To Act for Themselves – 2 Nephi 2:26

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
(2 Nephi 2:26)

Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ overcame the effects of the Fall in our lives, we are in a position to act for ourselves, not to be acted upon. Earlier in this chapter, Lehi taught his sons that God’s creations can be divided into two categories: “things to act” and “things to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:14). He further taught them that God intended for us to act for ourselves, not to be acted upon (2 Nephi 2:15-16). But the Fall of Adam and Eve placed us in a position where we were cut off from God’s presence and could not return to His presence without His help. Therefore the Messiah came to earth and offered Himself as a sacrifice “to answer the ends of the law” and to “make intercession for all the children of men” (2 Nephi 2:7-9). Because He did this, as Lehi teaches in the verse above, our agency has been restored. We are free to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon.

Elder Bednar taught one implication of this principle:

In the grand division of all of God’s creations, there are things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:13–14). As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have been blessed with the gift of agency—the capacity and power of independent action. Endowed with agency, we are agents, and we primarily are to act and not only to be acted upon—especially as we seek to obtain and apply spiritual knowledge (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, September 2007).

Today, as I participate in General Conference, I will be an active learner. I will actively engage as I listen to the talks. I will think about the messages that the Lord has specifically for me. And I will take the time after the conference to identify specific actions I can take as a result of the things I have learned.

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