Are you longing to experience a real and authentic spiritual awakening? One that has a significant impact in your life and the life around those you love? Are you hungering for a significant and spiritual impact on your recovery? These 9-core spiritual disciplines and behaviors will not only provide you a true authentic spiritual experience. It will impact in how you influence those around you.
The aim of living in recovery is to deepen our transformation and help us become more like Jesus Christ. For this reason, when we engage in recovery, we’re not just looking for new information; we want to become a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This means relying on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to help us change our hearts, our views, our actions, and our very natures.
However, the kind of spiritual transformation that strengthens our faith and leads to the miracle of recovery doesn’t happen all at once. It extends beyond any community based sober support group, individual counseling session, or even group therapy, and into an individual’s heart and home. It requires consistent, daily efforts to understand and live according to new values and beliefs. True recovery and transformation requires the influence of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Christ, through the Holy Spirit, guides us to the truth and bears witness of that truth (see John 16:13). He enlightens our minds, quickens our understandings, and touches our hearts with revelation from God, the source of all truth. Through the Holy Ghost we are purified in our hearts and minds. He inspires in us a desire to live by truth, and He whispers to us ways to do this. Truly, “the Holy Ghost … shall teach [us] all things” (John 14:26).
For these reasons, in our efforts to live, learn, and spiritually transform our lives through recovery; we first and foremost seek the companionship of the Spirit. This goal governs our choices and guides our thoughts and actions. We seek after whatever invites the influence of the Spirit and reject whatever drives that influence away—for we know that we walk in the presence of Christ and our Heavenly Father.
By having a spiritual transformation through our own recovery journey – we are empowered to have a true and measurable spiritual influence and impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. This is because we have come to find ways to lift ourselves up and rise above those circumstances where we had:
- Significant disadvantages in certain situations
- Crushing circumstances
- Limited capabilities
Our ability to have a significant spiritual influence and impact on our lives require us to develop 9-core behaviors that we sustain daily. Through these behaviors, we not only impact our own spiritual transformation, we are able to influence and impact others to have a spiritual transformation experience in their own recovery.
Dedicate self to find and sustain life meaning and purpose
Finding and sustaining a sense of meaning and purpose gives us direction, motivation, and commitment. By establishing a way of living that is intentional, where there is meaning, and having a sense of purpose; makes an impact because through it, we share our story and our message of hope. We become driven and focused with passion where we are not deterred or distracted.
The Apostle Paul gives us this wise counsel:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28, ESV
Through our relationship with Jesus Christ, we come to an intimate knowledge of God’s purpose for our lives. We draw meaning as we seek Him daily. And, while we have plans to move forward, it is through God’s purpose where we draw out spiritual significance and meaning to follow His will (Proverbs 20:5).
Commit to self-improvement and personal growth every day
One of the greatest personal awareness is understanding we are not perfect individuals. Neither are we completely knowledgeable. This is because of the “gaps”, prejudices, biased limitations we have. From a spiritual standpoint, we fully come to realize we are nothing outside of Jesus Christ.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.John 15: 4-10, KJV
When we commit to self-improvement – we are committed to being successful in our personal, spiritual, and professional lives. This includes being successful in our recovery program and journey. Our daily commitment to self-improvement, growth, and spiritual maturity will eventually flow from us to impact and influence those around us. It is a permanent act we engage in every day of our lives.
By becoming better disciples of Jesus Christ, and abide in Him, we approach life with a compassionate and loving heart. We become charitable. Possess an openness to learn, to see, and to experience new things on the way of becoming better individuals.
Engage with other people where it is open and mutually beneficial
Making a spiritual impact and influence in the coming year means that we want to come to understand the power of relationships. Again, we turn to the Master – Jesus Christ – in order to learn how to be connected, engaging with the world with openness and humility. Christ’s example shows us:
- Not to be afraid to get “out there” and connect with people
- Share our knowledge, wisdom, and talents
- Be open in sharing authentic, and often contrarian, viewpoints and opinions
- Overcome any introversion, shyness, or trepidation and reluctance to be who we truly are
- Develop emotional intelligence and have learned to relate well with others
- Build relationships that are mutually supportive that catapult both parties to higher sense of living
Through Jesus Christ, we are empowered to build authentic relationships that are supportive. These types of relationships are foundation to working toward achieving those things God calls us to achieve.
Invest time and energy in what may be
Part of growth is vulnerability. While we learn, grow in our understanding, we want to share what helps us. It is part of our nature to share. How else are we going to make a significant and powerful influence and impact on our lives? Think of the parable of the talents. In April of 2001, Apostle Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk on Focus and Priorities where he mentions the importance of this parable:
We are accountable and will be judged for how we use what we have received. This eternal principle applies to all we have been given. In the parable of the talents (see Matt. 25:14–30), the Savior taught this principle with reference to the use of property. The principle of accountability also applies to the spiritual resources conferred in the teachings we have been given and to the precious hours and days allotted to each of us during our time in mortality.General Conference, April 2001, Dallin H. Oaks – Focus and Priorities
In April 1981, Franklin D. Richards gave this understanding of the talents:
Let us now consider the great eternal principle of work. During his earthly ministry, the Savior gave a beautiful parable dealing with the requirement that we work.General Conference – April 1981; Franklin D. Richards, Life – A Great Proving Ground
The parable of the entrusted talents told of a man who was about to leave on a long trip and he, therefore, called his servants together and gave them his goods. To one he gave five talents, to another he gave two, and to another he gave one. To each man he gave according to his ability.
While the master was away, the one who received five talents put them to use and made five more talents. The man who received two talents put them to use and made two more, but the man who received one talent hid it in the ground.
The master returned and asked for an accounting.
To the servants who had multiplied their talents, the master said: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” (Matt. 25:23.)
The master called the servant who had hidden his talent and did not multiply it a slothful servant and said he would take the one talent from him and give it to the servant who had ten talents.
What a marvelous philosophy—the gospel of work!
When we begin to walk in total surrender to God’s will and divine guidance and wisdom, we no longer find ourselves in a position of conformity. Making a spiritual impact and influence in our personal, professional, and community life means that we rise up when we see something that agitates and disturbs us. We strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors in order to arrive at practical and real solutions.
This also requires the ability to be observing of any mistakes made and gaps in common thinking. A high degree in self-confidence and trust in what we value and believe in so that boundaries of what may be accepted. Making a spiritual impact and influence requires we be aware and empowered to affect necessary change in order to bring about a better way to live life.
Embrace critique as a pathway to growth and enriching influence
Spiritual influence and impact does not mean we are right. To make a powerful and positive influence means we are willing to grow and be more efficient and effective. We embrace criticism and walk toward the challenge. Overcome the fear of ridicule – embrace ridicule when we put ourselves and our work out there and learn from others.
We strengthen through adversity and opposition while integrating constructive feedback in order to strengthen our own perception, values, and worldview. Welcome and embrace open dialogue where scrutiny is allowed. Always maintaining humility – despite the negative feedback. It is not about wanting to be right. It is about being heard, supported, and listened too.
Share our worldview, opinions, and perceptions with others
Conversations today, especially through social media, is toxic, shameful, belittling, and lacks any sense of understanding. Many proclaim to be “experts” when in reality are nothing but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal (See, 1 Corinthians 13:1). The idea behind sounding brass means that a person is hollow in their speech and behaviors.
The words “sounding brass” are very important in this verse. Let’s begin our study today with the word “brass.” It comes from the Greek word chalkos, an old word that referred to metal. However, it wasn’t just any metal; it was bronze or copper to which a small amount of tin had been added. This tin caused the metal to have a hollow, empty sound when it was beaten. That is why Paul also used the word “sounding” — the Greek word echo, which described a noise that reverberates or echoes. When these two words were used together, they portrayed the endless beating of metal that produces a hollow, annoying, irritating echo that seems to eternally reverberate.Do You Sound Like a Sounding Brass Or a Tinkling Cymbal?
When we engage in sharing our opinions, our worldview, and what we know and understand – does not mean we are complete and knowledgeable experts. It means, we are vulnerable to share our ideas in a way that is genuine and authentic. Our mindset is focused on making a positive and powerful spiritual impact and influence in other people’s lives. It is knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment we want to share with all the world.
We believe our ideas and innovations are of use and possess value to help improve other people’s lives. We are motivated to share what we learn – and the truism is lived out: The more you give, the more you get in return.
Uplift others as we move forward and grow
Character and integrity is what motivates a person to become a significant and powerful influencer and making a significant impact. Spiritual guidance, wisdom, and counsel helps a person develop this character. The results are amazing in how they live out their lives. The process and transformation becomes encouraging. As it inspires and is uplifting to other people struggling.
As we embrace the new year, our ability to make a powerful and significant spiritual impact and influence comes when we are happy to help and support others. Have an overflow of energy that enriches the lives of everyone we work with. They begin to hunger for what we have. We desire for others to grow with us.
Part of this comes discernment to know when to walk away from anything that may be hurtful, damaging, or destructive in our own personal lives and in the lives of others. Character is built on knowing how to operate within ethical and spiritual disciplines and principles.
Our spiritual journey and pilgrimage is our goal
Real spiritual impact and influence comes when we are not taking any short cuts, settle for something that is quick or easy. Making a real spiritual impact and influence is not based on arbitrary goals or outcomes. It is not even focused on the destination. It is all in the experience, growing pains, and journey that we experience the greatest blessings in life. This does not mean we diminish the destination of immortality and eternal life. However, it does mean that this life is meant for us to experience, enjoy, and have an abundance of blessings as we strive to be perfected in Christ.
It comes down to what we are learning, experiencing, and what we build that enriches and helps other people. We ultimately leave this life with a legacy for others. There is no defining destination.
This includes how we embrace our failings, weaknesses, and utilize them as information to help guide us in our journey and spiritual growth. We are not rigid individuals. Instead, we become flexible and fluid. We allow ourselves to move from “Why” in order to be more open to the “how’s”. Our legacy is in how we helped encouraged other people to grow.
Spiritual power and influence is used wisely and well
The final core behavior that helps us make a significant and powerful spiritual impact and influence is based on the wisdom and wellness in how we wield it. This requires us to center our focus on Jesus Christ. He is the greatest example of making a significant and powerful spiritual influence and impact in the lives. He was judicious in his dealings with those around him.
We read his interactions with the religious leaders, his connection and relationship with the Father. The temptations and adversity he faced. At any given moment, he held the power to bring destruction and harm to those who challenged him. He had the power to come down from the cross. He had the power to walk out of the Garden of Gethsemane in order to not endure the suffering before him.
Yet, he operated with unconditional love, with a pure heart that is deeply committed in bring about our need for redemption and salvation. Let us fashion ourselves after this manner. To be careful and judicious in our dealings. To watch our words, manage our actions and behaviors. Operate out of a heart that is full of love and deep compassion in how we lead and communicate. Understand the powerful influence we wield every day of our lives.
It is something we ought to take seriously, as a special honor and responsibility. It is not for us to flaunt or misuse. We understand and operate under grace, love, and compassionate care.
Let us go forth and answer the call to come follow after Christ. Are you longing to make a positive impact in our society today? Are you wanting to become a person who has a significant and powerful spiritual influence in your home? Workplace? Community?
I invite you to pray and meditate on these 9-core behaviors. Seek God’s wisdom and guiding counsel. Read through the Book of Mormon every day as part of the call to come follow Christ. And, strive to be perfected in Christ as you seek to become spiritually mindful, aware, and a great influence.