The Flowers of Grace

The Sacrament is a weekly reminder that Christ invites us to take upon ourselves 
His name, but He also beckons for us to take on more than just His name. He 
invites us to take upon us His very nature as well.  We do that through the Holy Ghost.  

Each role that the Holy Ghost can play in our lives is equally important and vital 
in its own way.  He bears witness of the other members of the Godhead 
(1 Cor. 12:3; 3 Ne. 28:11; Ether 12:41). He teaches us what is True (John 14:26;
 16:13; Moro. 10:5; D&C 39:6). He can comfort us (John 14:16–27, Moroni 8:26). 
It is through the Holy Ghost that those who have repented and been baptized can 
be sanctified (John 3:5; 3 Ne. 27:20; Moses 6:64–68).  Finally, the Holy Ghost is the 
Holy Spirit of Promise who puts His “stamp of approval” on our personal lives 
(D&C 76:50–53; 132:7, 18–19, 26). (Source). 

Although each of the roles of the Holy Ghost are equally important, I am only going 
to focus on His role as Sanctifier and invite you to do some further studying on your 
own, especially about the Holy Spirit of Promise. We will also visit personal revelation 
in part 3 of the book. The scriptures reference this process, called sanctification, as 
being cleansed or baptized by fire (see 3 Nephi 12:1-2, 3 Nephi 9:20, D&C 20:41,  
Moses 6:66, Mormon 7:10, JST Matthew 3:38 &40, Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16,  
D&C 33:11, JST John 1:28, and Ether 12:14).  Even though we had hands laid upon 
our head on our baptism day or during Sacrament Meeting the day after our baptism, 
it doesn’t necessarily mean we received the gift of the Holy Ghost at that moment.  
We may still, years and years later, have not yet received it even now.

Elder Bednar powerfully said the following, “The simplicity of this ordinance may 
cause us to overlook its significance. These four words—’Receive the Holy 
Ghost’—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood 
injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon 
 (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives  
merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important 
words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred 
and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we 
indeed ‘receive the Holy Ghost’ and its attendant spiritual gifts” (Source). I invite 
you to check out the rest of his talk because he gives details on what we can 
do to make this blessing fully operative on our lives.

It is through Christ’s grace that this gift of sanctification is freely offered.  Just 
like with justification, “it is not that we earn these gifts, but rather that we choose 
to seek and accept justification and sanctification(Source). This process is an 
extension of our discussion about the mighty change of heart. Remember I 
promised you a forsaking of your sins unlike any you had experience before? 
This process of being cleansed by the fire of the Holy Ghost is how we gain 
that remission.  

But how are Christ’s attributes and His nature distilled upon our souls by the 
Holy Ghost?  Jaci answered this question by likening the remission of our sins 
to the remission of cancer.  The patients often have chemotherapy treatments 
where medication is administered through an IV directly into the bloodstream.  

This medication can make the cancer go into remission.  Just like a remission of 
cancer, a remission of sins frees us from the cancerous growths of sin and the 
accompanying difficulties associated with them.  “Believe it or not, the baptism of 
fire works the very same way. In this example, the chemotherapy represents our 
prince’s grace and the IV represents the Holy Ghost. Because the Holy Ghost 
can ‘dwell in you’ (Romans 8:9),  he’s able to transmit Christ’s grace to the 
deepest parts of your mind and heart. And what does this medicine do once 
it gets inside you? According to Elder David A. Bednar, ‘the Holy Ghost 
sanctifies and refines our souls as if by fire’ and as a result, we receive 
‘a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made 
possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord.’ Pretty amazing cure if 
you ask me” (Jaci Wightman, A Princess Story, 144, emphasis added).

Let me shift this mental picture a bit.  Rather than laying in a bed or a comfy chair 
while the medication is dripping through our arm, we are actually up and doing.  
It comes as we have experiences in our daily lives---both the big moments of 
intensity and also the seemingly small moments. These “give [us] 
experience” (D&C 122:7).  

The following was in the footnotes of Elder Brian K. Ashton’s General Conference talk,  
The Doctrine of Christ: “Enduring to the end is aptly named, as it requires both time and 
endurance (see James 1:2–4). The fact is that we cannot develop some Christlike 
attributes without facing opposition and difficulties. For example, how can we become 
long-suffering if we are never required to suffer for a long time?” (Source).  So part of 
this process will include fiery trials of our faith and times when we feel stretched beyond 
our capacity as we continue to learn through experience. 

There is something really cool about all of this.  We don’t have to wait until we are 
chased down by the “medical staff” and kick or scream or fight as they insert the IV.  
We don’t have to yank it out or tamper with the IV pump. We can willingly, gladly, and 
even reverently roll up our sleeve and bear our entire arm---no matter the size of the 
needle or the side effects of the medication. 

We can be willing regardless of the amount of pain we anticipate or the details of 
what we must pass through.  We can do this because, by now, after all you have 
been through with God in allowing Christ to shine light on all the dark corners of 
your life, the trust has grown into confidence

You are “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [you], 
even as a child doth submit to his father.” You are “[becoming] a saint through the 
atonement of Christ the Lord:...submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love” 
(Mosiah 3:19).  With such a willing heart, we can purposely ask God, “What Lack 
I Yet” (see Mark 10:21)? We can listen for the promptings of The Spirit, then act 
on those answers as we become more and more like Him.  “And every one that 
hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father” (D&C 84: 47).

Do you know who else has these divine attributes besides Christ? Christ 
commanded the Jews, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is 
in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  Later, after finishing His mortal mission, 
He commanded the Nephites, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect  
even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48).

As we allow Christ’s nature to become our own drop by drop, we are also allowing 
ourselves to become like God.  “Jesus Himself said that life eternal is to know the 
only true God. To become like Him is the only way to really know Him” 
(source, emphasis added).

Sanctification is an extension of the repentance process.  Just like gardening is 
more than only pulling weeds, there is more to repentance than only removing sins. 
 It’s also planting flowers.  

“The Atonement helps us grow in two ways: removing negative weeds and cultivating 
positive flowers.  The Savior’s grace blesses both parts---if we do our part. First and 
repeatedly we must uproot the weeds of sins and bad habits.  It isn’t enough just to  
mow them.  Rather, we must yank them out by the roots through real repentance.  
But forgiveness only begins our growth. We are not just paying a debt; we want 
and need to become like Him.  So once we’ve cleared our heart-land, we must 
continually plant and nourish new seeds of divine qualities. 

“Then as our self-discipline and His gifts come together, ‘the flow’rs of grace appear,’ 
such as hope and meekness (“There is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” Hymns, no. 227).  
The very tree of life will also grow in this garden of the heart, bearing fruit so sweet 
that it lifts all our burdens ‘through the joy of his Son’ (Alma 32:23).  And when the 
flower of charity blooms here, we will love others with Christlike compassion.

“We all need grace, both to overcome sinful weeds and to grow divine flowers in 
ways we cannot fully do alone” (Bruce C. Hafen, Spiritually Anchored in Unsettled 
Times, 17-18).

Even though we have touched on sanctification in only one section, I hope you have 
caught that it is yet another of those lifelong processes.  Although some attributes 
may come suddenly or even dramatically, most take time and by gradual experiences 
to grow in us---most come so gradually the changes seem imperceptible.  It happens 
over a lifetime of consistency and faithfulness as drop by drop, God distills His very 
essence into us by Jesus Christ and through the Holy Ghost.

The exciting thing about this process is that this is a continual expanse!  We will never 
reach the “completely done” point in this life. Listen to this beautiful description, “It is 
as though someone had set a never-ending array of curtains in space.  At first, each 
curtain is lifted with the expectation it is the last, the conclusion of all space; but as one 
relentlessly pursues his course it finally dawns on him that there is no end to these 
curtains.  Likewise, there is seemingly no end to the blessings the Atonement bestows, 
no finale to the questions to be asked and answers to be found---at least not in our 
mortal lifetimes. It is a wonderfully, exhilarating, yet humbling pursuit---a finite mind 
chasing the infinite...With each new truth, each new insight, even each new question, 
the quest for truth, that truth which saves souls and builds faith and enlightens our 
understanding of eternity, is being advanced, however small it may be on the scale 
of cosmic verities” (Callister, The Infinite Atonement, find the page number).

No matter how many times I have read that quote, it continues to remain thrilling 
to me!  There will always be more as we inch along on our journey.  Most of these 
changes may seem imperceptible, but over time, we can peel back one curtain, 
then another, and another in a never-ending expansion. We can catch glimpses 
of this process working in our lives as we realize things no longer bother us as 
they used to.  We aren’t quick to anger or give in so easily to favorite sins from 
the past. When we notice these things, we can gratefully acknowledge God 
working in our lives and give praise to Him and also to Jesus Christ. 

Although we are finished with this chapter and finished with part 2 of the book 
having thoroughly examined the effects of the Fall and the power of the Atonement, 
we are not done just yet with our journey together.  There is one special part of 
Christ’s and God’s natures that we must take upon ourselves, for it is greatest 
of all (see 1 Corinthians 13:13 and Moroni 7:46-47). 

It’s charity.  Charity, like the other divine attributes we acquire through grace
isn’t something we simply muster up ourselves.  Charity doesn’t comes from 
any of our own efforts. Yes, we must seek for it.  But manufacturing it isn’t 
how it comes. It is something we are “filled with” (Moroni 7:48).  
If I told you to put water into a cup without pouring water into it, that wouldn’t 
be possible, right?  That’s why I like Moroni’s words so much. It paints a clear 
picture that to be filled implies it must come from an outside source

Sometimes we try to be filled with charity, but our cup, or heart and mind, is too 
full of junk.  There isn’t any room to receive this love. Having “cleared out our 
heartland,” as Elder Hafen said it, having gone through all of the other preparatory 
steps first, we now have room to be filled.  In the last part of the book we will cover 
how, being filled with charity, we can reach outside of ourselves and truly love those 
around us by pointing them to Christ through ministering. How can we support the 
journeys of others around us who are seeking to know God through Jesus Christ too? 
Now we can be a completely different instrument than before our journey!  First we 
will explore within the walls of our own homes then expand it outward from there. 

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