Recently, I watched two basketball games in the same day. Unfortunately, both of my favorite teams lost! The reason I think they lost is because the coaches of the winning teams did a better job of laying out their game strategy. It was apparent they did their homework in scouting their opponents or learning from previous encounters. Their plans were right on target.
In one game, the coach had his team trained to get the ball inside where his players were bigger, taller and quicker If they were double or triple-teamed, the ball would get fired out to the outside for a three-point shot. It worked.
In the other game, the winning coach knew his team could not get into a running contest because the other team loved and thrived on a fast break, high speed tempo game. He had his players slow to a very calculated half court game and then, quickly back to tenacious defense. This was enough to carefully control the game and gradually inch up the points on the opposing team. It worked.
In the game of life, choosing our coach can make all the difference in the world. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are entitled to the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And, without question, the Holy Ghost is the premier, without question, the best coach anyone can have in this world where Satan has promised to reign with blood and terror. The best coach to guide us against the destructive game plan Satan has developed to take us away from the covenant path.
Listening to the whisperings, impressions, warnings and having the comforting feelings that come from the Holy Ghost will deliver us the victory – the greatest reward available to any of our Heavenly Father’s children, eternal life. That is the same type of life our Heavenly Parents enjoy. Can you imagine living in the same neighborhood as Heavenly Father, our Heavenly Mother and the Savior, Jesus Christ, for eternity? That is as good as it gets!
Listen up. You are on the winning team. Now is the critical time to listen to the coach. He knows the adversary perfectly. He knows what to look out for, what to defend against, how to execute the winning game plan. Each of us have been given the talent and gifts to do our best and contribute to our team winning the victory. Our dedication and focus will help our team mates do their best and we all will share the championship trophy together.
“We are the champions, Satan is the loser!” Go ahead, sing the song!
It appears that one of the latest and popular things to do in life is to have a personal trainer or coach. In the course of my work I meet many who have a “Real Estate Trainer” to help them in the development of their business. As part of the service my employer offers to our customers is the assistance of a coach to work with them in marketing their respective neighborhood sites. The national trainer for our company is a personal coach to people in many different industries. He helps people understand their true potential and to establish fundamental principles in their lives. All these coaches are intended to aid individuals in reaching their highest possible accomplishments.
It seems to me that there are so many who are thirsting for help in their lives. It seems that they are searching for who they really are, what they stand for, what they want in life and help on how to get there. Their coaches help them establish values and everyday principles of success that when employed will truly assist them in meeting their personal goals in life.
I spoke recently with two Realtors who each use a coach in their businesses. They each pay $1,000 per month. They have regular access to their coach via the telephone. Most of the time, they simply have to pick up the phone and dial to initiate important instruction or find answers to their questions. Their coaches are experts and provide solid advice almost all of the time. The price tag compared to the benefits is such to make the relationship justifiable and a priority within the budget. Bottom line, it would appear that coaches can help if you enlist their services.
An obvious corollary for those of us in the gospel is the fact that we have one of the greatest coaches and personal trainers available to man on the face of the earth – the gift of the Holy Ghost. Can you imagine a personal coach that is actually a member of the godhead? Do we realize what we have in our lives with this marvelous gift? What price would others in the world be willing to pay to have a personal coach that is accessible every minute of the day, always offers the best and most accurate advice and simply charges a fee of making the right decisions in life? A personal trainer like that is priceless.
We are so blest to have the gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives. And…just like a personal trainer in the business world, this great gift is of no avail unless we decide to enlist His support. We have to make a conscious decision to obey the commandments and be worthy of His help. If we do, we can realize the greatest goals of our lives and be able to return to live with Heavenly Father and live eternally with our families.
I love to be part of great deals. It makes me feel good when I can “buy low and sell high”. When we stop and really consider the “deal” we have as part of our baptismal covenants, having the Holy Ghost as our personal coach is one of the greatest deals of all time.
While lying on the beach in Cancun, Mexico, I discovered there was a different, noticeable change in the warmth of the sun each time a cloud came by. It didn’t matter if it was a light cloud, a dark cloud or some variation in between.
If a light cloud passed by I could notice a decrease in the warmth of the sun. It was even more pronounced when a darker, heavier cloud came between me and the sun.
I think there is an analogy we can make between this phenomenon and the degrees in which we feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father. In other words, if we allow the clouds the world creates – greed, lust, selfishness, pride, lust, power, fame, etc. to interfere with us trying to feel the Spirit, or, get between us and the Lord, we will feel a decrease in His Spirit.
At times we hear people tells us, “Wow, the Spirit was so strong in that meeting.” I believe people can feel the Spirit strongly when they prepare themselves to do so. If our hearts and minds are right, we are prayerful, we are humble, repentant and obedient, then, we should fully expect to feel the Spirit strongly in our lives.
While some feel the Spirit strongly, others may feel it also, but, not so forcefully because they may be more cavalier in their attitude – more casual than careful. Maybe they are spiritually half awake and are not yearning for influence of the Spirit like it might come otherwise.
Other people may be in the way of sin so deeply that they cannot feel the Spirit at all. Maybe there are clouds of serious transgression blocking the love and light of the Lord. A person addicted to pornography, or, a person who is a perpetual liar, or, a person who is continually dishonest will naturally have some very dark clouds blocking out the Spirit.
On one occasion, I spoke with a friend who had been excommunicated from the Church. I asked him what it felt like. With tears welling up in his eyes, he said the greatest difference was not being able to feel the Spirit. It was an actual, real void in his life. He knew what the Spirit felt like, but now, the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost was gone.
In the Book of Mosiah, King Benjamin makes an interesting statement:
And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved. (Mosiah 2:36)
I believe the Spirit is always there to bless and enrich our lives. However, sometimes we walk away from the light, or, we allow the clouds of worldly deception to block that light and love. Our job is to keep the skies clear and our lives receptive to feeling the Spirit strongly, every minute of every hour or every day of every week of every month of every year….Walk in the light!