- Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes“all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.” Brethren, the exciting developments of today are part of that long-foretold period of preparation that will culminate in the glorious Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
He outlines three things that cause us to not be as focused on our responsibilities. He also shares how we can overcome each of these items.
- I suppose there are a variety of reasons why it is easy to become a bit sleepy with regard to building the kingdom of God. Let me mention three major ones. As I do, I invite you to ponder if any might apply. If you see room for improvement, I ask you to consider what could be done to change for the better.
- When we seek self-service over selfless-service, our priorities become centered on our own recognition and pleasure.
- Naturally, we all have a desire for recognition, and there is nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying ourselves. But when seeking the “gain and praise of the world” is a central part of our motivation, we will miss the redemptive and joyful experiences that come when we give generously of ourselves to the work of the Lord.
- Those who wholeheartedly turn their lives over to our Savior and serve God and fellowman discover a richness and fulness to life that the selfish or egotistic will never experience. The unselfish give of themselves. These may be small gifts of charity that have a grand impact for good: a smile, a handshake, a hug, time spent in listening, a soft word of encouragement, or a gesture of caring. All these acts of kindness can change hearts and lives. When we take advantage of the unlimited opportunities to love and serve our fellowmen, including our spouse and family, our capacity to love God and to serve others will greatly increase.
- Addictions often begin subtly. Addictions are thin threads of repeated action that weave themselves into thick bonds of habit. Negative habits have the potential to become consuming addictions.
- It saddens our Heavenly Father to see how willingly some of His noble sons extend their wrists to accept the chains of devastating addictions.
- When we are tempted to do things we should not do, let us listen to the loving warning of trusted family and friends, our beloved prophet, and always the Savior. The best defense against addiction is never to start. But what of those who find themselves in the grip of addiction? Please know, first of all, that there is hope. Seek help from loved ones, Church leaders, and trained counselors. The Church provides addiction recovery help through local Church leaders, the Internet,7 and in some areas, LDS Family Services. Always remember, with the Savior’s help, you can break free from addiction. It may be a long, difficult path, but the Lord will not give up on you. He loves you. Jesus Christ suffered the Atonement to help you change, to free you from the captivity of sin.
- The most important thing is to keep trying—sometimes it takes several attempts before people find success. So don’t give up. Don’t lose faith. Keep your heart close to the Lord, and He will give you the power of deliverance. He will make you free.
- A third obstacle that prevents us from fully engaging in this work is the many competing priorities we face. Some of us are so busy that we feel like a cart pulled by a dozen work animals—each straining in a different direction. A lot of energy is expended, but the cart doesn’t go anywhere. Often we devote our best efforts in pursuit of a hobby, a sport, vocational interests, and community or political issues. All these things may be good and honorable, but are they leaving us time and energy for what should be our highest priorities?
- Even in Church service, it is easy to spend a lot of time just going through the motions without the heart or the substance of discipleship. Brethren, we as priesthood bearers have committed to be a people who love God and our neighbor and who are willing to demonstrate that love through word and deed. That is the essence of who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ.
He concludes with these comments to summarize his talk.
- Don’t allow selfishness! Don’t allow habits that could lead to addiction! Don’t allow competing priorities to lull you into indifference or detachment from blessed discipleship and ennobling priesthood service! There is too much at stake for us as individuals, as families, and as Christ’s Church to give only a halfhearted effort to this sacred work.
- Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an effort of once a week or once a day. It is an effort of once and for all.
I will be spending some time looking at my life and how these three things are active in my life. I need to find ways to putting these things away and focusing on the example of the Savior. If I do, I know that the sweet blessings that will come into my life as I put the Savior first will bring me happiness and help me be a better husband, father, and priesthood bearer.