Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Fruits of the Spirit

One of my favorite passages of scriptures is Galatians 5:22-24. In these verses, Paul teaches that when we feel love and joy, and are longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, meek, and temperate we are open to the promptings of the Spirit. When we have the opposite feelings—anger, hate, frustration, meanness, envy, and vanity—we aren’t feeling the Spirit and the Spirit can’t guide us.

King Benjamin taught that “The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). 

Enticing means making ourselves open to the influence of the Spirit.  By following the enticings of the Spirit we leave behind and overcome the behaviors, feelings, and emotions of the natural or fallen human and develop the Christ-like characteristics required of discipleship. 

The Spirit will always lead us to do good. He will never lead us to do evil or bad things. The Lord said, 

“And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; and then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive” (Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14).

Notice that the Spirit will lead us to be humble and just, he will lead us to do good, and he will fill our lives with light.

In 1982, Elder John H. Groberg gave a talk at Brigham Young University entitled “Investing for Eternity” ( ). In this talk, Elder Groberg listed the following characteristics that help us to discern when we have the Spirit with us:
We feel happy and calm.
We feel full of light.
Our mind is clear.
We love the Lord and others.
We feel generous.
Nobody offends us.
We are forgiving and kind.
We feel confident.
We are glad to see others succeed.
We want to make others happy.
We bring out the best and say the best about others.
We serve gladly.
We feel like praying and reading the scriptures.
We have a disposition to keep the Lord's commandments.
We have control of our appetites and emotions.
We feel a deep desire to help others.
We speak and think only good about others.
We feel sorrow when others have problems. 

This list helps me more clearly understand when I'm feeling the presence of the Spirit in my life.  When I don't feel this way I know that I have to change something.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


“Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Waiting on the Road to Damascus," Ensign, May 2011)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Meekness—A Dimension of True Discipleship"

On May 6, 2011 I published a piece on the blog entitled “Meekness—An Ornament of Great Price.” In the piece I quoted from a remarkable address by Neal A. Maxwell titled “Meekness—A Dimension of True Discipleship.” Here is a lengthier quote from this classic talk on the Christ like attribute of meekness:

“The meek are filled with awe and wonder with regard to God and His purposes in the universe. At the same time, the meek are not awestruck by the many frustrations of life; they are more easily mobilized for eternal causes and less easily immobilized by the disappointments of the day.

“Because they make fewer demands of life, the meek are less easily disappointed. They are less concerned with their entitlements....

“When we are truly meek, we are not concerned with being pushed around, but are grateful to be pushed along. When we are truly meek, we do not engage in shoulder-shrugging acceptance but in shoulder-squaring, in order that we might better bear the burdens of life and of our fellow beings.

“Meekness can also help us in coping with the injustices of life—of which there are quite a few....

“Besides, there can be dignity even in silence, as was the case when Jesus meekly stood, unjustly accused, before Pilate. Silence can be an expression of strength. Holding back can be the sign of great personal discipline, especially when everyone else is letting go.

“Furthermore, not only are the meek less easily offended, but they are less likely to give offense to others. In contrast, there are some in life who seem, perpetually, to be waiting to be offended. Their pride covers them like boils which will inevitably be bumped.

“Meekness also cultivates in us a generosity in viewing the mistakes and imperfections of others: ‘Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, … but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.’ (Morm. 9:31.)

“And for those of us who are too concerned about status or being last in line or losing our place, we need to reread those words about how the ‘last shall be first’ and the ‘first shall be last.;’ (Matt. 19:30.) Assertiveness is not automatically bad, of course, but if we fully understand the motives which underlie some of our acts of assertion, we would be embarrassed. Frankly, when others perceive such motivations, they are sometimes embarrassed for us.

“Granted, the meek go on fewer ego trips, but they have far greater adventures. Ego trips, those ‘travel now and pay later’ indulgences, are always detours. The straight and narrow path is, after all, the only path which takes us to new and breathtaking places.

“Meekness means less concern over being taken for granted, and more concern over being taken by the hand. Less concern over revising our own plans for us and more concern about adopting His plans for us is another sure sign of meekness.

“...Meekness does not mean tentativeness. But thoughtfulness. Meekness makes room for others: ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.’ (Philip. 2:3.)

“...Meekness is not display humility; it is the real thing. True meekness is never proud of itself, never conscious of itself.

“Among the meek there is usually more listening and less talking....

“The meek think of more clever things to say than are said. And it’s just as well, for there is so much more cleverness in the world than wisdom, so much more sarcasm than idealism.

“The meek are thus able to avoid the abuse of authority and power—a tendency to which, the Lord declared, ‘almost all’ succumb. Except the meek.

“...Meekness rests on trust and courage....

“Meekness permits us to be confident....

“Meekness will permit us to endure more graciously the cruel caricaturing and misrepresentation that accompanies discipleship....

“Meekness permits us to be prompted as to whether to speak out or, as Jesus once did, be silent. But even when the meek speak up, they do so without speaking down.” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Meekness—A Dimension of True Discipleship,” Ensign, March 1983)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Be Generous

“I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me” (Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Ensign, May 2011, 25).