Sunday, March 8, 2015

Living the Abundant Life

One day when Jesus was teaching the people about the difference between a hireling and a shepherd, the Savior said: I am come that they (meaning you and me) might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (John 10:10).

What is the abundant life and how do we know if we are living it? In April 2006, Elder Joseph B. Wirtlin had this advice:

“President Lorenzo Snow said, “The Lord has not given us the gospel that we may go around mourning all the days of our lives.”3

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a religion of mourning and gloom. The faith of our fathers is one of hope and joy. It is not a gospel of chains but a gospel of wings.

“To embrace it fully is to be filled with wonder and to walk with an inner fire.

“The abundant life is a spiritual life. Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them. They go through the motions—attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers—but their hearts are far away. If they are honest, they would admit to being more interested in the latest neighborhood rumors, stock market trends, and their favorite TV show than they are in the supernal wonders and sweet ministerings of the Holy Spirit.” “The Abundant Life”, General Conference, April 2006)

Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is The Abundant Life. Our Heavenly Father has provided us the way for us to be happy and find joy in this life as we keep his commandments and serve his children.

With all of the distractions around us it is difficult to shut out the world and the idea that we must do all we can to achieve success no matter what. The tendency to want to focus the attention on us and what we get out life is not in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach the natural (or worldly) man is an enemy to God and it takes yielding to the Holy Spirit to become a saint (Mosiah 3:19).

How do we put off the “natural man” and enjoy the abundant life that comes through yielding to the Holy Spirit? Cheryl Esplin gave a devotional talk at BYU and shared three principles that if we followed we would be living an abundant life:

1.       Seeking light and truth
2.       Realizing that our thoughts are not the Lord’s thoughts.  Having an eternal perspective is important to having an abundant life
3.       Feeling and experiencing gratitude

She continued:

“We have talked about having the abundant life through seeking light, truth, and knowledge; through looking through the lens of an eternal perspective; and through feeling and expressing gratitude. The abundant life can be ours as we take advantage of these and so many other opportunities that are available to us in this day. “(“The Abundant Life”, Cheryl A. Esplin, BYU Devotional, February 3, 2015)

President Thomas S. Monson shared what he called the ABCs for living an abundant life:

A     Attitude – Have a positive attitude
B     Believe – Believe in yourself
C     Courage – Face Challenges with courage

He then gave this advice:

“May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.” (“Living the Abundant Life”, Ensign, January 2012)

What a great promise we have if we are willing to do the things the Lord requires to live more abundantly. We become a blessing to all we come in contact with and we have the peace and happiness that comes from living up to the privileges that our Heavenly Father has for us.

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