Consistency in our Worship
“Consistency”—steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.
Consistent to what though?
Consistent in what?
- Strict Obediance
- Daily spiritual nourishment
- Patterns of righteous daily living
Be Consistent (More Diligent and Concerned at Home - Elder Bednar)
As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.
Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as “He’s touching me!” “Make him stop looking at me!” “Mom, he’s breathing my air!” Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.
Today if you could ask our adult sons what they remember about family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening, I believe I know how they would answer. They likely would not identify a particular prayer or a specific instance of scripture study or an especially meaningful family home evening lesson as the defining moment in their spiritual development. What they would say they remember is that as a family we were consistent.
Sister Bednar and I thought helping our sons understand the content of a particular lesson or a specific scripture was the ultimate outcome. But such a result does not occur each time we study or pray or learn together. The consistency of our intent and work was perhaps the greatest lesson—a lesson we did not fully appreciate at the time.
In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.
Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”
The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.
A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
As we seek the Lord’s help and in His strength, we can gradually reduce the disparity between what we say and what we do, between expressing love and consistently showing it, and between bearing testimony and steadfastly living it. We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we are more faithful in learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Examples of where our consistency is needed:
#1: Strict Obedience
- Alma 57:21—2000 stripling warriors were obedient with exactness
- 1 Samuel 15—Samuel teaches Saul what it means to be obedient with exactness — “to obey is better than to sacrifice”
- Moses 5:4-8—Adam obeyed simply because the Lord commanded him to
- "However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure. Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation. Procrastination and inconsistency are its mortal enemies." [President Henry B. Eyring, "Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady," Ensign, Nov. 2005, 38]
- "There are rules and laws to help ensure our physical safety. Likewise, the Lord has provided guidelines and commandments to help ensure our spiritual safety so that we might successfully navigate this often-treacherous mortal existence and return eventually to our Heavenly Father." [President Thomas S. Monson, Obedience Brings Blessings, April 2013 General Conference]
- "The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments." [President Thomas S. Monson, Obedience Brings Blessings, April 2013 General Conference]
- "As we walk in obedience to the principles and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we enjoy a continual flow of blessings promised by God in His covenant with us. Those blessings provide the resources we need to act rather than simply be acted upon as we go through life." [Elder D. Todd Christofferson, The Power of Covenants, April 2009 General Conference]
- "In a world where the moral compass of society is faltering, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ never wavers, nor should its stakes and wards, its families, or its individual members. We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises." [Elder L. Tom Perry, Obedience to Law is Liberty, April 2013 General Conference]
#2: Daily Spiritual Nourishment
- 1 Nephi 8:30—caught hold of the Iron Rod and Continuously feasted upon it
- 2 Nephi 32:8-9, Alma 37:37—constant prayer in all that we do
- "Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment. The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger, or disillusionment. When our commitment is diminished for any reason, part of the solution is repentance. Commitment and repentance are closely intertwined." [Quentin L. Cook, "Can Ye Feel So Now?", Liahona, November 2012]
- "Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise, he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life." [President Ezra Taft Benson, May 1988]
- "The constant exercise of our faith by lofty thinking, prayer, devotion, and acts of righteousness is just as essential to spiritual health as physical exercise is to the health of the body. Like all priceless things, faith, if lost, is hard to regain. Eternal vigilance is the price of our faith. In order to retain our faith we must keep ourselves in tune with our Heavenly Father by living in accordance with the principles and ordinances of the gospel." [O. Leslie Stone, "The Constant Exercise of Our Faith", July 1973, Ensign pg 59]
- Daily Bread Series: https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/daily-bread-pattern
#3: Patterns of Righteous Daily Living
- "The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth. [Ezra Taft Benson, "Fundamentals of Enduring Family Relationships," Ensign, Nov. 1982, 59]
- "With the influences of evil that surround our children, can we even imagine sending them out in the morning without kneeling and humbly asking together for the Lord's protection? Or closing the day without kneeling together and acknowledging our accountability before Him and our thankfulness for His blessings? Brothers and sisters, we need to have family prayer." [Neil L. Andersen, "Prophets and Spiritual Mole Crickets," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 17]
- "Sadly, many individuals don't know where to find God, and exclude him from their lives. When spiritual needs arise, they may look to the left, the right, or round about. But looking to other people on the same level cannot satisfy spiritual shortages. When the immortal spirit is starved, hunger persists for something more filling. Even when material success comes, there is a hollow ache--if living well falls short of living worthily. Inner peace cannot be found in affluence accompanied by spiritual privation." [Elder Russell M. Nelson; Ensign, May 1996, Page 14]
- "The Word of Wisdom does not promise you perfect health, but it teaches how to keep the body you were born with in the best condition and your mind alert to delicate spiritual promptings." [President Boyd K. Packer Ensign, May 1996, Page 18]
- "The Saints of God have always been under covenant to nourish each other spiritually, especially those tender in the gospel." [Elder Henry B. Eyring, Ensign, Nov. 1997, 82]
Family Home Evening Lesson Idea
“Consistent in our Worship”
- Bring 3 types of chocolate bars (hollow in the middle, chocolate covered candy, solid milk chocolate)
- Cut through each chocolate bar one at a time and have a discussion as to what that chocolate bar represents in terms of worship or discipleship
“Do we, indeed, actually live the gospel, or do we just manifest the appearance of righteousness so that those around us assume we are faithful when, in reality, our hearts and unseen actions are not true to the Lord’s teachings? “Do we take on only the “form of godliness” while denying the “power thereof”? “Are we righteous in fact, or do we feign obedience only when we think others are watching? “The Lord has made it clear that He will not be fooled by appearances, and He has warned us not to be false to Him or to others. He has cautioned us to be wary of those who project a false front, who put on a bright pretense that hides a darker reality. We know that the Lord ‘looketh on the heart’ and not on the ‘outward appearance.’ “The Savior taught us to ‘judge not according to the appearance’ and warned us against wolves who ‘come to [us] in sheep’s clothing’ and whose deception can only be discovered ‘by [examining] their fruits.’ “… President Marion G. Romney wisely observed that there are too many of us ‘who try to serve the Lord without offending the devil.’ “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.’ Hence, the first of the Ten Commandments is, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ and the Savior declared that the first and great commandment is, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ Only when we give our all and overcome our pride and walk the path of faith without deviation can we honestly sing, ‘Lord, accept our _true_ devotion.’ ” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “True to the Truth,” Ensign, May 1997)
- How can we become the same inside and outside? How does this apply to baptism and repentance?
- What are some things that seem good on the outside but have no real worth?
- What are some things that look good on the outside but are different once you see inside? or What are some things in your life that are on the way to becoming consistent inside and outside?
- Name some examples of things that are consistently good clear through. (scriptures, Savior, Heavenly Father, temple)
Decide on where as a family or as an individual that you could be more “consistent” in your worship.
Use the above 3 subjects as a guide in your scriptural discussion and goal planning.
Eat the Chocolate Bars or make SMORES