Chapter 12: “Seek the Spirit in All You Do”

This can be an interesting lesson. It comes from the First Presidency Message in April 1988 Ensign by ETB.  There are some wonderful stories in this message and some interesting ideas that I will use in this lesson.

The videos on the churches website are useful, as always, for preparing for the lesson, however, as usual, I will not be using them in the lesson itself, although I could very well relate this story regarding the first video, “Continuing Revelation” by President Eyring (it’s just a minute and a half clip).  Last week, I took a test for something I am working towards, and did quite well on the logic portion of the test.  Feeling quite proud of myself (and honestly a bit surprised at the results), I may have engaged in a little bit of bragging.  I subscribe to the Daily Message from the Church, and just a little while after receiving my score, I received the churches email with this message:  “Logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God”  – Henry B. Eyring,  I thought, what perfect timing, and laughed a little bit as the Lord’s very direct approach.  Any guesses as to what quote opens the video for this weeks lesson?  I truly can say Lord, I got the message!

I try not to deviate much from the lessons, however, this week, I will try to direct the discussion towards one word in the title, “All”.  I will try to keep the discussion centered around how we can both seek and receive the Spirit in things we do in our every day life where we might not always think the Spirit is all that involved with (i.e. hobbies, work, even home maintenance, etc).  In the course of reading the scriptures, or performing our church callings, the Spirit is often easy to recognize and presents itself rather openly, so I am hoping to lead the discussion on how seeking the Spirit in other aspects of our lives, will help us recognize that the Holy Ghost is truly a “constant” companion and that there are different ways and reasons to seek the Spirit, no matter what we are doing (as long as it is in harmony with the Gospel)

With this as my Objective, I will open by asking the quorum some of the things they do in the course of a week.  I expect work, family time, hobbies, exercise, and various forms of relaxation.  These answers will be used in the questions I ask throughout the lesson.

From the Life of Ezra Taft Benson

Since I know, asking the HP what they like to do will not be a quick process, I will try to keep this section short by paraphrasing the two stories in this section, Elder Hales relating the calling of a stake president, and ETB’s comments to the Missionary Presidents in training.

If there seems to be time (a short opening exercise could happen), I’d like to squeeze the story from the Ensign article in this part of the lesson.  The story of Bishop Wells as told by David O’McKay and Harold B. Lee.  I will paraphrase the story but finish with the actual quote at the end:

President McKay and President Lee used this experience to teach that we must always be responsive to the whisperings of the Spirit. These promptings most often come when we are not under the pressure of appointments and when we are not caught up in the worries of day-to-day life.

1 – We should strive for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost all the days of our lives.

Before I get into the text of the lesson, I will lead this section off by asking what is the difference between asking for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and striving for the same?  (Strive means to make a great effort)

I will follow this question by asking, Why should we strive for the constant companionship?

After this discussion, I will have this read from the manual:

Having the Holy Ghost brings forth certain fruits.

The Apostle Paul said that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.” (Gal. 5:22–23.)

I will very quickly paraphrase the story from the Ensign article about Bishop Wells, as told by President McKay and President Harold B. Lee, and finish with the quote from the lesson:

These promptings most often come when we are not under the pressure of appointments and when we are not caught up in the worries of day-to-day life.

I will have the last 4 paragraphs from the manual read at this point:

This latter-day work is spiritual. It takes spirituality to comprehend it, to love it, and to discern it. Therefore seek the Spirit in all you do. Keep it with you continually. That is our challenge.

We live in a very wicked world. We are surrounded with propaganda that evil is good and good is evil. False teachings abound that affect us. Almost everything that is wholesome, good, pure, uplifting, and strengthening is being challenged as never before.

One reason we are on this earth is to discern between truth and error. This discernment comes by the Holy Ghost, not just our intellectual faculties.

When we earnestly and honestly seek for the truth, this beautiful promise finds fulfillment: “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:26.)

2 -If we are humble and sensitive, the Lord will prompt us through our feelings.

(I expect a bulk of my lesson to be in this section)

Pray to Heavenly Father to bless you with His Spirit at all times. We often call the Spirit the Holy Ghost. … The Holy Ghost helps you to choose the right. The Holy Ghost will protect you from evil. He whispers to you in a still, small voice to do right. When you do good, you feel good, and that is the Holy Ghost speaking to you. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful companion. He is always there to help you.11

Ponder matters that you do not understand. As the Lord commanded Oliver Cowdery: “Study it out in your mind; then … ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:8,)

Wait a minute, I thought the Holy Ghost spoke with a still small voice, what is this about feelings?

I will discuss how we feel good after we do the things we are supposed to do, Family Home Evening, Home Teaching, etc, how do we tell the difference between the good feeling after we exercise?  (This is almost a trick question, I will make the point that if our bodies are Temples, wouldn’t the Holy Ghost respond favorably to our efforts to improve?)  When we feel good after a date with our wives, isn’t this confirmation from the Holy Ghost that we should be working on having a happy relationship with our eternal companions?  (I will use other examples depending on what the responses were to the opening question).  This, I believe, is what ETB meant when he stressed, in ALL that we do.

We hear the words of the Lord most often by a feeling. If we are humble and sensitive, the Lord will prompt us through our feelings. That is why spiritual promptings move us on occasion to great joy, sometimes to tears. Many times my emotions have been made tender and my feelings very sensitive when touched by the Spirit.

The Holy Ghost causes our feelings to be more tender. We feel more charitable and compassionate with each other. We are more calm in our relationships. We have a greater capacity to love each other. People want to be around us because our very countenances radiate the influence of the Spirit. We are more godly in our character. As a result, we become increasingly more sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and thus able to comprehend spiritual things more clearly.

I will review this last paragraph in this section again, asking how we’d be perceived in our professions if we radiated the influence of the Spirit?

Time permitting, I’d like to review some of these “Feelings” that can be come from the Holy Ghost.  We are well familiar with the feeling of comfort, of peace, but he can communicate through many other different feelings. Hope, dread, warmth, emptiness, peace, joy, alarm, understanding.   I will ask what others the class can come up with in order to better listen for these feelings.

The next 3 sections review how we can obtain the Spirit. Prayer and Fasting, Scripture Reading, and Obedience.

3 – We obtain the Spirit through sincere prayer and fasting.

How do we obtain the Spirit? “By the prayer of faith,” says the Lord [D&C 42:14]. Therefore, we must pray with sincerity and real intent. We must pray for increased faith and pray for the Spirit to accompany our teaching. We should ask the Lord for forgiveness.

I will quickly go over the words of Eno’s as to how to pray:

Enos testified: “I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.” He clarified that wrestle with God. Note the fervor in his petition:

“My soul hungered.”

“I kneeled down before my Maker.”

“I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul.”

“All day long did I cry unto him.”

Then Enos testified, “There came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. … Wherefore, my guilt was swept away.” When he inquired of the Lord how this had been accomplished, the Lord answered him: “Because of thy faith in Christ … thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Enos 1:2, 4–8; italics added.)

Not every prayer will have the same result that Eno’s had, but we can pray with the same emotions, that is, our souls should hunger for the Spirit, we should cry to the Lord in mighty prayer regularly, not merely praying with a quick, thanks for everything please bless me, sort of prayers.

4 – Daily scripture study, including meditation on passages of scripture, invites the Spirit.

Search the scriptures diligently in personal study every day. Daily scripture study invites the Spirit.

Take time to meditate. Meditation on a passage of scripture—James 1:5—led a young boy into a grove of trees to commune with his Heavenly Father. That is what opened the heavens in this dispensation.

John received the revelation regarding the 3 Degrees of Glory while meditating, Joseph F. Smith reveived his vision on the Redemption of the Dead while meditating.  Do we take the time to seriously think about the scriptures we read?

The following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball illustrates how we may develop more spirituality in our lives:

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.” (“What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)

This is not something I had thought much about, but what a powerful idea, that as we immerse ourselves into the Scriptures, our ability to Love those around us increase.

The more familiar you are with the scriptures, the closer you become to the mind and will of the Lord and the closer you become as husband and wife and children. You will find that by reading the scriptures the truths of eternity will rest on your minds.

5 – The Holy Ghost will abide with us as we honor, respect, and obey God’s laws.

We have been taught that the Spirit will not dwell in unclean tabernacles [see Helaman 4:24]. Therefore, one of our first priorities is to make sure our own personal lives are in order.

Let me talk about obedience. You’re learning now to keep all the commandments of the Lord. As you do so, you will have His Spirit to be with you. You’ll feel good about yourselves. You can’t do wrong and feel right. It’s impossible!20

The temporal promise for obedience [to the Word of Wisdom] is: They “shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; … [they] shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” (D&C 89:18, 20.)

I have always felt, however, that the greater blessing of obedience to the Word of Wisdom and all other commandments is spiritual.

Listen to the spiritual promise: “All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, … shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” (D&C 89:18, 19; italics added.)

It is interesting to me, how many people read to learn more, watch documentaries, attend seminars to increase their understanding, yet completely ignore this promise.  As we are obedient, and invite the Spirit with us constantly, we can find great treasure of Knowledge.  In my opinion, this promise is very under appreciated in the church.

I do not believe that a member of the Church can have an active, vibrant testimony of the gospel without keeping the commandments. A testimony is to have current inspiration to know the work is true, not something we receive only once. The Holy Ghost abides with those who honor, respect, and obey God’s laws. And it is that Spirit which gives inspiration to the individual. Humbly I testify to the reality of this promise.

Other References:

Most Recent Conference – There were 5 talks about the Holy Ghost in the last conference.  President Eyring’s talk on Priesthood and Personal Prayer is a fantastic companion to this lesson.  I particularly liked the section on the difference in feelings.

For a much more in-depth look at this lesson, see the Prophets, Seers, and Revelators blog.


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