Becoming Spiritually Self-Reliant
It is easy to feel helpless, to delay and to stall instead of taking responsibility for ourselves and relying on the gifts God has given us. My talk today is on becoming spiritually self-reliant so that instead of feeling helpless, we can draw of the grace and Spirit of God in our lives.
Elder Jorg Kelbingat gave a talk in General Conference that addresses that point and I would like to share things I learned from the talk in addressing this topic assigned to me to talk on.
The first thing he suggested would make a real difference is to take responsibility for our own spiritual well-being.
· Stop blaming others for your circumstances.
· Stop justifying and making excuses for why you are not obedient to God.
· Accept that you have free will and that you are free to choose eternal life
God knows our circumstances. He knows us perfectly. He also knows what we choose. Be honest about your choices and then choose to strive. Your spiritual confidence will increase when you take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being and when you seek to apply the Atonement of Christ daily.
The second thing he suggested was that we take responsibility for our own physical well-being. Our soul consists of a body and a spirit. If you are out of shape, if you feel uncomfortable in your own body, you can do something about it. I know that as I have begun to exercise and pay attention to my sleep, I have felt better and make progress. Spiritual confidence increases when your spirit is in charge of your body and you are taking responsibility for your physical health.
The third thing that increases spiritual strength is to embrace the idea of voluntary obedience to God as a part of your life. Christ was very straightforward “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If you choose to obey God for the right reason and choose to serve God over the alternatives, you are choosing Christ. Spiritual confidence increases when you are striving to voluntarily obey God and to turn over your imperfections to him.
The fourth thing Elder Kelbingat suggested was to embrace what my mom calls “Alacrity” – to act with cheerfulness and promptness. To become good at repenting quickly and completely. Embrace the atonement of Christ that makes repentance possible and remember how generous Christ is with the gift of forgiveness. Work at the attitude of ongoing, happy, grateful repentance and at making that your lifestyle. Spiritual confidence increases when you use alacrity in repenting of your sins, both small and great.
The fifth thing is the other side of repentance – it is forgiving. The better you get at forgiving others the stronger your spiritual confidence will be. Don’t hold grudges. Realize that others are “children” of God, not “adults” of God. Do not ever think that you are the only person who does not need to obey the commandment to forgive others. Spiritual confidence increases when your heart is free from malice, pride and grudges.
The sixth point is that we need to accept that mortal life in an imperfect world is mortal life in an imperfect world and that there will be surprises, set backs and trials as a part of normal mortal life. Some trials come from God. Some trials come from the mistakes of others. Some trials come from the adversary and some things go wrong because the world is imperfect. Do not take the trials of life as punishment or as pain, but embrace life as an opportunity to overcome. Spiritual confidence increases when you look at trials as something that come into the life of everyone who is doing the right thing.
The final point Elder Kelbingat made was that we need to face our weaknesses, but not be immobilized by them. It is too easy when faced with any difficulty in life to say “I can’t do that.” To think of ourselves as helpless and to be frozen. We do not need to do that. Instead we can remember that the Savior’s Atonement can enfold us and surround us in our lives, giving us strength to overcome and to find joy.
We can take an engineering approach, so to speak, to every trial or difficulty. We can realize we have the tools to overcome, and by using those tools increase our spiritual confidence and our spiritual self-reliance so that we can face and overcome the barriers that confront us instead of being overwhelmed by them.
Christ loves us and desires for us to succeed and he has given us the tools and the grace that we may.
I bear testimony of Jesus Christ, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.