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“Create in Me a Clean Heart”

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 24 “Create in Me a Clean Heart

Introduction:

I’m going to show you several pictures. Think about how each picture makes you feel.

1)      Blessing

2)      David and Goliath

3)      Prophet

Now think about how you would feel if I showed you pornographic photos, or suggestive photos, or aggressive photos, or violent photos.  What if I would have shown a picture of a really beautiful woman or a picture of a really hot guy?

How do you feel when you are with someone and they start talking about how wonderful their spouse is?

How do you feel if they start talking about how awful their spouse is?

Today’s discussion is about King David and Bathsheba.

David saw Bathsheba and he was tempted to commit adultery with her.

What should David have done when he saw Bathsheba bathing?  (Walked away and thought nothing more about her).

Instead, what did he do? (He asked about her and then sent for her).

What can we do to avoid being tempted to commit sexual sin?

*** Before we jump into this list.  I want to point out that every single one of us is vulnerable and a target.  If we dare say “I would never do that” we are putting a target on our backs for Satan to attack.  Likewise, if we say “I really struggle with this”, Satan will know an easy target and go after us.  We have to constantly work on being chaste, sober, loving, happy and peaceful.  That is what it means to “endure to the end”.

What are things we can avoid and how can we avoid them?

A)     Unclean or immoral thoughts …                 Uplifting thoughts  (avoid being negative)

B)      Pornographic or suggestive media …       Inspiring media (television shows that do not uplift, movies that have questionable topics, books that create hostile or jealous feelings)

C)      Unwholesome dating practices …             Strength for Youth

D)     Flirting after marriage …                                Continue to “court” your spouse and develop a deeper relationship (I want to stop her for a moment.  The other day on facebook, a friend’s status said that she had had fun flirting with the cute waiter on girls’ night out.  Is that okay?)

E)      Places and activities that don’t enable the companionship of the Holy Ghost …   Engage in positive activities.

Why do you think it is so important to avoid these things?

Just because you watch an R-rated show doesn’t mean you are going to kill someone.  Just because you go to a bar with your friends, doesn’t mean you are going to take a drink.  Just because you lust after the hot movie star doesn’t mean you will have an affair.

But it does plant thoughts, words, and actions in your mind.

In the Miracle of Forgiveness, President Kimball shares a poem by Henry Van Dyke.  It is called “Thoughts are Things”

QUOTE #1

I hold it true that thoughts are things;

They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings’

And that we send them fort to fill

The world with good results, or ill.

That which we call our secret thought

Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,

Leaving its blessings or its woes

Like tracks behind it as it goes.

We build our future, thought by thought,

For good or ill, yet know it not.

Yet, so the universe was wrought.

Thought is another name for fate’;

Choose, then , thy destiny and wait.

For love brings love and hate brings hate.

If our thoughts create who we are and what our fate is to become, it really is so important that we avoid the things that we have been counseled to avoid.  It makes sense to not test the limits and give something a try just once.

Elder Boyd K. Packer about how to dismiss unclean thoughts that have entered our minds uninvited:

“The mind is like a stage. Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind.

“Have you noticed that without any real intent on your part, in the middle of almost any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and attract your attention? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody. If you permit them to go on, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. You will be left, because you consented to it, to the influence of unrighteous thoughts.

“If you yield to them, they will enact for you on the stage of your mind anything to the limits of your toleration. They may enact a theme of bitterness, jealousy, or hatred. It may be vulgar, immoral, even depraved. When they have the stage, if you let them, they will devise the most clever persuasions to hold your attention. They can make it interesting all right, even convince you that it is innocent—for they are but thoughts.

“What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking, whether they be the gray ones that seem almost clean or the filthy ones which leave no room for doubt? If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have a happy life.

“This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you [may] have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.

“Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were. As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.

“In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began.

“Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind of unworthy thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting thoughts. Keep busy with things that are righteous” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1976, 99–100).

I love that the last sentence is “Keep busy with things that are righteous.”  Idleness is dangerous.  Keeping our mind busy with thoughts of righteousness, productiveness and areas for growth will help you avoid temptation and will have a grand positive result.

We have talked about how you are your thoughts and we’ve talked about them in a heavy and potentially damaging light.  I’d like to look at how just one single thought can become a wonderful blessing or life experience.  So rather than focusing on how David’s one thought started his spiral down, I’d like to share with you and example of how a small thought can bless your life.

My brother and his wife had an idea to travel around the world.  Tom had a lot of miles saved up from traveling so much with his work.  Eventually, they had enough saved up that they could take a year off and take their 4 children on a trip around the world.  They prepared, they saved and then they documented.

David, did not only sin by committing adultery but he continued to sin while he tried to cover it up.  He tried to trick Bathsheba’s husband.  He even had him “killed” in battle.  Covering up your sins only adds more sins on top of what you have already done.  It doesn’t go away until you have confessed and repented.  When you confess you will have a burden lifted.  The longer you carry your sin, the heavier the burden.

With repentance comes a sacrifice – you must have a broken heart and contrite spirit.  You can be cleansed of your sins and the Lord will remember them no more.  You must also remember to forgive yourself.  Accept the atonement of Jesus Christ and accept His love.  None of us are free from temptation.  None of us are free of sin.  But ALL of us have the love of our Savior and the ability to repent and be cleansed.

I am grateful for the atonement.  I know that Jesus loves us and not our sins.  I know that God can and will forgive us if we repent of our sins.  He will help us cleans our thoughts and put our lives in the right direction.  We simply have to ask and have faith that He will help us.

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