Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Final Talk Before Mission

Elder S Hackleman

The Challenge to Become (Light Of Christ)

John Bytheway is one of my favorite devotional speakers. He told a story about a time he was driving in the car with his wife and kid. The fog was thick and they could only see as far as the headlights would reach. As they drove, his child said “Daddy look! The light is pushing away the darkness!”

This is a profound statement made by a very young child. I would like to dive deeper into that statement in order to further explain the Challenge we experience to become children of light.

Light is a curious thing. The definition of Light according to Merriam Webster is “The form of energy that makes it possible to see things.”

I like how it says energy. Energy is constantly transferring from one form to another. It is NOT passive. I like to think of it like a flashlight… When you are somewhere dark, with no light, a flashlight will provide the energy needed to brighten up your area. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a “flash-dark”. I have never seen an object where you can flip a switch and produce a beam of darkness. The reason for this is that light will ALWAYS “push away the darkness.”

Now back to our definition involving energy, I would like to relate light to our lives as we strive to act in accordance to our Heavenly Father. “Darkness” can be compared to succumbing to peer pressure at a party and just taking a drink of beer. It is much easier in our world today to just do what everybody else is doing. It takes much more energy to resist temptation and “push away” that darkness. That is the reason why I love that definition of light so much. Light will always conquer darkness. Whether you are a part of that light or not.

As a football player I would never purposefully choose a losing team. If you were given an option to be on the winning side, or the losing side, nobody would side with the loser. This is the same in an eternal aspect. We know the “winning team” so to speak. The light of Christ will spread throughout the world, so why not be a part of it?

I would like to read a few scriptures that talk about the light of Christ, and then compare what they all have in common.

The first is 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8

-John 8:12

-Mosiah 16:9

All of these scriptures have one main thing in common. They all speak about our “winning team.”

In preparation to my mission I am about to serve, I have been doing my best to become a better Member Missionary. When I was 15, I was at one of my best friend’s house. We were all in his basement playing games when we decided we wanted to watch a movie. I started talking to one of my friends when a movie was put in. I wasn't paying attention and didn't know what movie it was. I worked at a movie store at the time so I was very familiar with new movies that came out, and what they were rated. It didn't take me long to realize they had put in a rated R movie. The moment it started, I felt sick to my stomach. So I told my friend I was going to leave and go home. He followed me upstairs and we talked on his front porch for a while before I left. He said he was sorry for the movie choice. That he told the others I wouldn't watch a rated R movie but they didn't think I would notice. He then asked me, “how DID you know so quickly?”

I responded with a question of my own. “The moment it started, how did you feel?”

“I don’t know, dark I guess. It is a dark movie.”

“exactly. The reason I don’t watch movies like that is because it deprives me of the light, or good feelings I have throughout my day. Why would you watch something that purposefully deprives you of good feelings?”

This simple explanation really hit home to my friend Nick. He never was baptized into our church or anything but simply sticking up for what I believed opened a doorway for us to talk about other things we believed in. He always wanted to talk about religion with me but was to scared to bring it up, but because I showed I wasn’t scared to put forth energy, and stand up for what I knew to be wrong, he was then able to comfortably discuss many other things with me.

I love talking about religion with my friends. So much of the world today has put a taboo on that kind of conversation. Some of the jobs I have worked at have frowned on religious talk in the workforce because they feared it would conflict with others beliefs and cause an awkward situation. This never made sense to me. If you base the things you should be allowed to talk about using that logic, then that should omit any conversations about politics or sports. I have found that opening your mouth about things you have a testimony in, is the best way to open the mouths of others.

A while ago, I was teaching a discussion to a non member with the elders in my ward. He knew a little about our church already so before we got into the lesson he was already asking questions about Joseph Smith and how he was able to have a spiritual experience when he was being tempted by the devil moments before. I told him about light. How light is so much more than a simple description of luminosity. I also described how darkness is much more than the absence of light. “I kneel ed down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, … I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other- this is my beloved son. Hear him.

I used John Bytheway’s description of the light pushing away the darkness to explain how Joseph was able to overcome the temptation and power of Satan. What Joseph witnessed was a battle between two forces. The light of Christ, pushed away the darkness of Satan.

The light of the gospel was given to God’s children through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Elder Craig C. Christensen said in his talk printed in the August issue of the Ensign said “The phrase children of light describes a people in whom the light of the gospel shines brightly. It describes a people who seek the light and are drawn to that which is virtuous, clean, and pure. There is an expectation that children of light are alert and watchful—not sleeping, in a spiritual sense, when they should be awake “

I love how he says “drawn to that which is virtuous.” The children of light want to be clean. They don’t seek for darkness and justify the situation by saying “I can repent of this later.” Seeking out the light of Jesus Christ does not mean we have to be perfect. His Atonement makes it possible for all of us to be clean and he has provided us with the spirit so we can be alert and watchful for the darkness in our lives.

Bare testimony…..

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