The title of this post is definitely rhetorical – I’ve felt both the positive and the negative affects of studying (or the lack thereof) the doctrines of the Gospel found in the scriptures – both modern and ancient.
As I was browsing through the recent conference talks, the title by Elder Richard G. Scott caught my attention tonight:
I don’t think the sub-title of the article is coincidental either:
A consistent, righteous life produces an inner power and strength that can be permanently resistant to the eroding influence of sin and transgression. (emphasis added)
I keep telling myself that this is NOT rocket science. The Gospel is NOT overly complex and too hard to handle. It’s actually pretty simple and straight forward: “IF, THEN…”
If I do what’s right I have no need to fear.
If I love Him, then keep His commandments.
The Lord is bound if I do what He says, but if I don’t, I have no promise.
If I hold to the rod of iron, the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary will have no power over me.
Consistency is a word that Jason and I talk about all the time. It reminds me of when Alma is talking to his boys and says, on numerous occasions, “Oh remember, remember…”
To know something is true, to know what I need to do, to know that God exists and loves me – none of this is really enough. It’s all about DOING the will of the Father and His Son. It’s about remembering His Son, and retaining in remembrance.
…recognize that when the challenges intended to be growth opportunities come, they will find ways, as prompted by the Holy Ghost, to overcome them in ways that are productive and character building.
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed.
All of this is good, but I really like that last statement – “…trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed.” Many times I won’t get confirmation of something I believe in until “after the trial of my faith”.
What are some of the empowering principles upon which faith is based?
- Trust in God and in His willingness to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.
- Obedience to His commandments and a life that demonstrates that He can trust you.
- Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit.
- Courageous implementation of that prompting.
- Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and when answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.
“Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6). Thus, every time you try your faith—that is, act in worthiness on an impression—you will receive the confirming evidence of the Spirit. As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions you would not obtain otherwise. With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.
That’s really applicable council to me at this very point in my life. It reminds me so much of my temple experience (as I was reading it I thought to myself, “I should write up that experience and submit it to the Ensign. It’s a real example of how the temple is a place to go to find answer to ALL of life’s questions, not just the spiritual decisions in one’s life.”)
I have felt good about the place that I’m at right now in my life, although there is cause for concern and at times doubts in my own abilities. “But I know in whom I have trusted.”
Here are some opportunities I need to seriously pursue:
- the Author Training with CF
- mapping out what I could do for authors on a one on one basis
- a follow up call with President Walker
- the Red Cliffs lead
- the two recent leads from Ryan
- the former leads from Ryan
- referrals from AD/AA
- referrals from CF
Things I need to get FINALIZED ASAP:
- the DA site
- the FSM site (payment due)
- the ST site (monthly payment due)
- the Dean site (2nd payment due)
- the AD updates (monthly payment + hosting due)
- the AA site (payment due + monthly payment + hosting due)
- the CF blog (theme integration + weekly payment due)
An axiom we all understand is that you get what you pay for. That is true for spiritual matters as well. You get what you pay for in obedience, in faith in Jesus Christ, in diligent application of the truths you learn. What you get is the molding of character, the growth in capacity, and the successful completion of your mortal purpose to be proven and to have joy.
Amen to that! I will “reap what I sow”.
You become what you do and what you think about. Lack of character leads one under pressure to satisfy appetite or seek personal gain. You cannot successfully bolster a weak character with the cloak of pretense.
In early life I found that I could learn gospel teachings intellectually and, through the power of reason and analysis, recognize that they were of significant value. But their enormous power and ability to stretch me beyond the limits of my imagination and capacity did not become reality until patient, consistent practice allowed the Holy Spirit to distill and expand their meaning in my heart. I found that while I was sincerely serving others, God forged my personal character. He engendered a growing capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit. The genius of the gospel plan is that by doing those things the Lord counsels us to do, we are given every understanding and every capacity necessary to provide peace and rich fulfillment in this life.
Becky and I were talking recently about how important it is to help our kids development their OWN testimonies early in life. Piggy-backing off our testimonies in the Utah culture will not cut it. There are too many “church goers” who do their own thing on Friday and Saturday nights. If our kids don’t know WHY they are going to Church, WHY pornography is a serious plague, or WHY the Word of Wisdom is essential to maintaining our agency, it will be too easy to let down their superficial guard of a borrowed testimony and give in to temptation, especially if “all their LDS friends are doing it too”.
As we talked about testimony together, one of the questions that came to my mind was this:
How do I help my kids develop their own testimony early in life?
What’s really interesting is, as I read on in this talk, I feel the answers were laid right in my lap:
A testimony is fortified by spiritual impressions that confirm the validity of a teaching, of a righteous act.
…a testimony is not emotion. It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions. These choices are made with trusting faith in things that are believed and, at least initially, are not seen. A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance. It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future will be secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path. A testimony grows from understanding truth distilled from prayer and the pondering of scriptural doctrine. It is nurtured by living those truths with faith anchored in the secure confidence that the promised results will be obtained. (emphasis added)
Even though it’s really late, I’m grateful that I made time to study this evening.
I love the Gospel.
I have developed my own testimony.
I know that God is there and that He does hear and answer my prayers.
I know that He’s waiting to give me blessings as I earn them.
I know I can be better in so many ways.
I love my family: Becky and the kids and my parents and in-laws.
I know family is a core part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that Satan’s main goal is to destroy families.
I know that the temple is a place to go to receive answers and inspiration.
I know that diligent service is one of the best ways to show my willingness to do God’s will.