Thursday, November 20, 2008

Step # 11

I don't know if I am supposed to have a "favorite" step, but I do. It's Step 11.

"Seek through prayer and mediation to know the Lord's will and to have the power to carry it out."

Nothing has helped me in the process of personal change more or brought me closer to my Savior than this simple step. In the difficult change of addiction recovery, reliance on the Lord is the way out. Step 11 is essentially daily reliance. I suspect the principle holds for other personal change, especially the soul searching, difficult changes the gospel often requires.

Let me share four brief thoughts about Step 11 that may apply to anyone attempting to change or improve their life through living the gospel more fully.

1) Living worthy of the spirit is the foundation.
I spent years living a life that utterly disqualified me from the blessing of having the Holy Ghost near me. Living every day so I am worthy to have the spirit is essential to understanding what God's will is for me. Without this step the others will fail. For me, this means being cautious about what I watch on TV or listen to. It means daily scripture study and pondering the words I read. It means taking the Sacrament every week. And it certainly means avoiding the deadly drug of pornography.

2) Ask the Lord every day to know his will concerning you.
This is another example of a simple principle which took me forever to figure out. In prayer, often asking is the only requirement the Lord puts on us. He wants us to kneel and ask to know his will. Kneeling every morning and asking what the Lord would have me do that day has truthfully changed my life. It's not a difficult task, the prayer doesn't have to be lengthy or profound. Humbly kneeling and submitting to the Lord, asking to know his will for me, and then making every effort to carry it out...this process has been a powerful director of my efforts to change.

3) Take the time to listen.
Again, a principle probably obvious to most, but the Lords answers are generally subtle and almost always quiet. It takes sincere effort hear them. I often do this in the car on my way to work. I will turn the radio off and breathe calmly for a few minutes. I will then open my mind to the Lord by addressing him, and then let the thoughts go where they will. I have received small and simple truths from the Lord this way. I truly believe I get guidance and direction during these quiet times.

4) No matter what the Lord asks, do it.
When the answers come, and they will come, it is time to climb in the wheelbarrow. If we want the Lord to trust us, we have to obey immediately. Sometimes the answer will not be what you are expecting. I recall receiving inspiration to pay my tithing when I was thinking about a difficult personal problem. The answer may sometimes be difficult. But it is essential that we obey, and obey immediately. Obeying simple promptings of the Lord builds trust with him and allows him to direct our lives even further.

President Ezra Taft Benson said "The constant and most recurring question in our minds, touching every thought and deed of our lives, should be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me do?'

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