Monday, June 7, 2010

Sparkle Tip #1 - Personal Spiritual Preparation

My sparkle problems are usually based in my attitudes or emotional state and there are three or four attitudes that seem to recur for me from time to time.

#1 - I know I have a attitude problem when I loudly ask myself “Why am I doing this!”

One of the biggest mistakes I have made over and over again is to forget that everything I do in my life is done in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right now I prepare and teach music to children, but remembering the context of the gospel affects my motivation, desire, and attitude toward this work I do. The pressure to be ready with a singing time each week is pretty real. I understand the urgent need to find an idea and gather the paper and scissors. But overlooking the more fundamental step of personal spiritual preparation is like skipping the primer coat in a painting project. The paint might be a pretty color, but it won’t lay right or look right without that underlying primer.

Personal spiritual preparation, such as praying and pondering, studying the scriptures, and living gospel principles is important because this process teaches us the context of who we are and why we do what we do. I do what I do because I’m in a covenant with Jesus Christ to take upon me His name and to love Him and to serve Him. When I remember this context, my actual ability or competence or skill is less important than my capability. Because of my covenants, I am capable. It is as simple as that. Really.

The term ability denotes actual skill. The term capable has other implications. To be capable means to possess attributes or traits or features that permit accomplishment. Whatever my own skill or performance might actually be, my capacity is infinite through the ability of Jesus Christ. I can tell you this and you can hear it, but until you live the process of personal spirituality, this knowledge will not make any difference to you. When we actually live the process of prayer, when we actually study and ponder the scriptures, and as we actually live gospel principles, we have the Spirit with us. He will teach us the truths of the gospel all the way down to our cells! This is important because an intellectual knowledge of the gospel will not take us through the heat of the day. When things get tough, I need to know why I am doing this, and it needs to be real, emotional understanding. The only way that understanding comes is through personal spiritual preparation.

It might be true that praying and reading scriptures may not have much to do with the mechanics of teaching a song to children, but I’m here to testify that these have everything to do with my ability to do that in the context of the Church of Jesus Christ. And, they have everything to do with my ability to keep teaching through the heat of the day when the gnats swarm and sweat drips into my eyes.

I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and a desire to serve Him. This much makes me capable of doing so. This testimony and desire come from personal spiritual preparation. When I am tired, unhappy , frustrated and uninspired I know that I need to redouble my efforts to study the scriptures, to ponder and pray, and to live more fully the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, with such a primer coat, the paint will lay better and look better. Sure-fire sparkle!

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