Receptiveness of Spiritual Things

Before discussing the things of the Spirit, I think it is important to underscore something we experience often, almost daily: people differ in their abilities. To illustrate, consider two unrelated activities; running a 5K race and taking an algebra class. Suppose there are 100 people participating in each endeavor. What would you expect to happen as the race and the math class progressed? Based on my experience, I would expect there would be a range of abilities manifest in both efforts; fast and slow runners, fast and slow algebra students, with the majority being average.

I think it is safe to say that the same is true when it comes to things of the Spirit.  I’ve learned that not everyone experiences things of the Spirit in exactly the same way. The Lord knows how to help each of us accomplish the purposes of our mortal experience. Most of us are going to have average experiences with the things of the Spirit, while some will have experiences that are unusual, and still others who say they’ve never had a spiritual experience.  Elder McConkie addressing this topic said: “All men do not come into this world with the same inclination toward or receptiveness of spiritual things.”

Regardless of where we are at on the continuum of our receptiveness to spiritual things, if we have desires to draw near to the Lord then we will be blessed. We are promised that our prayers will be answered, but how, and when, they are answered,  can vary. The Lord helping us understand this promises:

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 3 Nephi 14:7 – 11

Note the words: “For every one that asketh, receiveth…”. These words are clear and can’t be misunderstood, without exception the Lord will respond to those who ask.

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