Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Provident Living

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a memorable talk this past General Conference. His subject was provident living, or the importance of putting off the things of this world in favor of the things of God. I really enjoyed reading over it again this morning. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
...for both debt and addiction, the hopeful solution is the same—we must turn to the Lord and follow His commandments. We must want more than anything else to change our lives so that we can break the cycle of debt and our uncontrolled wants.
When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”
And here's the kicker:
In seeking to overcome debt and addictive behaviors, we should remember that addiction is the craving of the natural man, and it can never be satisfied. It is an insatiable appetite. When we are addicted, we seek those worldly possessions or physical pleasures that seem to entice us. But as children of God, our deepest hunger and what we should be seeking is what the Lord alone can provide—His love, His sense of worth, His security, His confidence, His hope in the future, and assurance of His love, which brings us eternal joy.
We must want, more than anything else, to do our Heavenly Father’s will and providently provide for ourselves and others. We must say, as did King Lamoni’s father, “I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18). Then we can go to Him with steadfast determination and promise Him, “I will do whatever it takes.”
Through prayer, fasting, obedience to the commandments, priesthood blessings, and His atoning sacrifice, we will feel His love and power in our lives. We will receive His spiritual guidance and strength through the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Only through our Lord’s Atonement can we obtain a mighty change of heart (see Mosiah 5:2; Alma 5:14) and experience a mighty change in our addictive behavior.

This talk is definitely one I needed to hear (just ask my wife!). Though we have mostly avoided large, unnecessary debt (we don't even have a credit card!), I have a hard time avoiding smaller (but equally unnecessary) purchases. So this council is something that can really help me; I never really thought that buying excessive amounts of DVDs or techno-toys I don't need can really take away my agency (or willpower to avoid such purchases), and can draw me away from the Savior. But it's true; in fact, as Elder Hales notes, the scriptures say:
Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted. (2 Nephi 9:51)
So I guess what I'm taking from this is I need to be more careful with not just my money, but my slight obsession with temporal things. I don't always (or maybe ever) need to have the newest, the fastest, the coolest. Leading a simple life can open the mind to the whisperings of the Spirit.

1 comment:

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