Relief Society Presidency Lesson given by Devon Linn
January 6, 2013
When we see these words, often our first thought is GUILT!!! We zoom to the ONE thing that we have the hardest time having self-control with.
This hits close to home for me a lot lately, and I have learned that some temptations are harder and bigger than I can handle alone.
The discussion today is not intended to make you feel terrible and hopeless and guilty. Try to only allow tiny twinges of the good, positive nudges that give you hope you can change!
WHAT EXACTLY IS SELF-MASTERY?
JAMES E. FAUST: In its simplest terms, self-mastery is doing those things we should do and not doing those things we should not do. It requires strength, willpower, and honesty.
What are some of our temptations and urges?
Eating unhealthy food (or too much food)
Losing our Temper (not being in control of our emotions)
Wasting time on a game or TV
Any addiction or sin (lying, pornography, stealing, etc)
Ill-thinking of others
Anger or other unhealthy emotional outbursts
Snapping or saying unkind things to those we love
Manipulation of others
Sometimes Self-Mastery involves ACTION or INACTION, but sometimes it’s purely our THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS we must control better.
Since thoughts precede deeds, you must first learn to control your thoughts. “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (.)
Self-mastery is a challenge for every individual. Only we can control our appetites and passions. Self-mastery cannot be bought by money or fame. It is the ultimate test of our character. It requires climbing out of the deep valleys of our lives and scaling our own Mount Everests. -James E. Faust “The Power of Self-Mastery”
Russell M. Nelson Quote from “Self-Mastery”
Before you can master yourself, my precious one, you need to know who you are. You consist of two parts—your physical body, and your spirit which lives within your body. You may have heard the expression “mind over matter.” That’s what I would like to talk about—but phrase it a little differently: “spirit over body.” That is self-mastery.
When you arrived as a newborn baby, your little body was master. You had what I call the “I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it” philosophy. No amount of discussion could postpone your impatient demands when you wanted to be fed—and now! But as you grow older, our concerns shift more toward your spiritual growth, in order that you might achieve your full potential. “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 becometh a saint.” (Mosiah 3:19.)
That requires self-mastery. Remember, “The spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15.) Both are of great importance. Your physical body is a magnificent creation of God. It is his temple as well as yours, and must be treated with reverence. Scripture declares: “Ye are the temple of God. … If any man defile [it], him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor. 3:16–17.)
So we have good intentions in life, but then stress comes along and POOF, there goes will power, self-control, and all the self-discipline we worked so hard to learn. NOW WHAT?
We obviously need some help overcoming our natural urges, so today I have TWO QUESTIONS that hopefully we can all discuss to maybe help one another have some new ways to overcome the natural man.
QUESTION 1: WHAT ARE SOME “IN THE MOMENT” WAYS WE CAN OVERCOME URGES, DESIRES?
- Focus on SOMETHING ELSE/ AVOIDANCE – If possible, leave the temptation
- Self-awareness: THINK ABOUT CONSEQUENCES
- Have Vision: Think about Motivations-- What is motivating this urge?
- Self-Assess; what makes it easier/harder to avoid this urge/this lack of self-control? Be your BEST SELF!
- PRAY: NOT JUST FOR WHAT YOU WANT: LISTEN!!! The Addiction Recovery Manual is a wonderful resource for these topics for ALL of us. It states: Our prayers may have been ineffective in the past because we spent more time counseling the Lord—telling Him what we wanted—than seeking His will about our decisions and conduct. Think of a recent experience with prayer. Was it full of counsel to the Lord or from the Lord?
- Watch (wait) and Pray - like the Bishop has previously taught us; sometimes we need to NOT ACT right away, but rather stop and wait, with awareness (watching) and a lot of prayer, until temptations can pass or until we can receive added strength from the Lord. Listen for SPIRIT: “The Savior said ‘I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 8:2,). . . . An impression to the mind is very specific. Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though the instructions were being dictated. A communication to the heart is a more general impression” (Richard G. Scott, “Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led,”).
- Remember, must Start Somewhere, sometime, some day – why not today? SO BE POWERFUL!
QUESTION 2: LONG-TERM WAYS WE CAN OVERCOME URGES, DESIRES?
- Be HONEST With Self. THIS IS A MOMENT OF HUMILITY & Part of LIFE
“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” Ether 12:27.
ARP Manual states:
Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.
- PRAY (answer to both questions!): Part of the humility, admit to the LORD that you are powerless to overcome the NATURAL MAN.
We are consumed with the Natural Man, we need to remember that often our urges are replacing something greater.
“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens” (Enos 1:4).
Fasting fortifies discipline over appetite and helps to protect against later uncontrolled cravings and gnawing habits. (Nelson)
- Stay in TOP SPIRITUAL CONDITION:
Self-evaluation throughout life is not a new concept. In the Book of Mormon, Alma taught that maintaining a mighty change of heart takes effort. In verse after verse, he indicated that honest, prayerful self-appraisal and immediate repentance must be a continual part of life (see Alma 5:14–30). To retain what you have gained, you must stay in fit spiritual condition. (ARP Manual)
- Focus on GRATITUDE! Look for Tender Mercies in our lives:
From ARP MANUAL: “We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).
- Yield to the Spirit – it trumps the Natural MAN!!!
- PREPARE AND EXPECT FUTURE STRUGGLES – GROW IN FAITH:
ARP MANUAL: You will grow in your ability to resist temptation as you study the scriptures and pray and meditate about them. Learning to receive revelation takes practice and patience. You can prepare yourself by studying what has been said by prophets and apostles and by trying to live according to their teachings. You can prepare by being ready to receive, write down, think about, and follow the guidance you receive. When you express gratitude to the Lord for the blessings you have received, your capacity to receive guidance will increase.
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF & DON'T LOSE HOPE!!!!
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3; or Ensign, May 1988, 4).
With the Lord, we are STRONGER than the Natural Man. We are stronger than any temptation, any flare in temper, any desire…we can become like HIM.
AND ABOVE ALL: LOOK TO THE SAVIOR:
By nature, we all tend to be undisciplined, yet by looking to Jesus Christ and the example He has set,
you will find the humility to continue submitting to the Father. Like the Savior, you will be able to say sincerely “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42) throughout the day. The Light of Christ will guide you and prepare you to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The companionship of the Holy Ghost will become more constant, and your ability to recognize and testify of truth will increase. Taken from the Addiction Recovery Manual
WE BECOME LIKE THE SAVIOR AS WE BECOME SELF-MASTERED!!!
IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!
IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!