We each have within us two different entities. A natural man, and spiritual man (or women). We come into this world where the natural man, rules our thoughts and desires. We eat and sleep, when we are young the world seems to revolve around our physical desires or needs. As we grow older we are responsible for putting off the natural man. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submisive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
so the goal is to overcome the natural man and let the spiritual man take over. But how do we do that??? We yield to the enticings of the Holy spirit and become childlike. We submit ourselves to the will of the Lord. Here is one simple suggestion that may help in understanding more of how to put off the natural man. There are many things you can do, but for one you can fast. This is an excellent way, it can almost be considered practice. you are depriving your body of something that you physically need to become more spiritually in tune. Fasting is a way to help us overcome our habits, addictions, and burdens. It helps us gain confidence and faith in the Lord to call down the powers of Heaven. It allows you to become closer to God.
Here are 5 principles of a proper fast given by Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy:
Principle 1: A generous fast offering blesses others.
When we bless others, God blesses us. Isaiah teaches the principle of fast offerings. He teaches us that to receive promised power and blessings, we must not only fast but also care for the poor and needy.
We qualify for God’s promised blessings and power as we care for all of His children in accordance with the fast He has chosen. “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:7).
Isaiah 58:10 teaches the same fast offering principle: “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.”
Principle 2: Fasting invites enlightenment and the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
The Lord promises not only the power to overcome all of our sins but also light, health, and righteousness in our lives. And, just as with the children of Israel, He promises that His glory will surround and protect us.
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward” (Isaiah 58:8).
As we all strive to put off the natural man, let us remember the importance of fasting, and how it can help us all become more spiritually in tune. Whenever I read this talk by elder Bowen, I am always very excited to fast. Knowing that it will only help me draw closer to God.
In the following verses we receive the promise that He will hear our prayers. We can approach Him with complete faith and confidence. Our hunger will be satisfied with the bread of life; our thirst will be quenched with the living water that never fails.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; …
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:9, 11).
Principle 3: Fasting helps us subdue the natural man.
Fasting requires discipline. Fasting helps us accomplish one of the vital purposes of life: developing self-mastery.
King Benjamin referred to this self-mastery as overcoming the natural man. He taught that the natural man is an enemy to God, always has been, and ever will be. If we don’t overcome the natural man in this life and become “a saint through the atonement of Christ” (Mosiah 3:19), we will never live with our Father in Heaven again. Our physical bodies are created in such a way that we can have a spiritual victory over the natural man each time we properly fast.
Principle 4: Fasting intensifies prayer.
In the scriptures I have found at least 49 references to fasting—25 of those link fasting to prayer. Proper fasting magnifies our ability to pray, study, and teach.
Principle 5: Fasting prepares us to bear testimony.
President Henry B. Eyring has taught:
“The fast also helps us to feel humble and meek so that the Holy Ghost may more easily be our companion. By our fast, we both keep our covenant to care for others and we prepare to keep our covenant to bear testimony.
“Those who have prepared carefully for the fast and testimony meeting won’t need to be reminded how to bear testimony should they feel impressed to do it in the meeting. They won’t give sermons nor exhortations nor travel reports nor try to entertain as they bear witness. Because they will have already expressed appreciation to people privately, they will have less need to do it publicly. Neither will they feel a need to use eloquent language or to go on at length.”2
As we all strive to put of the natural man, keep in mind the power of fasting. I love this article because it always gets me excited to fast and reminds me why it’s so important.
Sometimes i get caught up in the daily swing of life and i often forget what matters most in life. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Technology and things. Who has the newest phone or the coolest car. Who wears the nicest clothes. But in the end what does it matter?? I often think, do i want to be known for the car i drove or the clothes i wear, how much money I have. or do i want people to know me for who I am as a person. Christmas time is a time of remembrance. It is a special time of year to reflect on the savior. Not that it shouldn’t be special any other time of year. But christmas just adds something to it. I look back of Christ’s life. What do we remember him by. We remember him by is acts. The way he lived his life. He was the perfect example for us all to follow. Most of all he performed the Atonement for all of our sakes. Because of his love he was willing to die for you and me so that we may return and live with him and our father in heaven someday. So with Christmas right around the corner. Take a second and think…..what really matters?
I love this story that President Monson gave, it helps me to put into perspective some of the things that really do matter:
Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.
It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around the ticket counters conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They too wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books. If there was a common bond among this diverse throng it was loneliness: pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. …
The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more passengers stayed behind than made it aboard. …
Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.
Then there was a man in a finely-tailored gray flannel suit, who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork: figuring the year-end corporate profits perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby observing this busy man might have indentified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.
Suddenly the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.
The agent wearily told him that prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas, his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy, not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk casting anxious looks around the crowded room, as if seeking just one friendly face.
travelers who had been waiting long hours heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: 20, 30, 100, until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.
Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”
As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.
No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.
The lights of the departing plane blinked starlike as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently, now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered gently, pervasively in that small glass and plastic stable at gate 67.
My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Really, joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the world, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). …
As we contemplate how we are going to spend our money to buy gifts this holiday season let us plan also for how we will spend our time in order to help bring the true spirit of Christmas into the lives of others.
The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure. Throughout His ministry, He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the halt and the lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing, and He sowed light in the darkness.
He gave us His love, His service, and His life.
What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit—the spirit of Christ.
The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love, and with compassion and caring.
The Savior gave freely to all. And His gifts were of value beyond measure.
(Thomas S. Monson, “The Spirit We Feel at Christmastime”, New Era, Dec. 2010, 2–4 From the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, December 6, 2009.)
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Helaman 5:12)
I love this scripture, but lately it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. We need to build our foundation on Christ. He is our shield. Our rock!! So that When the Devil shall send forth his mighty winds. note the When!! He doesn’t say if. Satan is going to try to tempt us, he is going to try to make us mess up and make mistakes. But if we build our foundation on Christ we cannot fall!!! That doesn’t mean we will never mess up or we will not have hard times. We are all human and we make mistakes. But what happens when we make a mistake? We repent. we make it right. We apply the atonement of Christ into our lives and ask for forgiveness. Then we don’t look back. The Christ is our protection, our shield against the fiery darts of Satan.
“As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.” (Mosiah 26:30)
i love the story that president Packer told in his last general conference address:
President Joseph Fielding Smith told me of a repentant woman struggling to find her way out of a very immoral life. She asked him what she should do now.
In turn, he asked her to read to him from the Old Testament the account of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt.23 Then he asked her, “What lesson do you gain from those verses?”
She answered, “The Lord will destroy the wicked.”
“Not so!” President Smith said that the lesson for this repentant woman and for you is “Don’t look back!”
We are all going to make mistakes, that’s part of life. It’s part of living and learning. It’s how we grow. But when we make these mistakes we have a shield to protect us. That shield is the Atonement of Christ. Through him we can be made clean, It just takes a little repentance on our part. “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” (D&C 19:16) That doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want and not worry about the consequences. That is not true repentance. If we truly repent, we will turn away from sin, we will not want to do it anymore, we will fill sorrow for the things we’ve done wrong. But that sorrow doesn’t have to stay, if we have truly repented. Move on and DON’T LOOK BACK!
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (D&C 58:42)
“Some may contend that the savior cannot empathize with those who succumb to temptation because he never yielded and, therefore, he could not understand the apparently unique circumstances of those who did. The fallacy of such an argument is exposed by C.S. Lewis: ‘No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie, only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. you find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives into temptation after 5-minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means the only complete realist.'” –Tad R. Callister
Christ has suffered for all of our sins. He knows exactly what we are going through. That is why he is our protection and our shield. He is always there to comfort us and guide us. Because he has been through it all.
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
He’s paid the ultimate price for all of us. And if we come unto him, he can make us clean.
He is our Shield
I think many of the choices we make in this life can be influenced on the understanding of who we really are. When we come to realize who we really are and the potential that we can obtain, we start to view life differently and our way of thinking is changed. It is amazing what something as simple as figuring out who we really are, can do. We are all sons and daughters of God. We lived with him before we came to earth. We each have our unique talents and abilities for a reason. Use them!!!!! They were given to us from our Heavenly Father. We are all made in his image and have the potential to become like him. We are all here on earth to learn and grow. In order to do so we had to be given our agency, or the ability to make our own choices without any recollection of our life before. What an amazing opportunity!! Now what are you going to do with that opportunity??
You cannot relive yesterday, but you have every hope for tomorrow!!! -Pres. Pehrson
This post comes from a question I got from a friend out on the mission. He asked, “If the church is true, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, why is there so much going against it??
I thougth about it for a minute, then i figured, that to me is a testimony of it’s truth! All throughout the history of the world the Lord’s propthets have always been rejected. They never had it easy. Even Christ himself was rejected. It seems that the righteous will always be persecuted. Having thought on it for a little while I decided to go to the scriptures for some answers.
In 2Nephi 2:11 it says: “For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so,. . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” Just as Christ faced opposition and all the holy prophets before him. We must face opposition as well, in order to learn and grow, and appreciate happiness. ” For after much atribulation come the bblessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be ccrowned with much dglory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.”(D&C58:4) Blessings come from enduring hard times. The Church is always going to be attacked, but it is one thing for sure, that it will always stand strong!!! Nothing can stop the Lords work. In conclusion i want to share one last scripture that I have grown to love in this short time. i don’t remember ever hearing it until i started thinking about this. ” My people must be atried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the bglory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not cbear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.” (D&C: 136:31) Love it!!!!
Jesus the Christ
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). The gospel of Jesus Christ can bring us peace. As we follow the example of the Savior and do the things He has taught us to do, we are blessed with the influence of His Spirit. During times of trouble or when we feel afraid, the Holy Ghost will be with us, and we can feel this peace in our hearts. Near the close of His earthly mission, Jesus made this promise to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus knew His time on earth was short. He promised His disciples that when He left, Heavenly Father would send another Comforter to remain with them forever (see John 14:1618). This Comforter is the Holy Ghost, also referred to as the Spirit of truth. He was sent to teach the truth of all things and to help people remember the words of the Savior. (See John 14:26.) Summary The gospel of Jesus Christ can bring us peace. As we follow the example of Jesus and do what He has taught us to do, we are blessed with the influence of the Holy Spirit. During times of trouble or when we feel afraid, the Holy Ghost will be with us, and we can feel this peace in our hearts. The Holy Ghost helps us remember Jesus and obey His teachings.
Artist, Del Parson © 1992 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA