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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Overcoming the World

"Behold [the author of all sin] had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, inosomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themeselves idols of their gold and their silver." - Heleman 6:31

What causes people who were once enlightened by the Spirit of God to let the adversary gain such a great hold on them? 

In the verse quoted above it says that the Nephites "turned out of the way of righteousness...and did turn unto their own ways."  I think that's the root of the problem, they began to turn more inward, more selfish, more concerned about building up themselves than building up the kingdom of God.

So, how do we build God's kingdom here on earth? How do we stay focused on what matters most? How do we overcome the pride, the selfishness, and the arrogance that plagues so many? Elder Neil L. Andersen taught in this last conference, "Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity."

If we examine our every-day choices, even the ones that look good on the outside, we must ask ourselves, "Where is my heart? What is my sincere motivation in doing this?" I think then we will begin to discover which direction our hearts are turned.

"The meek are able with regularity to peel off the encrustations of ego that form on one’s soul like barnacles on a ship." - Neal A. Maxwell (Meekly Drenched in Destiny)

Elder Andersen stated that "Those who overcome the world develop an all-encompassing love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ... Overcoming the world means turning ourselves outward, remembering the second commandment: 'He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.'"

Our "turning" pivots on simple every-day choices, seemingly small things that seep into our lives and distract us from the right focus - Social media is one example. It's a great tool to connect with people, to offer encouragement, and to bear testimony of the Gospel....  but it can also become a terrible distraction, a vacuum that sucks a person's view into a narrow little hole of self-centeredness. It all depends on our motives. Are we out there for gain or for God?

"A disciple of Christ is not alarmed if a post about her faith does not receive 1,000 likes or even a few friendly emojis. Overcoming the world is being less concerned with our online connections and more concerned with our heavenly connection to God." - Neil L. Andersen

Online or in person, I believe the more we focus on our personal gain, popularity, or prestige- the more arrogant we become. A life without the Savior, the true vine, causes our Divine beauty to dry up and wither. But on the flip-side, the more our hearts are turned to our Father in Heaven, the more sincerely we are focused on the Savior, the more we lose ourselves, the more confident we become - and we blossom and grow into radiant humble disciples of Christ.


I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name

I'm not meant to just stay quiet
I'm meant to be a lion
I'll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I've got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
and made
Something out of nothing

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