Over the last several weeks we’ve gone over some of the areas teens today should especially guard against to maintain a true sense of happiness and self worth. Prophets over the ages have warned and pled with the youth to be observant of their thoughts and actions. It’s when we begin to think we’re okay that our spiritual armor begins to slip.
Agency and accountability. Gratitude. Education. Family. Friends. Dress and appearance. Entertainment and the media. Music and dancing. Language. Dating. Sexual purity. Repentance. Honesty. Sabbath Day observance. Tithes and offerings. Physical health. Service to others. We’ve discussed all of these things, though perhaps not in as much detail as each of these subjects warrant.
Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed the Mormon Church, placed these topics in a booklet titled For the Strength of Youth as a guide and warning to help teens today navigate through these morally treacherous times.
Take a moment to ask yourself, “Am I living the way the Lord wants me to live?” Each of these standards presented are there to help you make correct choices. Making good choices, even if they seem like the hardest thing in the world to do, will work towards making your life happier and helping you to deal with the hard times.
In addition to the areas listed above, we are encouraged to continue in certain other daily activities that will further increase our spiritual armor. First is daily prayer.
“To help you become all that the Lord wants you to become, get on your knees each day and express to Him the desires of your heart. He is the source of all wisdom, and you need His help. He will hear and answer you” (For the Strength of Youth, p.40).
When Christ visited the Americas, an account of which can be read in the Book of Mormon – another testament of Jesus Christ, he “commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts” (3 Nephi 20:1).
How often do you think of your Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ during the day? Is it only when you kneel down at night to pray? Prayer should happen more than once or twice a day. We should pray first thing in the morning, over our meals, in times of trouble, in times of joy. We don’t have to be on our knees when it happens. So long as we keep a reverent feeling at the time we find ourselves in need of praying. It takes practice to keep in constant communication with our Heavenly Father, but it can happen.
Next we are cautioned to read our scriptures daily. “They are a powerful source of personal revelation and a constant strength to your testimony” (p.40). Do you need an answer to a question or problem you’re facing? Try reading your scriptures. You’d be amazed at what insight can be revealed to you.
“Be true to the Lord…in all circumstances…. Be humble and willing to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. Place the wisdom of the Lord above your own wisdom” (For the Strength of Youth, p.40).
It’s not easy to choose the way of the Lord in every circumstance of our lives. Too many times we let what others think guide our thoughts and actions. If these choices go against what we’ve been taught by the Lord, more often than not it will only end in misery. The Lord wants us to be happy. Choosing His way will help us make it.
This post is titled ‘Go Forward With Faith.’ Faith is not just a hope. It’s what we do with that hope. Faith is an action word. We have to put our faith to the test in order for it to become strong. In particular we need to show faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is His work we are doing here on earth, but we have to choose to follow His path.
“When you do these things, the Lord will make much more out of your life than you can by yourself. He will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you. He sill give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges. You will find true joy as you come to know your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and feel their love for you” (For the Strength of Youth, p.42).
Keep in mind, you don’t have to begin do everything all at once. Not only is it overwhelming, but you’re almost certain to fail by doing too much too soon. Pick one area. Try working on your dress and appearance before you move on to music and dancing. Like everything in this life we need to take things line upon line, and precept upon precept. As we find ourselves mastering one area, we will be more prepared to start a second.
Don’t ever forget how precious you are to your Heavenly Father. He wants you to succeed in this life. He wants to see you become the extraordinary individual He knows you are. Listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. It is through his voice you will be guided in the ways that will keep you on the path to lead you back to your Heavenly Father.