Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Manly Man Training #2 Use our "liberty" for service

Todays training comes from Galations chapter five.

Galations 5:13-14  "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Here we have Paul talking directly to the men of the church and telling us to use our "liberty" which I understand to be free time/discretionary time to be of service to others.  We are warned not to use our "liberty" as "occasion to the flesh" in other words avoid everything from sexual sins to violence (these tend to be free time activities since we manage to mostly avoid them when we are busy with something worth doing).  He gives a good list of things that are "the works of the flesh" in verses 19-21 that of course we are to avoid. 

He also tells us to follow the Spirit as the Spirit is opposed to the flesh and will lead us to do good things and away from the sinful harmful free time activities already mentioned. Ultimately anything that takes us from the Spirit will lead us into all kinds of problems but if we follow the Spirit it leads us to all kinds of good including "loving thy neighbor as thyself" (v. 14).

So I'm thinking what are some of those free time killers today that harm us and "lusteth against the Spirit" (v. 17) keeping us from "do[ing] the things that you would" (v. 17).  In other words what are modern activities (which interestingly enough all the ancient bad choices tend to remain available but now we have some additional high tech ones) which keep us from developing our sensitivity to the Spirit and don't allow us to do what we really want to do?  [Note: I might add that the ancient good choices remain available along with some high tech good choices as well.]

What are some of those free time and Spirit killers?  Could violent video games, pornography, movies and TV shows that generate sexual feelings in us or are gory and violent, those things harm the Spirit.  What about sports that we feel so strongly about that we get angry or depressed when things don't go our way?  What about Internet activities that make us unhappy with our lives and circumstances such that we envision or fantasize about doing unkind or mean things to others? Things that encourage us to "be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another" (v. 26)?  

With the Spirit we engender "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (v. 22-23) which are things we would want to have more of in our life, wouldn't we?  That's the definition of a 'manly man' so I hope so.  With these positive attributes we would attract people to us who do similar activities and people who want to have and be what they see us being.  Undoubtedly that would give us plenty of service and missionary opportunities.   

Okay, lets get to the nitty gritty.  Sometimes we as men don't get enough opportunities to do service.  Actually it is more correctly said that we don't serve enough.  Have you ever noticed how much harder it is for the Elders quorum to have a service project than for the Relief Society?  Or ever noticed the difference in the turn out?  Maybe that explains a reason that the males have the Priesthood which is all about service.  If indeed males are naturally less likely to serve as I have heard some opine, then of course Heavenly Father would help us with that weakness by the gift of significant service responsibilities.  Hey! that's what the Priesthood is!  Sounds like an opportunity to make a strength out of a weakness!

Which reminds me of this quote by Pres. Kimball: "I have learned that it is by serving that we learn how to serve.  When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen [and lets not think that leaves out the ladies], not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective.  When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves.  In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 254).  When we serve we end up making something of ourselves that we otherwise would miss out on.  Since this is vital in having the Spirit lets use our manliness to be of service to others. 

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