Although it was just a little gracious offer, if it wasn’t for my cute cousin who opened her home to me, I wouldn’t have been able to have such a touching spiritual experience in her family ward.
I was sitting in the chapel while the sacrament was being administered. The prayer had been given and right after it finished I heard this sweet conversation between a mother and son who were sitting directly behind me. Distressed, the little boy exclaimed, “Oh No! I missed the prayer! Mom! Oh no! Can we start over?” The little boy had forgotten to fold his arms when the prayer was being given and was completely distraught because he had missed it. My guess is that his parents had really focused on the importance of prayer, and sacrament reverence earlier that week. The little boy then began to sob, pleading his Mom to make them redo the prayer.
This little boy really touched my heart. How often are we just like the little boy, distracted by other things while the sacrament is being administered? How often do we miss the sacrament prayer other important things because we are distracted by our phones, our agendas, our callings, or other worldly things?
Brothers and Sisters, our world is full of distractions that can prevent us from doing the things that really matter.
So how can we prevent ourselves from falling into these distractions not only in sacrament meeting, but also as we journey on this path throughout our lives?
Although there are many answers and responses to this question, I have found strength to overcome Satan’s distractions by developing a strong faith in Christ, by participating in daily spiritual nourishment, and by realizing that you’re not alone.
Have a Strong Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ- relying on him through everything and turning to him.
The Apostle Paul taught that “faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Alma made a similar statement: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Faith is a principle of action and power. Whenever we work toward a worthy goal, we exercise faith.
We can have a strong faith many different principles, faith in tithing, faith in the word of wisdom, faith in fast offerings, faith in the youth and primary programs. All of these types of faith are important; however, I have found that many of these faiths come as a result of having a faith in Christ which is what I would like to focus on today.
Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, and love. It means believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. Because He has experienced all our pains, afflictions, and infirmities, He knows how to help us rise above our daily difficulties (see Alma 7:11-12; D&C 122:8). He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and prepared the way for us to receive eternal life. He is always ready to help us as we remember His plea: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36).
Faith is much more than passive belief. We express our faith through action—by the way we live. We exercise faith in Christ when we have an assurance that He exists and a knowledge that we are striving to live according to His will.
As many of you know, I leave on Wednesday to be a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ. I have been called to serve in the Irvine California Mission. As I’ve been preparing for my mission, I’ve really have had to develop a full faith in my Savior Jesus Christ.
My faith was tested when I first submitted my mission papers.
For those of you who have gone on missions, I’m sure you know the crazy feelings of anticipation as you awaited your call. I had to have faith in my Savior that he would send me where my talents and abilities would be most useful in helping teach my brothers and sisters about the gospel. I had to trust in him full hearty to accept my call and to leave my family, my friends, and everything I’ve ever known for 18 months.
When we are doing all that we can to align our will with His, these distraction that we face in our lives will diminish as we focus on him. I know that these distractions when at the time may seem so important, will seem minimal in the grand scheme of things.
Participating in Daily Bread
In addition to developing a strong faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, I also want to stress the importance of daily spiritual nourishment. I promise you that, like developing strong faith, it can also help us avoid these distractions in our lives.
I think that Moses and the tribes of Israel illustrate a perfect example of what is needed from us to avoid these distractions.
In Exodus, we can read the account of Moses and the tribes of Israel and the 40 years spent in the Wilderness before entering the promised land. While in the wilderness the Lord provided his people with daily bread from heaven or manna. Through Moses, the Lord instructed the people to gather enough each day for that day, except on the day before the Sabbath, when they were to gather enough for two days.
By providing a daily sustenance, one day at a time, the Lord was trying to teach faith to a nation that lost it. He was teaching them to trust in Him and to look to him. In essence, the children of Israel had to trust Him today and trust that He would grant a sufficient amount of food for the next day, and the next day, and so on.
Moses’ people required the daily gathering of mana to receive their physical nourishment. Likewise, we too need our own daily bread to strengthen our own spiritual nourishment to be able to withstand the distractions of the world and from Satan.
We have to trust that the Lord will provide us with the spiritual nourishment we need that day when we take time to read our scriptures, to study the words of the prophets, and to go to the temple.
Just like the children of Israel could not gather enough manna for multiple days, Spiritual nourishment once a week or even once a month is not enough to sustain us. Each day is a new day and with it comes a new need of spiritual nourishment.
In 2 Nephi 32:3, Christ urges us to, “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” He does not tell them to snack on the words of Christ, but rather to feast. When we feast on the words, we are not only just reading the words on the page but rather we are reading, pondering and then applying what we learn to our lives. When we partake of the daily feast we are able to develop a closeness with God, which like the scripture promises, will help guide us to do all the things that we should do, including avoiding these distractions in our lives.
Brothers and Sisters, we are so blessed to have the scriptures so readily available. Most of us can even pull them up in seconds on our phones, iPads, tablets or other smart devices. I urge you to take advantage of these sacred words, daily, for I promise you and I know that they bring power, strength, and guidance that help us avoid Satan’s distractions.
Realizing that you are never alone.
Lastly, we are able to withstand Satan’s distractions when we come to realize that we are not alone in this battle.
We have been all blessed with families, friends, and church leaders who care about each of us individually. I know and promise that many people care for you and praying for you even though you may feel forgotten. They are here for each of us and will stand beside us, and support us as we strive to withstand these distractions. Although we may seem like only one person, when we are together and united as a group, we are strong.
More importantly though, we have our Savior standing besides us who loves us and is cheering us on. He promises each of us that “I will not leave you comfortless,” that “[he] will go before your face. [He] will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).
He knows us each perfectly and knows perfectly the temptations and trials that we each face because he has experiences all of our pains, afflictions and infirmities. When we are able to acknowledge that he is there besides us, we are able to rise above our daily challenges and distractions.
President Holland further explains, “because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends.”
Although at times we may feel alone. We will never be left alone or unaided in the trials that we face in this life. He is our biggest supporter on this life because he sees each of us as we can be. I promise that as we rely on him in our lives that we will be able to withstand our distractions.
Brothers and Sisters, I promise you that as you focus on developing a strong faith in Christ, by participating in daily spiritual nourishment, and by realizing that you’re not alone, that you will find strength and power to overcome Satan’s distractions and rise above it. I hope that we take advantage of the time we have now. How horrible would it to be just like the little boy in the family ward in Provo to be just a little too late and miss out on lasting happiness? How sad would it be to come before our Savior at the last day and beg and plead to him for a redo because we are just a little too late?
The time is now, Brothers and Sisters. Let us all strive to be a little better and to overcome the distractions in our lives that stop us from doing the things that truly matter most. Our path towards eternal life will be hilly full of ups and downs; however, with the Savior, we will be able to make it.
I know that this journey I’m about to embark on of serving a mission will definitely be a journey full of many ups and downs; however I know that I will be able to remain focused as I continue in applying these principles in my life.
I know that this church is true with every fiber of my being. It has brought me more joy in this life can words can even fully comprehend. I know that as we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ that we will be blessed and made strong. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and when coupled with the Bible can provide us with guidance in this life. Although it can be hard to make time to study our scriptures each day, I promise and know that there is strength found within the daily study. And lastly, I know that we are never alone. Jesus Christ knows each of us and will not leave us in our times of stress, trials and adversities because he loves us.
I cannot wait to share this simple testimony with every person I come in contact with in Irvine California.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.