Thursday, April 10, 2008

Blogging by the Spirit

When speaking in Sacrament meeting or teaching a class, I subscribe to Gene R. Cook's method described in his book "Teaching by the Spirit." My mission president gave me this book early in my mission, and it changed the way I teach. To sum it up, it is essentially focusing on self-preparation rather than speech-preparation. In it, the speaker reads, ponders, lives according to the commandments and prays, then stands up to teach and lets the Spirit take over. It is a slightly frightening way to teach, especially at first, and I've had a few times where my confidence overreached my humility and it didn't go well.

Nevertheless, I've found it highly effective both to teach and to learn. This year, I've applied it to Sunday lessons, though I've only taught once. I find the lessons are far more meaningful, and the scriptures are merging into one in ways I never before understood. It is also highly effective in less formal teaching/learning moments in life, such as when a friend needs help, when driving . . . and when blogging.

Although I once found debating points of opinion scintillating, I have progressed to a point where I no longer enjoy it. Discussion is still enjoyable to me, but it is easy to discern between the two. There is a certain level of hostility absent in discussion. The Spirit departs from debate. In blogging and commenting on blogs, I have tried to apply this method. If what I am saying has any significance at all, if I cannot feel the Spirit flowing through my mind and heart and into my fingers, I refrain from "speaking." I've mentioned this once before.

I have found that I spend a lot less time reading and writing on blogs (a blessing, since I don't have much time to spare) and more time away from the computer, pondering on the "things of eternity". My understanding and heart has opened more to the things of God.

I try to no longer engage in debate of any kind. The part of me that once found it intellectually stimulating now realizes that it was just a disguised attempt to prove how smart/intelligent/wise/spiritual I was to myself. Moreover, I don't really want to be intellectually stimulated in that way nearly as much as I want to be spiritually stimulated. There is no way for the "natural" or intelligent man to understand the things of God. There is no way for an intellectual discussion devoid of the Spirit to bring us to better understanding of God's ways.

Intelligence is good when it submits to the Spirit, but if it doesn't, it is better not to be intelligent. What is more, if you write by the Spirit, nothing anyone says against you matters. You know you were doing your best to follow the Lord's will for you. If you write when filled with the Spirit, though you may be frightened of the judgment of men, you are a prophet of God.


  1. Well done.

    Many of us have been preparing to discuss the gospel all our lives - when we do this we have in a way earned the right to 'wing it' by the spirit.

  2. There's something about this post that really rings true. You've expressed some things that "hit home" to me and invite some self-evaluation and reflection. I thank you for the thoughts.


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