives it to us. We merely decide whether or not to accept His offering. And then accept it again tomorrow. And the next day, and the next... We can't ever pay for this gift - we will always be, as King Benjamin said, "unprofitable servants." Although we can't buy it, our pride keeps us from simply accepting this gift.

There is so much I have yet to understand about the atonement. Maybe my analogies here are completely off base, but I'm just trying to understand it better. Just when I feel I start to grasp it, there is some aspect of it that seems just outside my realm of understanding. I suppose that is a good thing, as it will keep me striving for greater understanding. Although my understanding is weak, my knowledge of the effects of the atonement in my own life are definite. The atonement has done more for me than I could ever express, in writing or otherwise. I'm overcome with gratitude each time I think about it, even if I don't completely understand it. "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief."

Comments:

Not off base at all    
"I don't think your analogies are off base. I really appreciated the chance to ponder on your thoughts this morning. The atonement is so inconceivable anyway. It's like the old quote, "the more I know, the less I understand". 6 months ago I had a decent "intellectual knowledge" of the atonement. But now as I'm FINALLY figuring out how to start applying it in my life I really am starting to feel the truth of Elder Maxwell's description of the "awful arithmetic of the atonement". Where before there was intellectual understanding of the atonement, I now cannot even fathom how it works. But I know that it does. I know the Savior atoned for my sins and your sins. "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.""
posted at 10:25:41 on September 29, 2006 by derek


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"One of the false notions of our society is that we are victims of our appetites and passions. But the truth is that the body is controlled by the spirit which inhabits it."

— Terrance D. Olson

“Teaching Morality to Your Children,” Ensign, Mar. 1981