Picture from lds.org
Everything we have comes from God. Our bodies, our spirits, our families, and all our blessings came from Him. Proverbs 10:22 says “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
We don’t find true riches by accumulating money and fancy cars and houses. True riches come from the blessings of God.
Paul said to the Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)
The greatest spiritual gift God has given us is the freedom to choose, or, agency.
In the Garden of Eden, God provided Adam and Eve with everything they needed (or so they believed). He gave them a beautiful garden filled with fruit trees. There was no need for physical labor beyond picking a piece of fruit. The Garden also had excellent climate control, for, even though they were naked, they didn’t have to worry about getting cold or sunburned. Oh, and they’re immortal. (See Genesis ch. 2)
But Adam and Eve didn’t know right from wrong. In order to know that, they would have to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (See Genesis 2:17; 3:7)
Of course, once they ate from the fruit of the tree (there is no biblical evidence that it was an apple or any other particular fruit), they got kicked out of the garden. They made clothes, had to work for survival, and life in general became a lot more difficult. They were also now able to have children. (Genesis 3:16-19)
Life would have been so much better if they had never eaten the fruit, right? Wrong.
Without the fall of Adam and Eve, none of us would be here. God, of course, would have known this would happen beforehand, being omniscient and all. So we can conclude that it was all part of God’s plan.
Likewise, God requires us to use our agency to choose to follow him and keep his commandments.
It would serve no purpose for churches to forcibly baptize people or to force people to go to church. People forced into doing something just feel resentful and angry. Being baptized and going to church wouldn’t benefit them spiritually.
When it comes to salvation, God and Jesus Christ already did most of the work for us. None of us can truly make up for all our mistakes and wrongdoing. Nevertheless, God expects us to spiritually come unto him.
Jesus Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
God is ready and willing to grant us blessings, but we have to ask. We have to exert faith and look for Him.
Paul was even more explicit when he wrote “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). God will save us, but we have to ask him to do so.
Having the freedom to choose is an amazing blessing, and also an incredible responsibility. Having freedom to make my own choices also means I’m accountable to God for my actions. Yikes! Good thing I have my Savior to help me repent and return to God.