It's worth our efforts

What's wrong with this "picture"?

A priests quorum adviser teaches a fine Sunday lesson on morality, but thinks nothing of telling an off-color joke to colleagues on Monday.- An elders quorum instructor bears testimony to the quorum about parents' sacred obligation to nurture righteousness among family members. On Monday nights, however, he prefers TV football to family home evening.

A mother - happy that, though approaching 40, she and her 15 year-old daughter can wear the same clothes - buys a dress that doesn't exemplify the standards of modesty her daughter has heretofore been taught.

A high priests group leader counsels a group member on the importance of one-on-one ministering in the lives of the less-active, but was too busy to catch that last home teaching family this month.

What's wrong here, of course, is obvious. To some greater or lesser degree these individuals were hypocrites.

Daily living presents us with unlimited opportunities to live the gospel and apply the teachings of the Savior. Unfortunately, however, we sometimes get caught in the "the gospel doesn't apply to this" trap. Perhaps we think that "church" is a "Sunday thing" and that gospel teachings don't always work in a daily secular setting.

The Savior, of course, taught otherwise.

". . .Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

"And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

"And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

"But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

"And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. "And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. "And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 4:3-9) In explaining this parable to His disciples, the Savior taught that many who receive the word eventually lose it - because of affliction or persecution, or because the world's treasures seem more appealing and inviting.

But to make the Lord's word a consistent part of our daily secular lives, we must hear and receive the word.

But how do we hear and receive? We of course vigilantly need to keep God's commandments. But, in addition, these suggestions might help.

Make a specific, conscious effort to seek after the things of God. A passive hope that we will be influenced will not do.

In the Joseph Smith translation of Mark 4:25, the Savior promises to give to those who receive, "but he that continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." (JST Mark 4:20.)

That connotes a conscious effort on our part to seek out, to go after, and to make specific efforts to obtain the word of God. We can't just sit back and hope the word will come.

Seek the Spirit in all we do. The promise of constant companionship from the Holy Ghost, given Church members at their confirmation, isn't a vague or nebulous notion.

Rather that blessing is a literal promise that can have a daily effect in our lives. Alma taught that having the influence of the Spirit shows in our countenances and mightily changes our hearts. (Alma 5:14, 19.)

Be willing to submit to the Lord's will.

As taught by King Benjamin, this idea dovetails perfectly with seeking the Spirit. The way to put off the natural man, King Benjamin taught, was to yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. And that is accomplished by being "willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit. . . ." (See Mosiah 3:19.)

No better example exists - with no greater results for mankind - than the Savior's complete willingness to submit, as He suffered for our sins in Gethsemane, to the Father

". . .nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." (Mark 14:16.)

Though very familiar, the significance of this statement cannot be overstated. Nor can its application in our lives be overlooked.

If we have the faith to do these things - faith even unto sanctification, the Lord promises to unfold "all my revelations. . .and all things that in them are" (Ether 4:7) - certainly a promise worth our diligent efforts.

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