Spiritual Capacity

Spiritual Capacity


As I was leaving a Young
Women camp this summer, a sweet young woman
handed me a note. In it, she asked, “How
can I tell when God is trying to tell me something?” I love her question. Our souls long for a connection
with our heavenly home. We want to feel
needed and useful. But at times we
struggle to distinguish between our own thoughts
and the gentle impressions of the Spirit. Prophets, ancient
and modern, have taught that if something
“invites and entices to do good, it comes from Christ.” President Russell M.
Nelson has extended a simple, powerful invitation:
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead
with you to increase your spiritual capacity
to receive revelation. … Choose to do the
spiritual work required to enjoy the gift
of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the
Spirit more frequently and more clearly.” My desire this morning
is to speak to you from my heart about
four ways to increase your spiritual capacity
to receive revelation. NUMBER ONE: Be intentional
about creating time and space to hear God’s voice. As you use your agency to
carve out time every day to draw close to God’s
voice, especially in the Book of Mormon,
over time His voice will become clearer and
more familiar to you. In contrast, the
distractions and noise that fill the world and
our homes and our lives can make it more difficult
to hear His voice. These distractions can so
occupy our minds and hearts that we leave no room
for the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith
taught that most often God reveals Himself “to individuals
in private, in their chamber; in the wilderness or fields,
and that generally without noise or tumult.” Satan wants to separate
us from God’s voice by keeping us out of
those quiet places. If God speaks in a
still, small voice, you and I need to draw
close to hear Him. Just imagine what would happen
if we were as intent on staying connected with heaven as we are
on staying connected to Wi-Fi! Pick a time and place and listen
for God’s voice every day. And keep the sacred
appointment with exactness, for so very much depends on it! NUMBER TWO: Act without delay. When you receive promptings
and then act with intention, the Lord can use you. The more you act,
the more familiar the voice of the Spirit becomes. You will increasingly recognize
God’s guidance and that He is “willing … to reveal
His mind and will.” If you delay, you might
forget the prompting or miss the chance to
help someone for God. NUMBER THREE: Get your
errand from the Lord. The prayer Heavenly Father
seems eager to answer is our plea to be led to
someone who needs our help. President Eyring has taught
us to seek revelation by asking God who
we can help for Him. “If you ask questions like
that, the Holy Ghost will come and you’ll feel
nudges about things you can do for other people. When you go and do those things,
you’re on the Lord’s errand, and when you’re on
the Lord’s errand, you qualify for the
gift of the Holy Ghost.” You can pray and ask
the Lord for an errand. As you do, He can use
your ordinary skills to accomplish His
extraordinary work. My grandfather, Fritz
Hjalmar Lundgren, immigrated from Sweden
when he was 19 years old. He arrived in America alone,
with a suitcase and six years of formal schooling. Unable to speak any English,
he made his way to Oregon and worked there as
a lumberjack and then later, with my grandmother
and mother, joined the Church. He never presided over a ward,
but as a faithful home teacher, he brought more than
50 different families into Church activity. How did he do that? After Grandpa’s
death, I was going through a box of
his papers, and I came across a letter
written by a man who had come back to church
because of Grandpa’s love. The letter read, “Brother
Fritz’s secret, I believe, is that he is always on an
errand for Heavenly Father.” That letter was from
Brother Wayne Simonis. Grandpa visited him and got to
know each member of the family. In time, Grandpa told them that
they were needed and invited them to attend church. But that Sunday, Brother Simonis
awoke with a dilemma–he had not finished
reroofing his house, and rain was expected that week. He decided that
he’d go to church, shake hands with Grandpa,
and then leave and go home and finish the roof. His family could attend
sacrament meeting without him. His plan was working just
fine until, on the roof, he heard someone
climbing the ladder. In his words: “When
I looked up, … standing at the top of the
ladder was Brother Fritz. He just gave me that big smile. At first, I was
embarrassed and felt like a little kid getting
caught for skipping school. Then … I felt anger. [But Brother Fritz just]
took off his suit coat and hung it on the ladder. As he rolled up the
sleeves of his white shirt, he turned to me and
said, ‘Brother Simonis, do you have another hammer? This work must be very important
or you wouldn’t have left your family, and if it’s that
important, I want to help you.’ As I looked into his eyes, I
saw only kindness and Christlike love. My anger left. … I laid my tools down that Sunday
and followed my good friend down the ladder and
back to the chapel.” Grandpa had obtained his
errand from the Lord, and he knew he was to
seek out lost sheep. Just as the four men who
carried their friend with palsy onto a roof and
then let him down to be healed by
Jesus Christ, so too did Grandpa’s errand
take him to a rooftop. The Lord sends revelation to
those seeking to help others. AND FOUR: Believe and trust. Recently, I read
in the scriptures about another great
missionary who obtained his errand from the Lord. Aaron was teaching the
king of the Lamanites, who wondered why Aaron’s
brother Ammon had not also come to teach him. “And Aaron said unto the king:
Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way.” THE SPIRIT SPOKE TO
MY HEART: each of us has a different
mission to perform, and at times the Spirit may
call us in “another way.” There are many ways to
build the kingdom of God as covenant-making,
covenant-keeping disciples of Jesus Christ. As His faithful
disciple, you can receive personal
inspiration and revelation, consistent with
His commandments, that is tailored to you. You have unique missions
and roles to perform in life and will be given unique
guidance to fulfill them. Nephi, the brother of Jared, and
even Moses all had a large body of water to cross–and
each did it differently. Nephi worked “timbers
of curious workmanship.” The brother of
Jared built barges that were “tight
like unto a dish,” and Moses “walked upon dry
land in the midst of the sea.” They each received personalized
direction, tailored to them, and each trusted and acted. The Lord is mindful
of those who obey and, in the words of Nephi,
“will prepare a way for [us to] accomplish the thing
which he commandeth.” Note that Nephi says,
“a way”–not “the way.” Do we miss or dismiss
personal errands from the Lord because He has prepared “a
way” different than the one we expect? My grandpa was led to an unusual
place–in a suit, on a rooftop, on a Sunday. Trust God to lead you, even
if that way looks different than you expected or is
different from others. Latter-day Saints come
in many shapes and sizes, but “all are alike unto
God”–“black and white, bond and free, male and
female,” single and married, rich and poor, young and old,
lifelong member and recent convert. No matter who you are or
what you’re dealing with, you are invited to
the Lord’s table. As seeking and doing
the will of the Father becomes the cadence
of your daily life, you will, of course, be
led to change and repent. Well, the Church’s new
program for children and youth is built on the foundation of
learning to seek revelation, discovering what the
Lord would have us do, and then acting
on that direction. Each one of us, regardless
of age or circumstance, can strive to seek,
receive, and act. As you follow this eternal
pattern ordained for our day, you will draw nearer to Jesus
Christ–His love, His light, His direction, His peace, His
healing and enabling power. And you will increase
your spiritual capacity to become an everyday
instrument of His hands in accomplishing His great work. In the name of
Jesus Christ, amen.

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