I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also a student of all that is good. I love to read and see how religions from around the world reflect my own faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Today I read the conference talk given in the April 2017 Saturday afternoon session of conference by Elder Neil L Anderson entitled, Overcoming the World. (click the link if you wish to read this talk for yourself).
Elder Anderson made it clear that it is possible to overcome the world and receive the blessings God has promised. Blessings include being “clothed in white… and [named in] the book of life.” The Lord “will confess [their names] before the Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5). Those overcome the world have “part in the first resurrection” (D&C 76:64), receive eternal life (Revelation 2) and “go no more out” from the presence of God (Revelation 3:12).
Sounds pretty good.
To overcome the world means to be at one with God… with Jesus.
Elder Anderson said, “Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.”
Deep, yet simple.
As I read, I was reminded of a conversation I had this week concerning “oneness”. Is “oneness” the absence of separation or a feeling of unity?
Most people are aware of the oneness principle of Buddhism. For Buddhists, oneness means there is no separation between one person and another, no separation between people and the substances of the universe, and no separation between the physical and the spiritual parts of one’s being. I believe that those who have faith in Christ devote themselves to God and become perfect in reflecting His attributes… oneness. Those who have faith in Christ accept Christ’s gift, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, his sacrifice and his resurrection, by obedience to his teachings… oneness. Those who have faith in Christ work to become the manifestation of His word… oneness. Those who have faith in Christ work toward overcoming their ego to attain complete union with God by executing God’s will and manifesting God’s love through thought, word and actions becoming, in a sense, an extension of God.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31
Elder Anderson said, “Overcoming the world is not a global invasion but a private, personal battle, requiring hand-to-hand combat with our own internal foes.”
I believe my journey to “oneness” begins with the recognition that I am a child of God. Because I am a loved daughter of God, I am a spiritual being of divine intelligence, divine love and divine power. My potential is infinite. My journey with “oneness” continues as I recognize my dependence on the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught in John 8:32 that the truth would set us free. Jesus is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Jesus is who sets me free.
Jesus taught that we should seek to be one, even as He and His Father are one.
To love something or someone with all of your heart, mind and soul is to be “one” with them, to be in harmony and unity with them.
God is always there. Everything is made of and by God. We may feel separated from God, but that is on us. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
The world would be such a different place if everyone practiced “oneness.” Exaggerated individualism and materialism cause many to seek their own desires at whatever cost. This selfishness causes conflict and suffering. In contrast, a devotion to God, pondering (meditation), prayer (communicating with God), atonement, selfless service, community service and development, good thoughts, and good deeds would end wars, exploitation, injustice, violence, abuse, and even environmental damage. Oneness could improve social, political and professional environments. Talk about “enlightened!”
The practice of “oneness” makes our actions match our values and ideals. Living a life of “oneness” helps us to live a life that matters.
Fully achieving “oneness” is described as a “mighty change of heart” by Alma.
“A mighty change was wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God…” Alma 5:13.
Overcoming the world and achieving “oneness” means we know we will be accountable to God. It means sincerely changing and repenting with no more desire to do evil. Overcoming the world and achieving “oneness” is trusting in God – trusting the “voice that warns, comforts, enlightens and brings peace…” Overcoming the world and achieving “oneness” includes study and pondering. Study and pondering tunes us into “oneness”. It clears the space in our minds. It helps us to remove ego and preconceived ideas. When the “natural man” is in the way it is hard to see God. If we are self-centered it is hard to see God.
When Buddha proclaimed his own enlightenment he said, “I am awake.”
In 2 Nephi 2, Lehi called for his sons to awaken. “O that ye would wake; awake form a deep sleep… and shake off the chains which ye are bound… Awake! and arise from the dust… The Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love. Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.”
We love Him because He loved us first.
It would seem that God’s main concern is us! We wants us to return to Him. He wants us to overcome the world and be “at one” with Him. He wants to provide a way – a path of enlightenment. He has provided that mean for “At-one-ment.” He provided a Savior.