(find the talk here)
I have actually listened to this particular talk maybe three or four times in the last several days. I listened to it really for the first time on Sunday, and listened to it twice on the way to pick up a friend from the airport.
One of the principles of the gospel that has always been concerning to me is that of the law of consecration. It seems like a simple thing, but in reality, I find it very complex and at times confusing.
I imagine that part of the confusion comes from not really knowing God’s will. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (here)
Elder D. Todd Christofferson says “True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives – that is, our time and choices – to God’s purposes.” So, first we have to actually understand God’s purposes, or His will, and then we have to do His will – dedicating our time and choices to His will.
“Consecration therefore means repentance. Stubbornness, rebellion, and rationalization must be abandoned, and their place submission, a desire for correction, and acceptance of all that the Lord may require.” It is hard for me to realize when I am being stubborn, rebellious, and rationalizing. Sometimes I just feel like I am being stalwart and firm in the faith. The only thing that can help me know the difference is the Holy Ghost – but sometimes when I am being stubborn, it’s hard for me to admit that the Holy Ghost might be telling me I am wrong.
The other appealing part of this talk for me was how Elder Christofferson spoke about work. “God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion.” I have been struggling to understand the meaning of constant work in my life –especially with two small children at home. “A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires.” It’s good to know that the menial tasks of changing diapers and cleaning up mess after mess after mess are still parts of a consecrated life – sometimes I feel like I can’t consecrate my life to the Lord, because I’m too busy doing the menial things that “sustain” us. But doing those things right now is what a consecrated life means for me.
“Just as honest toil gives rest its sweetness, wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work.” To be honest, I am a harder worker than I am a “leisurer” – if that makes any sense. It is hard for me to relax and enjoy “wholesome recreation.” Probably because “much of what passes for entertainment today is coarse, degrading, violent, mind-numbing, and time wasting.” I think I am so afraid of choosing wrong forms of recreation that I just keep “working.” I do enjoy working, and some of it doubles as recreation for me, but there are times, I think, when we need to just sit down, put up our feet, and enjoy something that is pure entertainment – something made mostly to make us laugh or smile.
The last thought I want to share from Elder Christofferson’s talk is this: “Those who quietly and thoughtfully go about doing good offer a model of consecration.” Then he speaks of President Monson, “He has cultivated a listening ear that can discern even the faintest whisper of the Spirit signaling the need of someone he can reach and help.”
How do you consecrate your life to the Lord? How do you understand and come to know the will of the Lord? How do you make sure that you are making wholesome choices in your recreation? Are you cultivating a listening ear for the Spirit’s whisper?