Life with the Holy Spirit is an amazing thing. We feel warm and peaceful despite our trials. We feel safe, knowing we’re guided through our choices and protected in our daily actions. We’re inclined to be happy, peaceful, and kind. Of course, nothing can prevent us from facing trials—they are an essential part of our mortal experience—but the trials are easier to bear when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit.
Most of us feel the spirit in small bursts—at church, during prayer, or while studying the scriptures. However, God promised that when we have been baptized by a person with the proper authority, we can receive the Holy Spirit to be with us all the time. That is a wonderful gift and an important goal to work towards.
We can begin to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit even before our baptism. He can visit us from time to time and this is how we actually gain a testimony of the truth and know which church to join. During this time we can begin to live the lifestyle that will allow the Holy Ghost to someday be with us always.
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead with God and Jesus Christ. He can’t linger in a sinful place. We need to purify our own lives to be worthy to host the Holy Spirit and to avoid places that encourage evil as much as possible. Of course, we have to venture out into the world, but when we have choices about where to go, we need to choose wisely. If we’re at a party where everyone is drunk and behaving immorally, we can’t expect the Spirit to stay with us there.
When we are in a place we’re not entirely comfortable with, such as a college classroom where immorality is being taught, we have to do whatever it takes to keep our own thoughts pure and to do what we feel the Savior would be. We can be in the world without being of it, meaning that we don’t have to participate in the immoral activities going on where we have no choice but to be.
We should also endeavor to discern when we “withdraw [ourselves] from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in [us] to guide [us] in wisdom’s paths that [we] may be blessed, prospered, and preserved” (Mosiah 2:36). Precisely because the promised blessing is that we may always have His Spirit to be with us, we should attend to and learn from the choices and influences that separate us from the Holy Spirit.
The standard is clear. If something we think, see, hear, or do distances us from the Holy Ghost, then we should stop thinking, seeing, hearing, or doing that thing. If that which is intended to entertain, for example, alienates us from the Holy Spirit, then certainly that type of entertainment is not for us. Because the Spirit cannot abide that which is vulgar, crude, or immodest, then clearly such things are not for us. Because we estrange the Spirit of the Lord when we engage in activities we know we should shun, then such things definitely are not for us. (See David A. Bednar, That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us, October General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
We need to spend time each day in spiritual activities that help us get to know God and Jesus Christ better and that help us focus on our spiritual growth. This means putting time into our busy days for prayer, scripture study, and pondering of spiritual things. We also need to attend church on Sundays.
Doing these things keeps God and Jesus as an essential aspect of our lives. They help us to build a personal relationship with them. The scriptures, when taken as a whole, show us who God and Jesus Christ are and what our relationship with them can be. As we watch the Savior interacting with people on earth, we realize how much He loves us.
All of these activities help to prepare us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. A heart filled with love for God and Jesus Christ is an essential part of becoming spiritual enough to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives full-time.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.