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.

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