The Spirit as a Friend
If you have your scriptures with you, please open with me to John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
We are born of the flesh, and therefore we are flesh. We must nurture our body, feed it, protect it, and bandage it when it is damaged. John also tells us that we are born of the Spirit, so therefore we are spirit. We must nurture our spirit as well, do all we can to protect it from harm and evil, and we must help it to heal when it has been damaged.
The Spirit is more than just a still small voice, more than just a comforter; He is also our friend. He is there to guide us, help us all along the way. He is our friend, and we must treat Him as such. If we are not living at peace with the spirit, then how can we expect Him to help us?
Picture your best friend. Now, I hope you donít really treat them like this, but imagine you call him names, gossip about him, and ignore him. Do you think he is going to be willing to help you and be your best friend now?
And so it is with the Spirit. Sin wages a war against the Spirit. As Isaiah tells us, "there is no peace..unto the wicked" (48:22). When we do evil, it drives away the Spirit and the peace that the Spirit brings goes with. How can we live at peace with the Spirit if we offend Him by our wickedness?
Now, not only can we commit sins to offend the Spirit and drive Him away, but we also do it by omission. Do any of you have a friend that loves to be ignored? While he talks, you ignore him and he doesnít mind? I donít think so. He would get offended and wouldnít be your friend for very long. The same goes with the Spirit. When He whispers into our hearts, if we ignore His promptings, Heís probably not going to be too willing to keep talking to us until we are ready to listen.
We must heed His council! Listen to Him! Keep our spirits and bodies clean so that He has a safe place to dwell.
Open with me to Galatians 5:22-23. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith / Meekness, temperance." What wonderful gifts weíre promised, if we will remain good friends with the Spirit. Your enemies are not likely to show up on your doorstep with great gifts, and the Spirit will not be so willing to offer us gifts if He is our enemy.
On a mission, you donít convince people to join the church. You convert them to the truth by the Spirit. And "teaching by the Spirit requires first that we keep the commandments and be clean before God so His spirit can dwell in our personal temples" (Dallin H. Oaks).
If we donít have peace in our lives, how are we to live with the Spirit? If our minds are clouded, if we are never available, how is the Spirit going to work in us? The Spirit whispers, and therefore we must be living in peace in order to hear.
How do you think Joseph Smithís experience would have been if he just stayed inside? His brothers running around, his sisters screaming at each other, his dad chopping wood outside the window, and he praying, trying to find which church is true. If Joseph did that, there probably would not have been a first vision in the spring of 1820, and we might not be here today. But Joseph was more in tune with the Spirit. He took the time to enter the woods, find a calm and quiet place where he could offer up his heart.
He found peace, and found the Lord. We must find that peace in our lives, be living with the Spirit so that we can find the Lord.
The Lord calls us to teach, to be missionaries. In D & C 50:13 it asks, "unto what were ye ordained?" And verse 14 answers, "To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth." We teach by the Spirit, and must be prepared to accept the Spirit.
Elder Boyd K. Packer tells us: "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..if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening."
We must seek the Spirit. The sons of Mosiah desired to know the word of God and to have His spirit. The scriptures tell us that only after they had given themselves to much prayer, fasting and studying, only then did they receive the spirit of prophecy and revelation (see Alma 17:2-3). We must make an effort to develop a friendship with the Spirit first, and then the rewards and blessings will come.
In closing, Iíd like to read the words of a hymn, which I feel sum up most of what Iíve tried to say here today.
Hymn #143: Let the Holy Spirit Guide
1. Let the Holy Spirit guide;
Let him teach us what is true.
He will testify of Christ,
Light our minds with heavenís view.
2. Let the Holy Spirit guard;
Let his whisper govern choice.
He will lead us safely home
If we listen to his voice.
3. Let the Spirit heal our hearts
Thru his quiet, gentle powír.
May we purify our lives
To receive him hour by hour.
Iím 20 years old. A mission is 2 years. 2 years is exactly 10% of my life so far. My mission is my tithing to the Lord. And lately Iíve been so broke, that itís about time I pay some tithing. As I get older, it will become a smaller percentage of my lifetime, but I know that itís lasting effects will carry throughout my entire life.
I know this church is true. I know that the Spirit whispers, if only we have faith and are willing and prepared to accept it. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I love Him so much. And I just want to thank Him for all that He has done for me in my life. I love my family so much, and I am going to miss them so much over the next two years. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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