Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Once when a reporter asked Joseph Smith what was the biggest difference between our church and the other churches, he said that it was the gift of the Holy Ghost.  We have it, and they don't.  I sometimes think that we don't realize how important this gift is, that we are supposed to receive when we are confirmed a member of the Church.  Of course we've all heard that it is up to us to receive it by how we live, but let's put this in another light.  If you were required to walk through a mine field and asked if you would like to use a mine detector, how would you respond?  If you had to drive in the mountains through the night and asked if you would like your headlights, how would you respond?  I'm sure you could go on with other examples.

I know how I felt when I was first in the legislature.  I felt like I was walking through a swamp full of bogs, crocodiles, and quicksand that were hidden.  If I said or did something a little wrong, not knowingly, I could be trapped, caught, sucked under, or eaten.  At that time I prayed harder than I had before, and I worked harder than I had before to study scriptures, pray, and do what I needed to, in order to be able to be guided through it.

That threat seemed imminent and real, as would my previous examples.  When nothing seems really "big" in our lives, or our lives seems dull, we may think it doesn't matter.  We may get lazy or just busy and not pay attention to having our radar working.  Those are dangerous times, just like when the soldiers got tired of nothing happening and got careless and then the enemy came.  Choices about how we spend our time, words we say, recreation, training, and professional direction have big consequences, and the wrong choices can seem to be the right ones frequently too.

We need to stay vigilant with the nourishing of our spirits, feeding them and exercising them.  I look back on seemingly little decisions, choices, paths that I took, that just seemed like one of many that would lead to the same place, and found out later that it had a big impact on the course and destination of my life.  Of course we should not become paralyzed with every decision and end up doing nothing, because we are afraid that the wrong decision will ruin our life.  IF we are trying to nourish our spirits, get closer to Father in Heaven - come to really know Him, if we are serving and repenting - instead of thinking we don't need to, the Holy Ghost will guide us away from holes, bogs, quicksand, mines, cliffs in life and onto paths that are firm, that lead upward.

The Savior actually has the power and the knowledge and the concern for you personally to make you like Him over time, if you only will follow Him, obey Him, and seek to be like Him.  That means remembering Him, regularly, daily, hourly as we learn to be like Him.  Of course that is what we truly want, because He is so much happier and able to do good than we are.  Of course that is what we should want!

We ought to think of that during the sacrament as well as about His suffering, because the prayer says that we should remember Him, so that we may have His spirit to be with us.  That sets us apart from the world.  That way we don't end up driving through the night (this world is covered with darkness now) without headlights or walking through a mine field without a detector.

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