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Inviting the Spirit Into Our Lives
 

 

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Houston Texas North Stake
Relief Society Fireside
August 20, 1995
Cheryl Driggs

    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
1 Corinthians 2:14 "...the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God..." Mosiah 3:19 "For the natural man is an enemy to God, ...unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man..." We also know that the Spirit will not dwell in unholy temples (Mosiah 2:37) I think we can equate "natural" and "unholy" with "worldly." So we need to be less worldly and more holy. James 4:4 "...whosoever... will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." What are some of the things we can do to be less worldly and more holy?
    1. Take care of your physical body. Obey the Word of Wisdom not only in what it tells us to avoid but in what it tells us to do. Get adequate sleep and exercise. A body that is unhealthy is not as receptive to the Spirit.
    2. Take care of your physical surroundings. A clean, orderly environment is more conducive to the Spirit. A house of order is a house of God (D&C 88:119). D&C 90:18 "Set in order your houses; keep slothfulness and uncleanness far from you." Also, think about the noise level in your home. Is the volume of the TV or stereo so loud that voices must be raised? Do you constantly engage in boisterous activity? 1 Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace,..." A still small voice which whispers cannot be heard over a noisy din. (D&C 85:6) Take time for some quiet in your life. Also consider the amount of light in your home. D&C 50:23 24 "And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light;..." 1 Thessalonians 5:5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
    3. Control what goes into your mind by controlling what movies and TV you watch, what music you listen to and what you read. We have been counseled to avoid R rated movies. If you feel that a PG 13 or PG movie will offend you, don't feel obligated to go or to stay if you are already there. Don't be afraid to turn off the TV or throw away or return a book or CD or video if you mistakenly purchased it. Even a small part can detract from the good and it's not worth the sacrifice of the Spirit to partake of the rest. That which offends is not just sexual. It can be violence, language, or abuse, also.
    4. Ephesians 4:30 31 "...grieve not the holy Spirit of God,...Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you,..." In other words, avoid angry words and a negative, complaining attitude.
    5. Avoid contention. Avoid contentious situations and do not contend with others or things. What good is accomplished by yelling at a machine? 3 Nephi 11:29 "For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Mosiah 4:14 "And ye will not suffer your children that they fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil..." How is that done? One way is to follow the words of President Marion G. Romney. He said "I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity the pure love of Christ will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness." (April 1960 General Conference quoted by Ezra Taft Benson April 1986 Conference) I have a personal testimony of that promise. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon with your family daily, I challenge you to begin. The change will not be immediate, but I promise that obedience to that counsel will bring more peace to your home.
    6. Obey. Mosiah 2:36 "And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, (meaning the commandments) if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom's paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved " Acts 5:32 Peter said "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
    7. Attend the temple. Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone at the dedication of the Seattle Temple said "As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. There are hosts of unseen sentinels watching over and guarding our temples. Angels attend every door. As it was in the days of Elisha so it will be for us, "Those that be with us are more than they that be against us."
"Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a period of time where even the elect will lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure within these walls. The Saints will come here not only to do vicarious work, but to find a haven of peace."
    President Ellis has counseled us to go to the temple to be enlightened, to know the will of the Lord in our lives, to learn better what we are to know, and to feel the Lord's power. It is a place where we can go for answers.

    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.”
    "However talented men may be in administrative matters; however eloquent they may be in expressing their views; however learned they may be in worldly things they will be denied the sweet whisperings of the Spirit that might have been theirs unless they pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures." (The Lord's Way, by Dallin Oaks pp. 35-36)

    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.

Testimony

 

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Copyright © 2004 - 2013 Cheryl Driggs
Last modified: 07/15/2013