Friday, February 5, 2016

The Worlds Lies vs. Words of the Wise

Phrases like "don't follow the worlds lies", "don't go with the popular crowd" or "don't worry about what anyone else says, just follow your heart" as well as memes like this:

...are so ubiquitous in today's world that, in all honesty, you'd think that there would be no "mindless lemmings" left in the world.  But of course, no matter how much you repeat truth there will always someone to oppose it.  The irony of how often those kinds of ideas are repeated is easily seen in how many likes, shares and comments are given to those ridiculous "share if you believe in Jesus, ignore if you're a devil worshipper" posts.  That's just one example of the insane number of social movements or fads that somehow convinces people to all of the sudden abandon any individual thought process or logical weighing of pros and cons before deciding that following the crowd is a good idea.

We are surrounded by so many campaigns, movements, fundraisers, hashtags, prayer requests, share requests, etc. that too often anyone who is not paying close enough attention to God's prophets instantly turns into a feather in the ever shifting winds of societal brainwashing the second someone says, in some way, "look at me!"

Don't get me wrong, the world is full of bad and good messages.  I am a huge proponent of anti-pornography groups, supporting victims of natural disasters, Christmas hashtag campaigns and such.  However, even when it comes to causes that I support, there are quite frequently large crowds that have faulty perspectives on the subject matter.  Many times people take a good thing and turn into something bad.  That's how the devil works.  He takes good information and uses it or portrays it in a harmful way.  God presents truth and encourages us with love and open invitation to follow Him.  He does use passive aggressive guilt trips or declare that not sharing or liking a post on social media automatically means we are some kind of antagonist.  Perpetuating those kinds of things, as innocent as the intention may be, is only good for giving immature people the kind of attention they don't deserve and doesn't do anyone any good.

Anyways, I'm not intending this post to just be about guilt trip meme's, so I'm sorry if I seemed a little superfluous there.

The point with this whole thing is to emphasize what Elder David A. Bednar so eloquently said: “Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong.  It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant and the necessary from that which is merely nice."

One of my personal weaknesses is sometimes latching on to things that energize me without enough regard to any risks of unhealthy dependency on it.  I'm not talking about issues like pornography, drugs, gambling or things like that, although those are definitely huge problems in society and in one of those cases I have first hand experience in the damage it causes.  What I'm talking about is stuff like movies, music, social media and similar habits that, of themselves, aren't bad.  They are actually really good when used right, and I'll go as far as to say they are indispensable tools in building the kingdom of God.  But with my personal weakness, I get so hyper focused on pursuits that are good - not just limited to what I have mentioned - that they turn into a problem when I get too intensely focused them, to the point of putting more important things off and momentarily loosing track of where my priorities should be.

I've had times where I'm engrossed in a new idea I have for a religious piece of music but I'll get so into it (composers understand that, when it's flowing it's flowing) that I forget about other even more important things, like family and home responsibilities, that I should be getting done first.

I need to work on that a lot.

I've heard some people say I talk about the Jesus Christ and His gospel too much.  Bringing this up is in no way meant to point them out.  I've been told that it's annoying how much I talk about or relate everything to Him and His Atonement.  I mourn for those people.  I'm not angry at them.  I feel nothing but concern and pray to my Father in Heaven that they will understand that mortality should not be a matter of "here's my religious life and then there's my regular life."  Our commitment to Christ should never just be something on our daily 'to-do' list.  It needs to be meshed and woven somehow into every waking moment of our lives.  This doesn't have to mean that we over do it by spending every minute studying scriptures, talking to people about the gospel, preparing or studying lessons, etc.  That's ridiculous.  What it does mean is that we live in a way that the reason for everything we do is to strengthen the relationships we have with Christ and, with Him, our families.  I once heard a wise man say he tries to consistently ask himself "would the Holy Ghost tell me to do this?"

I would add "Would the Holy Ghost encourage me to pursue this, want this, encourage this, etc?"  If the answer isn't an immediate, confident, joyous 'yes', then it's time to reconsider.

It is so easy to get swept up in the everything the media and industry giants throw at us, the newest neatest program, toy, fad, campaigns, movement or fundraiser.  I know how difficult it can be.  Whenever a new Marvel movie, new software title, or Tim Horton's doughnut comes out, I'm right on it.  I often annoy my wife and others talking about how much I am excited about it.  I have my personal weaknesses in this area, even to the point of turning a good thing into a bad thing by allowing it to temporarily take my focus off of things that are just as or more important.

It's far better to rely on the Lord's wisdom as given by His prophets over the world's pseudo-happiness.  There is no level of commitment to Him that is too high, no amount of focus on Him that is too intense, no such thing as admiring Him too much, no such thing as wanting to be too much like Him (different from being Him),

No monetary, academic, scientific, political, or democratic success (to name a few) can or will ever compensate for failure to center our homes and families on the Savior.  There is no shame in living words of the wise, His words, instead of being deluded by the worlds lies, no matter how "appealing" they seem.

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