While recording episode #7 of our show, I talked about a quote that Linda hung on one of our walls in a spot where I see it often. It’s attributed to President Ezra Taft Benson and says,
“When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.”
That saying wiggled its way into my brain. I think it’s because I’ve always liked the idea of a quest. When I was a kid (and even now if I’m honest), I loved fantasy adventure books and movies about quests, video games with an epic quest, and of course I loved stories of the most famous of quests: King Arthur’s Quest for the Holy Grail.

But when Linda posted that quote, I was annoyed. I was repeatedly disobedient and my addiction left me feeling not endowed with power, but completely powerLESS. I thought I wanted to be obedient, but I had failed so many times I felt bitter. God wasn’t giving me the power I needed. Yep, I was in full on addict/victim mode. Truly, obedience felt like an irritant.

Now that I’m trying hard to be in recovery, I’ve pondered this quote in a new light. I’ve read all the talks and lessons it’s quoted in. That last part was intriguing to me: “God will endow us with power.” What power? In addict mode, I wanted it to be the power of some miracle for me to not have my addiction...or at least not its consequences. As I’ve gotten into recovery, I thought maybe it was priesthood power, which is probably partly true, but the more I read and pondered, the more I believe that it’s really the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

God’s goal is for us to become immortal and have eternal life. The way that goal is achieved through Christ’s Atonement and through our making covenants and performing ordinances that center around giving up our own will for God’s, in other words being obedient.

Not coincidentally, it was through obedience that the atonement was achieved. Remember that Christ said,
“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
The bitter cup which he partook is the true Holy Grail. And our quest is to give up our will and be obedient just as he was, to partake of that holy, bitter cup just as he did.

In Arthur’s legend, those who drank from the Holy Grail would get unending life and become immortal, but the reality is even better: Those who partake of the symbolic grail, who “make obedience their quest,” are endowed with the power of Christ’s atonement which cleanses, heals, sanctifies, and transforms. The power of the atonement qualifies us not just for endless life (which it does), but also for Eternal Life,
“which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” (D&C 14:7)
And the best part is, unlike Arthur we don’t have to successfully complete the quest to win this “greatest gift.” The quote doesn’t say “those who are obedient are endowed with power.” We don’t have to be 100% obedient. We just have to “make obedience our quest.” If we’re striving and seeking for obedience, the power we’re endowed with, the power of the atonement, will make up the rest. We WILL screw up. That’s the whole reason for Christ’s atonement. But our heart does have to be in the right place. That’s what matters! Are we trying? Are we fighting?

So when you mess up, don’t give up. Wake up, look up, let Christ lift you up. My prayer is that we can all pursue this quest with renewed vigor. That we can keep the big picture of God’s plan for us in our mind and make obedience our quest.


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