Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gifts to Help Us Navigate Our Life

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Gifts to Help Us Navigate Our Life, by Elder José A. Teixeira
Of the Seventy

This week's news seems full of accounts of and reactions to people who have chosen to exercise their respective freedom of speech. From politics to entertainment to sports, we hear of either support or condemnation to outbursts.

As with the exercise of other freedoms, freedom of speech (listed as a human right by ICCPR) does not include impunity. Consider the following from the entry on agency (link):

People are free to choose and act but are not free to choose the consequences of their actions. The consequences may not be immediate, but they will always follow.

As I see the many news headlines, I'm reminded of Elder Teixeira's words on the gifts and responsibilities we all have:

Our choices have the undeniable power of transforming our lives. This gift is an extraordinary sign of trust in us and simultaneously a cherished personal responsibility to use wisely. Our Father in Heaven respects our freedom to choose and will never force us to do what is right, nor will He impede us from making mediocre choices. ...

Choices have consequences attached, which may or may not be manifested immediately after our decisions. Using the spiritual gifts we have been given is paramount in order to remain on the right course.

Choices are powerful. Elder Teixeira later quoted President Monson: "Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make—for decisions determine destiny."

The desire that we have to "remain on the right course" was well-illustrated with a comparison to a modern global positioning system (GPS) device. Such a system can aid travelers on life's roads know where they are, where they're going, the best way to arrive at their destination, and when they may arrive.

At last! An answer to childhood's favorite traveling question: "Are we there yet?"

Elder Teixeira brought the GPS illustration back to topic:

We too have within us a "GPS" allowing us to know at all times what is right and what is wrong, as well as assisting us in making correct choices.

As a technology-, science-, and geography-lover, I connected well with the internal GPS analogy. The Light of Christ (conscience) and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, of course, are what can provide our guidance as we traverse life's journeys.

Earlier I mentioned consequences. Despite any associated connotations, consequences aren't necessary bad. I'm reminded of the effects of consequences associated with the older—and more advanced!—GPS that Lehi and his family used on their journeys (see 1 Ne. 16). In speaking of this to his son many years later, the prophet Nephi explained (see 3 Ne. 37:38-46):

For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise. (v. 45)

The words of the prophets—the words of the Lord (see D&C 1:38)—are filled with wonderful consequences. We see the fulfillment—both good and bad!—of consequences in each scripture story.

I want to live so that I can use "spiritual gifts [I] have been given ... in order to remain on the right course." If I can do this, I know the consequence will be wonderful.

And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (D&C 14:7)

0 thoughts