Dedicating quality time through prayer and scripture study will result in "more guidance in your personal life," Elder Jörg Klebingat, a General Authority Seventy and assistant executive director in the Temple Department, told students at BYU-Hawaii on Tuesday, June 5.
Elder Klebingat and his wife, Sister Julia Klebingat, addressed students on overcoming fear with faith and the importance of dedicating time to Heavenly Father.
Speaking first, Sister Klebingat shared a bit of the couple's background. Both joined the Church as teenagers and remain the only members in their families to this day. Even growing up in a predominantly atheist society in Latvia, Sister Klebingat said she still felt there was something more.
"You cannot erase one's divine identity," she said.
The gospel is more than an "empty ritual," Sister Klebingat told students. What's more important is "what we become through the gospel."
For those who struggle with applying certain spiritual habits or gaining a testimony of some gospel principles, Sister Klebingat turned to Matthew 6:21 for an answer.
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," the scripture counsels.
In order to treasure principles, they must be treated as a treasure first, Sister Klebingat said.
"Many struggle with consistent study of the word of God," she said. "Start treating the scriptures as a treasure. Once we do that prayerfully and consistently, it will become a treasure of our heart."
This habit will lead to the gospel becoming the lens through which one sees life, Sister Klebingat said.
"All other aspects [of life] should be seen through the gospel," Sister Klebingat said. "The gospel should be our yardstick for deciding the value for everything in our life, all other worldly pursuits."
Elder Klebingat said it may be easy to "fake your way" through much of Church membership, such as attending seminary and Church without much thought, but there comes a time to learn how to "voluntarily turn your heart over to Heavenly Father."
"It's possible to ... go through a mission without the mission going through us," Elder Klebingat said. "Even more tragic that we can go through the temple without the temple going through us."
Describing his background as not very "well-to-do," Elder Klebingat shared how he and his wife were so poor during their first few years that they couldn't afford to turn on the heater during the winter, instead using blankets brought by the Relief Society to keep warm. During their first year at college, the couple ate out only once — at Subway.
These hard times taught Elder Klebingat a lesson.
"I am a witness that Heavenly Father is aware of you," he said. "As long as you're on the covenant path giving your best effort, nothing will ever go permanently wrong in your life."
Stepping off the path and staying away, however, would result in "nothing going permanently well."
Instead of straddling the fence, Elder Klebingat warned against the danger of trying to "have both Zion and Babylon."
It's easy to give us physical things, which is why the Lord has asked us to give our ultimate commitment, even when it seems that life is going well, he said.
Elder Klebingat cautioned against "writing checks with our mouths that our conduct can't cash."
During prayer, "be deliberate and honest as you approach the Lord" and go before the Father with humility and faith, Elder Klebingat said.
While serving in the German military, Elder Klebingat learned that he could pray at any time of day, anywhere. Prayer is not done as a "favor to the Lord," he said. Instead of praying at the end of the day while tired and ready to fall asleep, he suggested changing the habit to dedicate meaningful time for prayer.
"I invite you to simply contemplate, what part of the day are you offering to Him?" Elder Klebingat said. "Are you giving Heavenly Father breadcrumbs?"
Keeping a journal is also a way of taking time to remember Heavenly Father, Elder Klebingat said.
"The Lord loves it when we take note."
Elder Klebingat also suggested taking more time to truly study the scriptures as a way to strengthen a relationship with Heavenly Father.
"Heavenly Father has given us the answer book for many of our questions," he said.
Just taking even 10 minutes a day and spending a good portion of that time just thinking and pondering what has been read can make a large difference, Elder Klebingat counseled.
"Think. Ask," he said. "Make sure Heavenly Father knows you are consecrating your time to strengthen a relationship so you might receive more guidance in your personal life."
Elder Klebingat reminded students that Nephi wasn't guided by the Lord until he was on his way and out of the "cavity of a rock."
The simple combination of sincere prayer and scripture study is truly powerful, Elder Klebingat said.
"As you pray in ways you haven't prayed before, and you study the scripture in ways you haven't before, you will quickly find out that this emotional connection with your Father will become stronger," he said.
For those going through hard times or struggles, Elder Klebingat reminded that "there's nothing that puts you out of reach of your Father in Heaven."
It's through the hundreds of decisions made each day that Heavenly Father knows where your heart truly lies, he said.
"Are you good for your word?" He asked.
Elder Klebingat closed by telling students that their best effort will not be forgotten and are not in vain.
"I try to give my best every day in a happy way knowing that is quite acceptable to the Father. Just do the best you can, brothers and sisters."