Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Serve with the Spirit

(find the talk here)

This is another talk from the Priesthood session of General Conference. President Henry B. Eyring spoke of serving with the spirit in Priesthood responsibilities and callings, but I think that it can apply to anyone serving.

President Eyring talks about how the power of the Priesthood is magnified by the Holy Ghost. His message, in short, is “let us do whatever is required to qualify for the Holy Ghost as our companion, and then let us go forward fearlessly so that we will be given the powers to do whatever the Lord calls us to do.” I think that this message is applicable to all Saints everywhere who would serve. Women as well as men. Young and old, anyone who would serve would do best to strive to have the Holy Ghost to magnify their work.

So how do we have the Holy Ghost with us? President Eyring reminds us that “the companionship of the Holy Ghost, the manifestations of it in our life and service, requires us to put our lives in order to qualify.” He then describes what it means to put our lives “in order.” He mentions keeping the commandments, trying to live a blameless life, and then, of course, because we are not perfect, having faith in Jesus Christ to repent when we have made mistakes so that we can be made new through the atonement of our Savior. “Just as we must be cleansed of sin to have the Spirit with us, we must be humble enough before God to recognize our need for it.” The Savior’s disciples in the Americas recognized their need for the Spirit. They prayed “for that which they most desired…” which was “… that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them.” President Eyring states, “Humble prayer to our Heavenly Father, in deep faith in Jesus Christ, is essential to qualify us for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.”

I know that as a mother my need for the companionship of the Holy Ghost is very real. I know that as I pray with faith – with “deep faith in Jesus Christ” – I can qualify for that gift. The “deep faith” is probably the part I struggle with the most. I feel like I have faith, but I have often wondered if I have enough faith to move mountains. Often I wonder what that even means. Obviously I don’t need to move literal mountains – but there are mountains in my own life that I need to move.

President Eyring mentions that “Our humility and our faith that invite spiritual gifts are increased by our reading, studying, and pondering the scriptures.” Well, this may be one of the reasons my faith is somewhat lacking. I read the scriptures each night (the Book of Mormon, particularly) – but that is just it! I read the scriptures each night. I study the scriptures in the morning when I record my thoughts on this blog, but I feel like that isn’t enough, and I don’t do it consistently. “We read words and we may get ideas. We study and we may discover patterns and connections in scripture. But when we ponder, we invite revelation by the Spirit.” For President Eyring, “Pondering … is the thinking and the praying I do after reading and studying the scriptures carefully.”

Because I like to “think out loud,” writing plays an important role in my pondering. But sometimes I find myself pondering the meaning of scriptures and words of the prophets in my heart, and receiving revelation. And then sometimes, the revelation comes later, after I have read, studied, and pondered. Maybe later in the day, something will come to me that is sparked by the scripture and words of the prophets that I have been studying.

In the Relief Society, one of our most important duties is to bring relief. President Eyring promises to priesthood holders (but I am sure it extends to the sisters) “You will find yourself more able to recognize pain and worry in the faces of people. Names or the faces of people … will come into your mind with the impression that they are in need.”

In closing, President Eyring quotes President George Q. Cannon who said, “When we are filled with the Spirit of God we are filled with joy, with peace, and with happiness, no matter what our circumstances may be; for it is a spirit of cheerfulness and of happiness.” I think that is probably a good way to measure how fully we are feeling the Spirit. When we have the companionship of the Spirit we should have joy, peace, and happiness – no matter what our circumstances may be.

I know that is is vital for us to serve with the Holy Spirit, no matter what our calling – whether as visiting teachers, priesthood bearers, simply as mothers, or wives, or daughters, or members of Christ’s Church.

What do you do to be worthy of the Holy Spirit? How do you make sure you are qualifying for it’s companionship on a daily basis? Has the Holy Spirit magnified your service? Do you feel the joy, peace, and happiness that accompanies the Holy Spirit?

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