Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Robert D. Hales on daily spiritual renewal

Elder Robert D. Hales (1932- ) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
"This past winter I had the opportunity to learn more about my lungs. I became very aware that we cannot store oxygen. We cannot save the air we need to breathe, no matter how hard we try. Moment by moment, breath by breath, our lives are granted to us and are renewed. So it is with spiritual light. It must be renewed in us on a regular basis. We must generate it day by day, thought by thought, and with daily righteous action if we are to keep the darkness of the adversary away.
"When I was a boy, I used to ride my bicycle home from basketball practice at night. I would connect a small pear-shaped generator to my bicycle tire. Then as I pedaled, the tire would turn a tiny rotor, which produced electricity and emitted a single, welcome beam of light. It was a simple but effective mechanism. But I had to pedal to make it work! I learned quickly that if I stopped pedaling my bicycle, the light would go out. I also learned that when I was 'anxiously engaged' (D&C 58:27) in pedaling, the light would become brighter and the darkness in front of me would be dispelled.
"The generation of spiritual light comes from daily spiritual pedaling. It comes from praying, studying the scriptures, fasting, and serving—from living the gospel and obeying the commandments. 'He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light,' (D&C 93:28) said the Lord, 'and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day' (D&C 50:24). My brothers and sisters, that perfect day will be when we will stand in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ."
- Robert D. Hales, "Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light," Ensign, May 2002, pp. 69-72
Click here to read the full talk
Some years ago, when I was undergoing a medical treatment, I had an adverse reaction to some medication and suddenly found myself unable to breathe. Fortunately a well-trained nurse was nearby and was able to provide an antidote that quickly resolved the issue.  But it was a terrifying few minutes as I struggled to get that life-giving air. Perhaps only one who has been in such a situation fully appreciates Elder Hales' comment. The human body has no provision to store oxygen; it requires continuous replenishment. "Moment by moment, breath by breath, our lives are granted to us and are renewed." Elder Hales suggests a similar critical need for "spiritual light" in our lives, requiring the same kind of continuous replenishment. It's a great comparison.

He provides a further illustration in remembering a small device that used to be used on bicycles; I had one of these too in my youth. The simple generator worked as long as the bicycle was in motion. The consistency and intensity of the effort made the difference in the strength of the light produced, and thus the amount of darkness dispelled.

The spiritual analogy is clear. As our efforts in doing the things that produce light are more consistent and focused, greater light will enter our lives, growing "brighter and brighter until the perfect day."

Here is Elder Hales' summary of the kinds of things involved in "spiritual pedaling" to generate more "spiritual light" in our lives:

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