Sunday, May 29, 2016

Our Spiritual Tracback

I have a new smart watch that helps keep track of my runs, biking, swimming and many other activities. One of the many features that I love is one called tracback. When traveling or visiting my children and grandchildren I go for a run and if I am not familiar with the area and get confused when I turn around and head back to my starting point. The trackback feature will tell me exactly where I need to turn and how long it will take to get back to my destination.

The illustration on the left is what the tracback feature looks like. # 1 is my current location, #2 is the track I need to follow, and #3 is the end point or my destination. This feature has saved me from getting lost. As I progress on the track to my destination the arrow follows the track, when I get to a turn it shows me which way to turn. Once in a while I think I know where I am going and make a turn even when the tracback feature is telling me to go straight. When I do that the arrow moves off the track and is in the black area so I know that I have gone off track and need to correct my direction in order to get back on track. If I don’t make the correction, I will wander farther from the track and remain lost and will not reach my destination.

As I was thinking how cool it was to have the ability to always find my way back to where I started (as long as I followed what it said) I thought it would be nice to have a spiritual tracback app. Then the thought came to me, you do have that “app”, but it is more than just one app. We have the Holy Ghost to prompt us when we are straying from the straight and narrow path. We have the scriptures that provide us with the knowledge of how to get onto the path that will lead us to the Tree of Life and back to Heavenly Father. We have living prophets, and other leaders, who warn us of the dangers that are coming and remind us of the covenants that we have made to help us, our families, and others to get on the gospel path and the importance of staying on it. We have the temples where we go to make the covenants that will qualify us to return to Heavenly Father.

One similarity between the smart watch and our spiritual trackback is that it can be ignored. It is easy to ignore the map on my watch and think that I knew better. With spiritual matters; there are many things to prompt us when we leave the gospel path. The Holy Ghost will tell us when dangers come or if we need to turn around and change our direction. Our leaders will be there to help us make course corrections. Unlike like the little arrow on the smart watch that shows how far I have strayed from my route and what I need to do to get back on track; if we ignore the Holy Ghost, or others, when we first go off the path, the prompting will often stop. In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Lehi describes a dream that he had of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life represented the the love of God and he said that it was the most precious of all things. He also saw a rod of iron and a straight and narrow path that lead to the tree. He then described what happens when we wander from that path:

And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.

And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.

 And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.

 And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.

And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. (1 Nephi 8:20-24)

When we ignore the warning signs from the Holy Ghost, our leaders, or the scriptures it is like the people that got lost in the mist of darkness in Lehi’s dream they lost their way and were lost. We must cling to the iron rod (the scriptures) and stay on the straight and narrow path or we will get lost in the mists of darkness (the pride of the world) and will lose our way.

The farther I get off track when running, the more difficult it is to get back on track. When I have strayed spiritually, it is never too late to make the needed course corrections. Through repentance we make the corrections in our life to get back on track. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed from our sins and forgiven and we then enter back on the straight and narrow path that leads us back to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

The technological advances that have given us the ability to know how to get back to our starting point when running or biking is a great blessing in our lives but the blessing of our spiritual trackback system are even more critical and crucial in getting us back to where we started which is in heaven with our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.

Your comments and question are welcome.

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