Houston Texas North Stake
After each of us was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, we had priesthood hands placed on our head and we were given the gift of the Holy Ghost. To quote Bruce R. McConkie and President Joseph F. Smith, the gift of the Holy Ghost is "the right, based on faithfulness, to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead. It is the right to receive revelation, guidance, light, and truth from the Spirit. 'The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost,...'
... the actual enjoyment of the gift, the actual receipt of the companionship of the Spirit, is based on personal righteousness; it does not come unless and until the person is worthy to receive it."
Because you are here tonight, I am going to assume that each of you would like that gift to be a regular part of your lives. During the last year, we have heard our priesthood leaders talk about this. At bi-regional conference, Elder Busche asked "How much of yesterday were you under the influence of the Holy Ghost?" We were reminded of that question again in Stake Conference by Elder Burton and President Ellis. President Ellis in his ward conference talks mentioned it again. He said "Pray and study every day to have the spirit in your life...There is power in being led by the spirit."
Just being a "good" person does not guarantee the presence of the Spirit in our lives. There are specific kinds of things that must be done. It takes a conscious effort. It doesn't just happen. Unfortunately, it does not take a conscious effort to do those things which discourage the presence of the Spirit. They come easily to most of us and it's almost always easier not to do the things we should.
What can we do to invite the Spirit into our lives?
I. HAVE FAITH 2 Nephi 27:23 "For behold, I am God; ...and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. Jarom 1:4 "And there are many among us who have many revelations, ... And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith."
II. BE HUMBLE D&C 136:33 "For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite..." D&C 1:28 "And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time."
III. PRAY 2 Nephi 32:8 "... For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." Acknowledge your dependence on our Heavenly Father and "...let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually..." (Alma 34:27)
IV. BE WORTHY OF THE COMPANIONSHIP OF THE SPIRIT
We have talked about having faith, being humble, praying, and being worthy. The next is to
V. STUDY TO KNOW THE TRUTH OF ALL THINGS D&C 88:118 “…seek ye
out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by
faith.” D&C 90:15 “…study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books,
and with languages, tongues, and people.” When we take time to study, we are
better able to recognize falsehood or understand a feeling when something is not
quite right. We cannot expect to be inspired about things with which we are not
familiar. We interpret what we see, read, and hear according to our perspective
and knowledge. The more knowledge we have, the more correct our interpretation
will be. Knowledge combined with divine inspiration will give us the most
correct interpretation. When our study and learning is of the things of God, we
have specific promises. 2 Nephi 32:3 “…feast upon the words of Christ; for
behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” JS
Matthew 1:37 “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived…” When we
study to know the truth, we open ourselves to further revelations and
understandings that come only through the Holy Ghost to righteous seekers of
truth. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said “I sometimes think that one of the best-kept
secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of
revelation…All of us are entitled to the sprit of prophecy and of revelation in
our lives, both for our personal affairs and in our ministry. The prayerful
study and pondering of the holy scriptures will do as much, or more than any
other single thing, to bring that spirit, the sprit of prophecy and spirit of
revelation, into our lives.”
VI. LISTEN TO INSPIRATION THAT COMES AND ACT ON IT. D&C 84:46 "...the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit." Getting a prompting from the Spirit is a lot like getting a phone call. When you make a phone call, 1 of 3 things will happen. The phone will be answered, there will be no answer, or there will be a busy signal. When the Spirit calls, you can answer and listen, you can ignore it and not answer or you can send a busy signal by occupying the line with other thoughts and feelings. Learn to recognize the call from the Spirit and answer the phone. If he gets too many busy signals or no answers, he will stop calling. The message can come in many ways but most often it will come as thoughts to your mind or feelings in your heart (D&C 8:2). Act on them and, when appropriate, write them down. Don't credit spiritual messages to coincidence and don't be so proud as to think it's your idea. Remember that God is in the detail of our lives.
VII. MAKE REPENTANCE A PART OF YOUR LIFE. Alma 26:22 "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed..."
So to invite the Spirit to be a regular part of our lives we must have faith, be humble, pray, be worthy of inspiration, study to know the truth, listen to inspiration given and act, and make repentance a part of our lives.
Don't get discouraged at all there is to do. Remember Mosiah 4:27. "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." Pick an area to work on so that you will be more receptive to the Spirit tomorrow than you were today. Realize that growth and change take time and don't give up. Determine to have the influence of the Spirit in your life.
I am grateful that I have been able to discipline myself to do more of these things so that, over time, I have been able to feel the presence of the Spirit in my life more often. It takes a constant effort and is sometimes a struggle, but it is worth the effort. I have felt the difference between homes that have the Spirit and those that don't and I have felt the difference in my own home.
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