Episode 32. September 4, 2016. Today I want to give a shout out to my wonderful wife LaDawn who celebrates her birthday today, and to our oldest son Tyson who celebrated his yesterday. Today I want to again talk about Crowding out the World. Consider this part II of Episode 22.
In 2003 President Hinckley said “There are forces all around us that would deter us from being an ensign to the nations and a light to the world. The world is constantly crowding in on us. From all sides we feel the pressure to soften our stance, to give in here a little and there a little.”
Today I want to turn the tables on this and talk about how we can crowd out the world rather than allow the world to crowd in on us.
A number of year’s ago my neighbor Bart’s daughter had an FFA project – a pig. I thought I was being wise by asking but them to save the pig manure during the winter so I could put it on my all natural vegetable garden in the spring. Imagine my surprise when I ended up with a garden filled with pig weed (I think I know where it got its name). It was our worst garden ever. And to think that I was the cause of my own trouble. Unknowingly I invited into my garden one of the most dominant weeds in Texas.
Sometimes we do the same thing in our lives when we invite inappropriate media into our homes. Weeds can spring from those seeds that are terribly difficult to get rid of. I know, I am still paying the price for that decision of the pig manure 13 years later. Pigweed is difficult to eradicate!
Satan’s intent has never changed. He wants to be our God. He wants us to follow him and unfortunately he wants to destroy us so that we are miserable like he is. When we see the darkness of the world creeping upon us, we can be confident of its source.’
The good news is that we can cast Satan out of our lives. The Savior did it when he was tempted and simply said “Get thee hence Satan.” Moses was also successful when he called upon God and said: “In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.” The temple endowment teaches us more about this principle as well. But just in case we are not feeling quite as confident as the Savior or the prophet Moses, there are other ways as well. One of the most effective is to simply crowd him and world out of our lives. Just remember, if you light a candle in the darkness, the darkness flees. There is no counterpart to this with light. The light will never flee!
Today I want to share 5 practical, though not new, ways to crowd out the adversary and the world from our lives.
- Choose to Change. We can do this be choosing to turn off the TV more. We should consider carefully the movies that we watch as many will rob us of the spirit. We should also spend less time on the internet surfing and searching. This idea of endlessly searching and surfing the Internet reminds me of the scripture in 2 Tim 3:7 which talks about men in the last days ever learning and never coming to a knowledge thereof. Imagine if we were to redirect all or nearly all of this time to more noble pursuits: service, scripture study, reading good books, listening to uplifting music. At the front of the LDS hymnal there is a message from the First Presidency: “Hymns can also help us withstand the temptations of the adversary. We encourage you to memorize your favorite hymns and study the scriptures that relate to them. Then, if unworthy thoughts enter your mind, sing a hymn to yourself, crowding out the evil with the good.” We can also put visual reminders on our walls – pictures of that which is holy – our families, temples, the Savior. Pardon the pun, but I think you get the “picture”. Let’s all choose to change and in so doing, crowd out the world.
- Read regularly. The scriptures teach us. They help us gain the knowledge that will develop unshakeable faith. They help us to understand the characteristics and attributes of God so that we might develop them in our own lives. They instill a perfect brightness of hope within us of salvation and God’s love for us and a greater influence in our lives. I lover the scriptures. I love the way they make me feel as I study them each day. I love the insight and understanding that I am gaining almost of all, I love the protecting power of the spirit that accompanies me throughout the day. Let’s all choose to read regularly and in so doing, crowd out the world.
- Pray perfectly – What is a perfect prayer? It is the key to personal revelation. Elder Keith B. McMullin in the January 2003 Ensign said this: “When the mind and heart are humbly open to the prompting a of the Holy Ghost, the substance of one’s prayers often changes. The words spring from inspired thoughts, and our petition harmonizes with the divine will.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Perfect prayers are always answered; proper petitions are always grated. The Lord never rejects a prayer uttered by the power of the Spirit, or denies a petition sought in the name of Christ, that accords with the divine will.” Is it any wonder then that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, for perfect prayers will be the prayers he would have us pray. If it feels a bit overwhelming to have perfect prayers, perhaps we can start by just being perfect in our prayers. At a regional conference in Nigeria in 1998, Presdient Hinckley said: “We can be perfect in our prayers to our Father in Heaven. There are some things in which it is very difficult to be perfect, but I hope that everyone here, every man and woman and boy and girl, will get on his or her knees night and morning and thank the Lord for His blessings, thank the Lord for His kindness, thank the Lord for every gift that He has given, and pray for strength to do the right thing and remember before the Lord all who are in need and distressed.” Let’s all pray perfectly or at least be perfect in prayer and in so doing, crowd out the world.
- Serve selflessly – Why is service so important to us? Because we love those whom we serve. In the April 2009 conference talk titled “This Day”, then Elder Eyring talked about choosing to serve God this day. He told us that serving God through our service to others invitees the Holy Ghost to be with us, and that the Holy Ghost is a cleanser of sin. He promised that by choosing to serve we will feel His love and grow to love Him more, we will come to know him better and feel of his love for us and his appreciation for our service. This will wipe away complacency and discouragement. Isn’t it interesting how when we are called to a position requiring us to stretch and serve more that our lives get better? Let’s all serve more selflessly that by so doing we may crowd out the world.
- Time in the Temple – Elder Faust in the April 2005 general conference said: “We must rise above the evil that encroaches upon us. We must follow the counsel of the Lord, who said, in D&C section 101 “It is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places.” He goes on to say that our most holy places are sacred temples. I testify this is true. As I have attended the temple each week and pondered on the patterns of protection offered us against the evils of world, my eyes have been opened. One of the key ways this happens is through the covenants we make. Elder D. Todd Christopherson in the April 2009 General Conference explained that God binds himself to sustain, sanctify and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve him and keep his commandments. He said that covenants provide to us blessings for our obedience, faith to persevere which grows through our obedience and perhaps most importantly, the bestowal of divine power – even the power of Godliness through the Holy Ghost and enabling and strengthening power of the atonement. Let’s all spend more time in the temple and in so doing, crowd out the world.
I want to close today by finishing the quote from President Hinckley that I started with today. “There are forces all around us that would deter us from our efforts to be an ensign and a light to the world. The world is constantly crowding in on us. From all sides we feel the pressure to soften our stance, to give in here a little and there a little. We must never lose sight of our objective. We must ever keep before us the goal which the Lord has set for us. To quote Paul: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the hole arm our of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:10-12)”
President Hinckley goes on to stay :”We must stand firm. We must hold back the world. If we do so, the Almighty will be our strength and our protector, our guide and our revelator. We shall have the comfort of knowing that we are doing what he would have us do”. (President Gordon B. Hinckley – A Light to the World” Ensign, November 2003).
I hope that each of you will join me in crowing out the world by doing these 5 things:
1) Choosing to Change
2) Reading Regularly
3) Praying Perfectly
4) Serving Selflessly
5) Spending more Time in the Temple
The darkness of the world will be unable to encroach upon us if our lives are filled with light.