Lately my studies have turned to digging deeper into my life’s purpose and studying how I can access the gifts I have been blessed with but am not using to their full capacity. This compilation of quotes, videos and thoughts are some of the interesting ones that I have come across during my readings. I pray these will also spark interest within yourself and help you find an empowerment and understanding that you were given everything you would need before coming to this life and that God did not send you here to fail.
“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God.” – Ezra Taft Benson
“All the spirits of men, while yet in the Eternal Presence, developed aptitudes, talents, capacities, and abilities of every sort, kind, and degree. During the long expanse of life which then was, an infinite variety of talents and abilities came into being. As the ages rolled, no two spirits remained alike. Mozart became a musician; Einstein centered his interest in mathematics; Michelangelo turned his attention to painting. … Abraham and Moses and all of the prophets sought and obtained the talent for spirituality. …When we pass from [one life to the next], we bring with us the traits and talents there developed. True, we forget what went before because we are here being tested, but the capacities and abilities that then were ours are yet resident within us. Mozart is still a musician; Einstein retains his mathematical abilities; Michelangelo his artistic talent; Abraham, Moses, and the prophets their spiritual talents and abilities. … And all men with their infinitely varied talents and personalities pick up the course of progression where they left it off when they left the heavenly realms.” – Bruce R. McConkie
“Each day the forces of evil and the forces of good pick up new recruits. Each day we personally make many decisions that show where our support will go. The final outcome is certain – the forces of righteousness will finally win. What remains to be seen is where each of us personally, now and in the future, will stand in this fight – and how tall we will stand. Will we be true to our last-days, foreordained mission?” – Ezra Taft Benson
We were foreordained to certain tasks and assignments before coming into this life. Patriarchal blessings often provide clues to what some of those assignments were. But I believe, because of the nature of the time table we were all born in, that one of our most important assignments is to fight in the fight of good and evil, bear up the Kingdom of the Lord, hasten the work, and bring as many children as we can unto Him that they also might be protected and saved during the cleansing of the earth in the latter days.
God knew what we would be up against when we prepared to come into this mortal body. Before coming here, we were given the necessary tools – or spiritual gifts – that would help us prepare and succeed in the very assignments we had agreed to perform for Him during our time here.
When you prepare for a trip, you pack everything you think you will need. You even take time to go to the store to get things you don’t currently have, that will help make your trip better. When you send a missionary out into the field, you first spend time preparing and getting the necessary shoes, clothing, and gear they will need in their assigned area. If you go to battle – you make sure you have the weapons, armor, food and shelter that you need to survive. Then why would it be any different when we were preparing to come to earth?
“[God] knows in advance every strategy the enemy will use against you and the Kingdom. He knows your weaknesses and He knows your strengths. By revelation, personal to you, you may discover some of these strengths and weaknesses through a careful and prayerful study of your patriarchal blessing. Through proper prayer you can ask him to reveal to you your weaknesses so that you can amend your life.” Ezra Taft Benson
One of my favorite things to do when studying the scriptures is focusing on what the different groups of people did to not only prepare for battle, but to protect themselves at all costs so they would not have to fight. Captain Moroni, along with many other great leaders, studied their opponent’s weaknesses so they could be strong and overcome them in those different ways. They also studied their own weaknesses and fortified themselves – so that when the Lamanites came to conquer, they were unpleasantly surprised and taken back by the extensive preparation measures of the Nephites.
Though this video is about addiction and might not seem applicable, I invite you to watch it with an honest heart. Addiction isn’t just to certain substances. It can be to social media, wasting time in front of the TV, bad eating habits, shopping, going into debt, being co-dependent to people or things, worshiping celebrities or anything that is a distraction that Satan knows he can use against you to neutralize you in the fight for good and evil.
I often go to the Lord in prayer and have Him help me make a list of all my weaknesses that the adversary uses against me. After making a list, I will prayerfully study different books and topics so that I can make plans and change myself that I might become stronger and more prepared for the attacks of the adversary. I have found it not only helpful to study my personal weaknesses, but also my strengths that the Lord has given me so I can use those to my advantage, and fortify my forces both on this side and the other side of the veil.
“One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable…God has given each of us one or more special talents. … It is up to each of us to search for and build upon the gifts which God has given. We must remember that each of us is made in the image of God, that there are no unimportant persons. Everyone matters to God and to his fellowmen. ” – Marvin J. Ashton
“Sometimes we are so focused in this life, we forget what is most important. If we could take the veil away from us, our whole perspective would change. We would become more humble and give more importance to the Lord and not so much importance to man.” – David Dickson
“We come into this world with the soul intent to remember who we are – our gifts, our glory, our power, and our God-Self. We chose an interesting way of remembering by experiencing who we are not.” – Carol Tuttle
Ask Heavenly Father in prayer. He will show you your strengths. Sit back and meditate on where your strengths lie. Think about compliments you receive. I have found in my own life that my greatest strengths, are also my greatest weaknesses, and that is too often how I think of them. Get a pen and paper out and study these next few quotes. Make a list of any spiritual gifts that come to you by revelation.
“Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost. We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us.” – Marvin J. Ashton
“Now, the gift of discerning of spirits not only gives men and women who have it the power to discern the spirit with which others may be possessed or influenced, but it gives them the power to discern the spirit which influences themselves. They are able to detect a false spirit and also to know when the Spirit of God reigns within them. In private life this gift is of great importance to the Latter-day Saints. Possessing and exercising this gift they will not allow any evil influence to enter into their hearts or to prompt them in their thoughts, their words or their acts. They will repel it; and if perchance such a spirit should get possession of them, as soon as they witness its effects they will expel it or, in other words, refuse to be led or prompted by it.”– George Q. Cannon
“…the gift of discernment operates basically in four major ways. First, as we “read under the surface,” discernment helps us detect hidden error and evil in others. Second, and more important, it helps us detect hidden errors and evil in ourselves. Thus the spiritual gift of discernment is not exclusively about discerning other people and situations, but, as President Cannon taught, it is also about discerning things as they really are within us. Third, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in others. And fourth, it helps us find and bring forth the good that may be concealed in us. Oh, what a blessing and a source of protection and direction is the spiritual gift of discernment!” – David A. Bednar
“The gift of the power of discernment in this world of contention between the forces of good and the power of evil is essential equipment for every son and daughter of God… With that gift we shall be free, to a great extent, from the deception that otherwise might lead us astray.” – Matthew B. Brown
I have seen the adversary work very hard on incredible people by making them feel incapable, unworthy or unimportant. I think it is important during these times to study the nature of God and remember that these thoughts and feelings are never put into our minds and hearts by Him. Don’t let the adversary trick you. You are powerful beyond measure, and as long as you remember that, he will never have the upper hand in your life. Consider these accounts of God’s nature to bless us:
“But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally;” D&C 46:7
Jeffrey R. Holland once said, “Just because God is God, just because Christ is Christ, they cannot do other than care for us and bless us and help us if we will but come unto them approaching their throne of grace in meekness and lowliness of heart. They can’t help but bless us. They have to. It is their nature.“
“…he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit; He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.” D&C 46:28-30
My heart is full at the fact that I cannot even comprehend how much God loves us and wants us to succeed. So if God is so loving, why are there some things we must ask for instead of Him just giving them to us? For me it is a challenge of my faith, and my gratitude and testimony are strengthened when I am humbled, ask for help, and then receive it. George Q. Cannon explains the process of obtaining help and new gifts very beautifully:
“If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not. So with all the gifts of the gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, “Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.” He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them. If a man lack wisdom, it is his duty to ask God for wisdom. The same with everything else. That is the design of God concerning His Church. He wants His Saints to be perfected in the truth. For this purpose He gives these gifts and bestows them upon those who seek after them, in order that they may be a perfect people upon the face of the earth, notwithstanding their many weaknesses, because God has promised to give the gifts that are necessary for their perfection.”
I love the belief that we can pray for any gift to strengthen our weaknesses and that God will give it to us because He loves us. I have seen this over and over in my own life. Not only can we study the gifts we have already been given, but we can study and pray for gifts that we are in need of.
“First, one must identify needs. Spiritual gifts for specific needs are available “by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them” (Moro. 10:8); but exactly what gifts do you need? Are you a priesthood leader? A Relief Society president? A Primary teacher? A hometeacher? What gifts are expedient for you? For a parent, anxious about the spiritual welfare of his children and uncertain about what they need to know and how he can best teach them, it might come as a great blessing to know, for example, that the ability to teach with conviction is something that he can be given. If we can identify our areas of need, we can then begin to seek diligently to meet that need. Having identified specific needs, it simply remains for us to truly express the desires of our hearts to the Lord—to ask that a gift might be granted. We must not ask for gifts as a sign, but as a means of obeying the Lord’s commandments in our earthly stewardships, for “if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation” (D&C 88:65).” – Johnson (December Ensign 1975)
Too often I hear people talk about them being less of a person – comparing their spiritual gifts to those of others. While there are many things I could say about this, I just want to reiterate that:
- Any feelings of unworthiness or comparison that paralyze us or cause us to forget our divine worth come from the adversary, not from God.
- You can pray and ask for ANY spiritual gift and if you work hard at proving to God that you will use it, He will grant it to you. Sometimes it takes time to develop these gifts – and sometimes we have to change our heart so that we want it for the right reasons, but I promise if your intentions are pure, God will grant you the desires of your hearts.
If we let the adversary confuse, paralyze or distract us, we will live our whole life below our divine potential. I think we could all think of someone who lives below their privileges – but do we ever stop and take a look in the mirror?
“Thus they go on, living only a shadow of the life they could have led, never rising to the potential that is their birthright … these are among those unfortunate souls who “die with most of their music still in them.” – Uchtdorf
If we choose to not access the blessings that we were promised we would have available to us in this life, we are choosing to live under our privileges. It’s like going into battle without any weapons or armor. A video that demonstrates this concept can be found here.
“It would appear from the scriptures that our Father desires to grant these gifts even more ardently than we desire to receive them.” – Lane Johnson
God is so eager to bless us, and yet we spend so much of our time hiding from the blessings he is anxious to bestow upon us. Here is another video related to this topic.
How do we live worthily to deserve such blessings and gifts? I believe a lot of it has to do with where our internal motives lie. Are we spending our time day and night to build the Lord’s kingdom? Or our own personal worldly kingdom? When we align our will with His, I have found He is more willing to pour out these blessings because He knows they will be used to better His children. I love this quote by Lane Johnson,
“The conditions for receiving these gifts have always been the same: obedience to the Lord’s commandments and the ordering of one’s life in accordance with the principles of the gospel. Where disobedience and unrighteousness enter in, the Spirit withdraws and spiritual gifts are lost.”
Just as easily as we can obtain new gifts, or access gifts we unknowingly posses, we can also lose gifts when we become distracted and miss the mark. I am as guilty as anyone, and constantly find myself re-aligning my priorities, my free time, and my motives to make sure I am giving all I have to God’s use in His kingdom.
Too many of us wander lost, feeling confused, “off track” from where we should be, and yet the Lord is constantly pouring out his help, blessings, and sending angels to help us during this journey. Don’t ever forget that help is always available to those who seek it. You are here for a purpose. Turn to the Lord and I promise He will help you discover not only your purpose and mission here in this life, but will direct you to the spiritual gifts that lie within you to ensure your success.