Friday, January 9, 2015

Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence


by Elder Jörg  Klebingat

This talk was full of so much good stuff!  It motivated me to want to try harder to be better.  What a perfect talk for the beginning of a new year.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God?. . . . Can you say within yourself that  Heavenly Father is pleased with you?  What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now?  Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation?  Would you meet or avoid His gaze?  Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?"

Wow!  Now that's something to really ponder.  
While thinking about this we have to really be aware of Elder Klebingat's next point:

"Whenever the adversary cannot persuade imperfect yet striving Saints such as you to abandon your belief in a personal and loving God, he employs a vicious campaign to put as much distance as possible between you and God.  The adversary know that faith in Christ- the kind of faith that produces a steady stream of tender mercies and even mighty miracles- goes hand in hand with a personal confidence that you are striving to choose the right.  For that reason, he will seek access to your heart to tell you lies- lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of the same evil theme."

"As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can't approach the throne of God with real confidence."

For me, whenever I am trying to do my best- reading my scriptures, saying my prayers, trying to be kind and serve others, upping my temple attendance, etc- Satan works harder on me.  He places doubt into my heart about my worth.  He will stir up past sins and make me feel like I was never really forgiven of them and that I never will be.  He tries really hard to make me feel like I'm a bad mother, or that I'm simply not good enough and I will never be. 

Last year as I took a stance against ol' Lucifer and decided to eliminate one of the tools he uses to make me feel bad.  You can read about that HERE  and  HERE.  The same thing is happening again this year as I'm trying to once again, step it up and improve myself.  (Read about that HERE.)  I guess I should know by now that it is coming.  Anytime we try harder to becoming like Christ, Satan tries even harder to thwart our plan.   He is happy when we are not.

"As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can't approach the throne of God with real confidence.  Whatever you do whatever you pray for whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith- not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself.  Living in the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy.  Above all it is completely unnecessary! "

"THE DECISION TO CHANGE IS YOURS- and yours alone."

Elder Klebingat share six suggestions of what we can do to help dissipate these evil voices, restoring our peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence.

1.  "Take Responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.  Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses. . . "

I recently attended a BYU event where I was privileged to hear Hank Smith speak about The Science of Happiness.  He shared scientific data that happiness factors are 50% genetics, 40% intentional activities, and 10% circumstances.  We have 40% control over what you do to make you happy.  This you can change!  This is your responsibility.  No one else can make you discouraged or unhappy unless you let them!

2.  "Take responsibility for your own physical well-being."
  "Your soul consists of your body and spirit.  Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body, . . . .usually leads to spiritual dissoncance and lowered self-esteem.  If you are out of shape, if you are uncomfortable in your own body and can do something about it (remember that 40%?), then do it!"

Stop making excuses. Stop blaming your genetics, and decided today you want to change.  (see #1)  Will it be hard.  You better believe it!  Will Satan try to get you to hate your body and to feel discouraged when change doesn't happen as quickly as you'd like.  Yes sirree he will.  Remember "The decision to change is yours- and yours alone."

3.  "Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life."

"The Savior's standard is clear and simple:  "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
Selective obedience brings selective blessings,
and choosing something bad over something that is worse is still choosing wrong.  You can't watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one."

I remember years ago my husband and I watching an edited R- rated movie that was playing on the television.  We figured it would be alright because it was edited-right, wrong!  The theme of the movie was still R-rated despite what was edited out and left us feeling bad.

"You can't watch a bad movie and expect to feel virtuous because you did not watch a very bad one."  The movie was rated that rating for a reason.  We should have known and done better.  Needless to say, we learned our lesson.

Abraham Lincoln rightly said, "When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad".
I can second that.
"Do the right things for the right reasons. . . .casualness in spiritual matters never was happiness.  Make the Church and the restored gospel your whole life, not just part of your outward or social life.  Choosing this day whom you will serve is lip service only- until you actually live accordingly."

I love the scripture in Alma 57:21 - ". . . ..Yea, they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness. . . ".  This should be our life motto.

4.  "Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly."
"Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out."
"Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy joyful repentance by making it your lifestyle of choice. . . Keeping your eyes on the Savior, care more about what He thinks of you, and let the consequences follow."

5.  "Become really really good at forgiving."
"Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life.  Don't hold grudges, don't be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don't ever think you are exempt from this commandment."

6.  "Accept trials, setbacks, and 'surprises' as part of your mortal experience."
"Remember, you are here to be proved and tested. . . .When these trials come, the adversary's minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you.  IGNORE THAT!  . . . force a smile, gaze heavenward. . . .then partner with Him to endure well to the end."

This is a great list of improvements we can make in our own lives.  I know that if we will continually work on these things, our 'spiritual confidence' will increase.
"Yours is the privilege, if you want it, to come to know for yourself, today or soon, that you are pleasing God in spite of your shortcomings."




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