Bishop L. Todd Budge, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke about unlocking the power of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ by turning to the Lord with a “broke” heart and a contrite spirit.
“Two fundamental principles, repenting and believing, are key to unlocking the power of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our lives,” Bishop Budge said.
“Repentance is more than checking a list or going through the motions — it requires checking our hearts and going through the emotions of turning our hearts to Christ,” he said.
The second principle is to believe in the power, goodness and mercy of Jesus Christ. Even with belief, though, it’s ok to have questions.
“It is perfectly acceptable to have questions about our doctrine, Church history, Church policies, etc.,” Bishop Budge said. “However, the lens through which we see those questions is the determining factor of whether our faith is strengthened or weakened.”
Budge explained that we have to be willing to move forward in faith even when we have an incomplete understanding of the meaning of all things. As we seek for answers with a believing heart, the truth can be taught by the Spirit.
Both repenting and believing require that we turn to the Lord with broken hearts and contrite spirits. The word for “heart” in Hebrew refers to the “inner man” or “will.” To have a broken heart means that we are willing to put off the natural man and yield our will to God’s will.
Bishop Budge related the process of a wild, or “natural,” horse being tamed by a horse trainer to the process of our overcoming the natural man and yielding to God’s will.
The process of breaking a horse has four basic steps or objectives: establish direction, get the horse to “give the trainer two eyes,” change direction and establish a place of rest.
Bishop Budge rephrased these same objectives into four words that can be used in our individual process to become more united with God: desire, inquire, require, and retire.
Making a comparison to the techniques a horse trainer uses, “God stands in the center of our lives and does the equivalent of pointing, clucking, and slapping the ground to get our attention and to get our feet moving. He wants us to start moving — to trust Him. He wants us to begin the process of aligning our desires with His.”
“He invites us to ‘give Him two eyes,’ which is to seek His face, to pray with full purpose of heart and real intent to know His will in our lives. The Lord loves it when we inquire of Him.”
“He invites us to change direction based on our understanding of His will. Repentance is about change. It is yielding our hearts to God with an easiness and willingness to move in the direction He requires.”
“He extends to us His rest. As we turn to the Savior and draw closer to Him, he releases the pressure and gives us rest.”
Bishop Budge pointed out the parallels between breaking a natural horse and a natural man: “The confident and gentle leader that we can trust and respect is Jesus Christ. The round pen [where the horse is trained] is mortality or whatever situation we find ourselves in that is causing us discomfort or stretching us physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.”
While God asks us to come to Him with a “broken heart,” this does not mean he is breaking us.
“When a wild horse is tamed, it is not broken in the process; but conversely discovers the joy and freedom of becoming one with its master – a state is described as being “broke,” not broken.
“God’s intent is not to break us but to redeem us,” Bishop Budge said. “He does not want us to be brokenhearted but to have broke hearts and contrite spirits so that He can take the reins of our lives and guide us with His love to receive all of His promised blessings.”