Russell T. Osguthorpe delivered the final 2013 CES devotional Sunday in the Marriott Center, engaging audiences and speaking on aligning our will with God’s.
Osguthorpe is the Sunday School general president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In his talk, he showed several videos of local young adults discussing gospel topics at his home. He then invited participants to discuss the same ideas among themselves.
“Whatever your challenge, I promise that what we discuss tonight will help you to overcome it,” Osguthorpe told young adults at the beginning of the fireside.
He reminded youth of the prayers and love extended to them daily from President Thomas S. Monson, other members of the Quorum of the Twelve, parents and other family members. He urged them to recall all of their blessings as well.
“Reflecting on our blessings gives us strength to move forward in life,” Osguthorpe said.
Osguthorpe reminded listening young adults that they need to consistently turn to God for help with navigating life and to try to align their will with his. He discussed how the adversary tries to convince people that there’s no such thing as will or agency.
“We learn from revelation, both ancient and modern, that we do have agency. We do have will. We do have desires, and those desires can change,” Osguthorpe said.
Osguthorpe quoted Elder Russell M. Nelson’s words from the September CES devotional when he said, “How do we change our behavior and desires? Permanent change can only come through the healing, cleansing and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Osguthorpe said it is essential for us to continually draw upon the Atonement and repent so we can improve ourselves. But doing so requires making space for the Spirit in our lives.
“When we make space for the Spirit, there is no space for sin,” he said.
Osguthorpe then turned to speaking about uplifting those with whom we interact. He used the examples of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and President Monson to show that each of their interactions uplift others and help them feel God’s love.
“If we are reaching out to others, then our capacity to reach out even more is increased,” he said. “This is one of the clearest indicators we are aligning our will with God’s.”
Osguthorpe said each time we make and renew covenants, we are giving our will to God.
“As we do all we can to give ourselves to him — with our heart, our will, and our soul — we will feel his love,” he said. “And the more we feel his love, the more we know we are succeeding in giving our will to him.”
But giving ourselves to the Lord isn’t just a one-time event — it must be repeated day after day, as the Savior did while he was on the earth, Osguthorpe said.
“The only gift we have to give God is our will to him,” he said. “He will not only accept this gift, but he will expand it and deepen it. He will cause us to feel more capable. He will help increase our capacity to love and be loved. He will lead us out of darkness into light. He will heal and help us in ways that permit us to forgive and be forgiven.”