Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Was that MY voice?!?

To preface today's post I want to write a little bit about who the Holy Ghost is. The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost). He does not have a body but he is one of God's spirit children. He plays many roles in our lives. He comforts, teaches, bares witness of truth, cleanses, warns us of danger, and so much more.

For the sake of simplicity and me actually being able to write this post, we'll use one specific example from my own life about when I felt the Holy Ghost influencing me.

Once upon a time I was out running. I planned out my run so it would take about an hour, but I left a lot later than I had originally planned so it was already dark about half an hour into my run. The trail I was running was mostly lit, but not always. Now I was running in Eagle, Idaho, a tiny little town that's extremely safe. I had never before felt like I was in any danger there. This time however, I was coming up on one particularly dark stretch of trail covered by some trees. Creepy, right? I was running along feeling fine when I suddenly jerked to a stop. I literally could not run any farther. I wasn't out of breath, my legs felt fine, but I could not make myself move forward. I wanted to run my full hour but something inside me was telling me to turn around and run home.

Question of the Day: Was that me or the Holy Ghost?

Now, let's evaluate. From one view point this could have been my body's natural fight-or-flight defense system kicking in, telling me that running in the dark wasn't the safest idea and maybe I shouldn't take my chances. But from another view point I thought something else had to have been guiding me. (Admittedly this is an extreme example, but hey, go big or go home right?)

Ok, I know you all are on the edge of your chairs with your noses an inch away from the computer screen. I'll let the suspense go. I turned around and ran home. Nothing happened and I was completely safe.

But anyway! When I got home I had time to think, "why did I receive that prompting? Was I being silly and scared? Or was there a real reason that I had to turn around?"

This seems to be the question of the dispensation! If you've never questioned whether a thought was your own brain making it up or an actual prompting from the Holy Ghost then I would like to meet you and learn all of your secrets to life and the universe.

"But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny Him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Moroni 7: 13, 15-17

Ok, Moroni, enough with the run on sentences. Let's break this down.

How To Tell if That Thought Was You or The Holy Ghost:
(According to Moroni)

1. Will the results of the thought/action be good?
2. Will the thought result in service?
3. Is the thought inviting you to make the right choice?
4. Will the thought lead to any kind of happiness?
5. Does the thought lead you to Christ?
6. Does the thought lead away from Satan or anything he supports?
7. Does the thought feel good?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, most likely, that thought was from the spirit!

Bottom line: If the thought was positive, it was from God. If the thought was negative, it was probably Satan. If the thought was about how you could really go for some ice cream right now, it was probably from me.

So, using my example, the thought I had to turn around and run home was probably the Spirit. I'll never know if there was actually any danger waiting around the dark corner, but I'm happier knowing that I was 100% sure of my safety by turning around and running home.

"The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither 'loud' nor 'harsh.' It is 'not a voice of thunder, neither...voice of a great tumultuous noise.' but rather, 'a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,' and it can 'pierce even to the very soul' and 'cause [the heart] to burn.' Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a 'still small voice.' 
"The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. (No wonder that the Word of Wisdom was revealed to us, for how could the drunkard or the addict feel such a voice?) 
"Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, 'Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.'"
President Boyd K. Packer

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