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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Ten Characteristics of those who've had their Calling and Election Made Sure, Part 4 of 5

The Last Five Characteristics



6.  They recognize the endowment for what it *really* is: a "calling card" from God, in how to more directly, more purely approach Him and enter his presence while in mortality.

  • They tend to visit the temple frequently.  Why? Because they enjoy the solace of an environment that is not of this world (in which they feel like strangers).
  • They seek opportunities to enter into more and greater personal covenants with the Lord.

7.  They engage in daily, sincere, sustained repentance and pleading for forgiveness and sanctification is considered essential.

  • Sometimes that repentance is automatic. Other times, it's at the end of the day, when they "Return and Report".
  • They develop the twin tendencies of (1) not being able to look at sin with the least degree of allowance, and (2) basking in the feelings and sensations which accompany sanctification.
  • This develops within them a deep, sensitive knowledge of just how eager and anxious the Lord is to forgive us of our sins. Two quotes come to mind regarding this:

"Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 257-258)

"I believe that His [Heavenly Father's] judicial concept of his dealings with his children could be expressed in this way: I believe that in His justice and mercy He will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that He can give, and in the reverse, I believe that He will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for Him to impose." (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, 3 Oct. 1953, p. 84.)

  • They counsel with the Lord often.  In doing so, they often learn how to avoid temptation and the plans of the evil one, even before the evil one has launched his attacks.  This is what I call "Anticipatory Spiritual Warfare".  To elaborate, here's this quote:

During your nightly Return and Report sessions with Heavenly Father (in prayer), "We can monitor our own progress and discern the gains we make and the patterns in which we are vulnerable to temptation. I am indebted to a wise old friend (both in years and in association) of another faith who taught me to take an active interest in learning about the patterns in my life and how temptations occurred. He struggled a long time with some of his temptations and finally decided to take a proactive interest. He tried to anticipate where in his life he might encounter that "old trickster devil" again. He became a good scout. He watched the terrain of his life and could tell where it looked like his own form of quicksand might be. He rerouted and gave up trying to see how close he could get to that quicksand without getting caught." (Marie Cornwall and Susan Howe, eds., Women of Wisdom and Knowledge: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences, p.114; also see here)

8.  They realize that in the final analysis, their efforts aren't about themselves.  It's about: (1) loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and (2) loving thy neighbor as thyself (Matt 22: 37-40).

  • They exude a kind of positive energy, a positive frequency, that practically wards off negativity and even evil.  This means that they are happy, tend to smile often, and have a healthy sense of humor.  They are living examples of D&C 50:24: "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
  • In lowliness of mind they esteem others as better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3).
  • They are meek, humble, submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things they stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things they do receive (Alma 7:23).
  • They are long-suffering, kind; envieth not; are not puffed up, do not behave unseemly, seek not their own, are not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (1 Corinthians 13:4–5).
  • Neither do they judge -- period (they leave that responsibility to the Lord - 3 Nephi 14:1).
  • If they mess up, they recognize, are remorseful, repent and try to recompense for their behavior.

9.  To help accomplish these objectives, they seek after -- they study, ponder, pray about and beg for opportunities to develop -- spiritual gifts.

  • They have a kind of child-like inquisitiveness, in that they love to learn and be taught by the Spirit.
  • The Gift of Charity is the number one gift many seek after.  It shows in their approach to God and to others. They beg, they plead, for more opportunities to serve others.  And then once they have helped someone, they beg the Lord for more opportunities -- helping to make them veritable "mortal angels."
  • The Gift of Discernment is another primary gift among many.  They gravitate to and seek after truth, are not afraid to place a new concept on a proverbial shelf, and give the Spirit a chance to weigh in on it.
  • The Gift of Prophecy -- having a sure knowledge of Jesus Christ -- is also consistently sought.  They desire is to testify of Him and invite others to come unto Him as well (ala Lehi's dream about the fruit).

10.  Yet they're not as focused on the end result (although it's something they pray for); but rather, the process that's involved in incrementally improving their relationship with Christ and (ultimately) Father.

  • They are not distracted by thoughts about their past, which is over.
  • Nor are they obsessed with the future, which hasn't happened yet.
  • Instead, they focus on the present ("Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof --  Matt. 6:34") , which can simultaneously erase the mistakes of the past and prepare us for a better future.

In Summary

Brothers and sisters, to have your calling and election made sure is to have your day of judgment advanced and be sealed up unto eternal life, so you have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world.

Both Peter and Brother Joseph pleaded with you to make your calling and election sure.  One reason why: to give you hope and knowledge in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation...to shore up your courage for the coming storms and furies that will befall you.

Although some may suppose this blessing is given only to high-ranking church leaders, such an assumption is incorrect.  We know that throughout history, it has been given to good, plain folk who never did anything earth shattering for history to remember and never ascended to hold positions of honor in the Church. 

That is the case today, as it was 180 years ago.  There are some in our midst who, like these Mormon pioneers, are good, faithful, humble latter-day saints who seek not spotlights, but the constant companionship with the Lord 24 / 7 / 365.  The common characteristics of their lives provide us with an example of the elect.
 
It's my personal testimony that this blessing really is pronounced upon individuals in these latter days.  It is also my testimony that Jesus Christ lives -- a testimony I have independent of any other person past or present.  It's my prayer that the principles we've discussed tonight will help you draw closer to him, even unto and including the piercing of the veil and obtaining your calling and election as well.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I feel this to be true. I have had the gift of recognizing a few people who have had their calling and election made sure. I generally have not told them that I know, but the spirit has showed this to me in a number of people that I've been associated with. The ones I know closely are very positive personalities, and like you said, most do not have high callings in the Church.

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