Sunday, June 11, 2017

Confession: I am a busy body.

by Hannah

I know what you’re thinking, how can that be?  I am not a gossip. You won’t find me passing around the latest info my neighbor.  I’m not judgmental at all.  I try very hard to be kind.  So you can imagine my shock when the Lord told me I am.  

When I came across the word “busybody,” in my scripture study I was struck by it.  I knew immediately the Lord was telling me something.  I quickly took inventory of my known to me understanding and practices and went back the Lord.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t guilty of being a busybody, but I told the Lord I was open to learning and that I sincerely want to repent if I am guilty.  I then invited Him to show me my sin.

When the kids were finished with breakfast I checked my email and browsed facebook briefly.  Out of curiosity, I looked at an old elementary school friend’s profile.  I smiled, because I was happy for her.  But suddenly the thought came to me boldly, calmly, and unintrusively “Busybody.”   So I, without question closed the profile and moved on.  Then there was the sweet birth blog post from another friend. I LOVE BIRTH STORIES! I eagerly opened the link and began to read.  Again, both excited for my friend and happy to rejoice with her. Then for the second time in the past 10 minutes the thought came to me boldly, calmly, and unintrusively, “Busybody.”  I replied to the Lord, “Ok, I get it, and I closed the computer.”

If you are like me, you may be confused how this is being a busybody.  I wasn’t being judgmental. I was, on a very shallow level, rejoicing for these dear women’s lives.  As the day progressed and I kept asking in prayer in my heart, and making myself open to the idea that I have this problem, the Lord showed me how.

The word “busybody” appears three times in the scriptures. Because the implication is so direct, it’s easy to overlook the deeper meanings, as I have.  
1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
It’s easy at first glance to associate being a busybody with simply being a gossip.  The phrase “speaking things they ought not” certainly has that implication.  And I do believe that this is a type of busybody Paul is referring to here. Anytime we spend time speaking of things that are unhelpful, about sensitive matters, or simply that someone else shared with us in confidence this is gossip.  This is offensive to the Lord and hurtful to others. However, I think Paul was also suggesting that this goes deeper still.  There is no designation about speaking about someone versus to someone.  I think anytime we give advice where none was inspired by the Holy Ghost, we are speaking things we ought not, and being a busybody.  Anytime we make any unkind or even the most loving comment towards another with the intent to change his or her behavior or direct their paths or just offer an opinion without solicitation, this is speaking things we ought not and being a busybody.  I am guilty of being a busybody.
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
I think Peter agrees with Paul that gossip is part of being “a busybody in other men’s matters.”  But looking deeper into this phrase the word “in” stands out.  The Lord showed me that this isn’t just gossip or speaking things I ought not to someone but it’s also the unproductive curiosity that drives me to facebook stalking or blog surfing. It also includes the peeking into the lives of others from reality tv or the latest celebrity news headline for entertainment.  Sure, there may be times when checking on sometimes through a blog or facebook is productive. There are times when taking an interest in other people lives is very loving. However for me, this isn’t always the case. Mostly I am just collecting useless information. I am guilty of being a busybody.
2 Thessalonians 3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Again, Paul isn’t just referring to people who gossip all day.  The phrase “working not at all” implies that these busybodies aren’t contributing much.  At second glance, this must mean when he refers to being idle in 1 Timothy.  It’s people who are aware that there is a neighbor who has a problem but choose not to do anything about it. If I find out on facebook that my cousin is morning, do I simply send a sad face and go on with my day?  Sadly sometimes yes, and I am guilty of being a busybody.  What about the time I’ve used to browse facebook aimlessly, or the countless blogs I surfed that I could have spent doing an errand for the Lord?  I am guilty of being a busybody. Maybe, anytime we are busy doing nothing of consequence we are guilty of being a busybody. I am a busybody.

If we are to truly following Alma’s admonition in Mosiah ch 18:8-9 and “ are  desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death,” we don’t just sit pass around bad news.  We do something.  The Lord will show us what capacity we have to contribute. He may even lead us to a FB post or a blog to make us aware of a need. Or inspire us to ask questions or check on someone. It’s going to be a hard habit to break. The most important part is knowing where my heart is. Social media, news outlets, and TV are filled with idle gossip, peeks into the lives of others for entertainment, and useless information.

My name is Hannah, and I am a busybody. The only way to overcome this will be to lean on the Lord and let Him guide my use of time. I need to ensure that I am following the Lord's instruction in all things. Sometimes, my facebook time and my endless advice will be useful to the Lord. I just need to follow His instruction, and check my own motives before I act. He is merciful, patient, and the greatest teacher, Through Christ, all things are possible!

Dream: Calling Off My Trip to South Africa

by Nicky Smith

A week ago I had a dream in which I was preparing for a trip to South Africa to see my family. I was going by myself and I was very excited. I had packed and I was ready to leave for the airport when my husband approached me and said: "I strongly believe you shouldn't take this trip. I believe you'll be in danger, but it really is your choice what you do." I then started to cry. 

I said I wouldn't go. I believed him but still cried a lot. I felt very sad. I hadn't been able to go to South Africa in a long time and knew I wouldn't be able to go again anytime soon. Over the next 36 hours I watched the news to see if there was any plane crash, but there was nothing. Despite that, I knew that I had made the right decision not to take the trip. I then woke up.

One particular message that God has for me in this dream is that once I have made a decision to do something God wants me to do, I must not look back and mourn my losses. Instead I must look forward and rejoice. 

Recently the Lord asked a difficult sacrifice of me. I was doing what the Lord asked me to do and I was receiving wonderful blessings continuously from the Lord as a direct result, but my heart still occasionally mourned what I had lost. When I had this dream I knew the Lord was telling me to stop mourning what I had lost and look forward rejoicing.

When the city of Sodom was going to be destroyed, two angels came for Lot, his wife, and their two daughters. They lingered and so the angels really pushed Lot and his family to leave. Destruction was imminent. 
15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. (Genesis 19)

Lot and his family moved to Zoar and the next day both Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19:23-24). However, Lot's wife looked back:
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)
When the Lord gives us a commandment or asks us to sacrifice something difficult, sometimes we have a tendency to think about the things we have lost. Lot's wife lost her home, most of her possessions, her friends, and whatever else she left behind in Sodom. She mourned the things she had lost, despite the fact that her sacrifice in leaving Sodom meant that she was not going to die in Sodom. Her heart was still in Sodom. 

Paul wrote to the Philippians that one thing he does is forget the things behind him and reaches out to those things God has in store for him:
13 ... but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3)
When we commit to follow Jesus no matter what, He will lead us into places that are uncomfortable. It will require giving up aspects of the world and being asked by Him to make great sacrifices. 

One day a man came to Jesus and said that he would follow Jesus where ever He goes. But, this man, like most, did not understand the kinds of sacrifices he would be required to make. 
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9)
Following Jesus means being willing to do WHATEVER he asks of you. This entails more than simply giving up what we have been told to sacrifice. God wants our hearts. In other words, He wants our hearts and minds to give up those things too. When we look back it suggests that our hearts and minds have not really sacrificed, even though we may have physically given up what we were asked. We then show that we are not fit for the kingdom. Following Jesus not only entails giving up the things of this telestial world, but it requires our hearts changing too. This is the only way to receive the eternal rewards we are after: 
25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
26 And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.
27 Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.
28 And whosoever will lose his life in this world, for my sake, shall find it in the world to come.
29 Therefore, forsake the world, and save your souls; for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (JST Matthew 16)
Yesterday while I was working in the yard moving lots of split wood I was praying. I wasn't praying about anything specific; rather, I was just talking to the Lord about everything. As I was asking for light and truth from Him, these words came to me: "Let your heart rejoice!" I felt an incredible amount of joy and peace within me and I reflected on the fact that no matter what trials comes and no matter what God asks of me, my aim is not to mourn, but to rejoice. 

In my dream, God wanted to protect me by telling me not to travel to South Africa. As I strive to be completely obedient to the Lord, every experience, every commandment He gives me, and every sacrifice He requires of me is for my good. And, that is something to be joyful about!
Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end. (Doctrine and Covenants 100:12)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dream: The Two Hostels

by Nicky Smith
Recently I had a dream in which I was standing on a narrow street. On either side of the street were hostels, one of which was not as nice as the other. The one that was worse was not a place I would ever choose to stay at. I was, however, staying in the nicer of the two hostels, while a friend of mine (Brad) was staying in the one that was not as nice. I came across an Asian girl who was going to be homeless. Without even questioning what to do, my automatic desire and thought was that she was going to come and live with me. In my room at the hostel there weren't any spare beds, although I knew that in Brad's room there was a spare bed. I immediately planned to ask Brad if I could switch rooms with him (meaning I would move into the hostel that was awful and he would move into the nicer hostel) so that the girl who would soon be homeless would have a bed to sleep in. I then went into my room to call him and discovered that there was an extra mattress under my bed. The dream then ended. 

This dream describes the type of person the Lord wants me to become, where I am willing to sacrifice my comforts to help others [In the dream I was willing to move to the gross hostel.] I could have asked my friend to invite the girl to share his room, but that was not good enough. I had to be willing to move so that she can have a place to live. In this case, the Lord allowed me to stay where I was living and still help her, but the point was that in the dream I was totally willing to surrender all in order to help and love others, including those who are different to me [represented by an Asian girl]. I knew that the Lord was describing the level of charity He expects me to develop.

I have read 1 Corinthians 13 over and over again in order to understand charity more. 
Paul lists various attributes, such as long-suffering, kindness, humility, and so on, which are necessary prerequisites for possessing charity. Without even one of these attributes, one does not yet have charity.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13)
The phrase "seeketh not her own" has stuck out to me as I have studied this topic. Seeking not our own implies seeking the Father's will in all things. When we obtain His will, we will be guided in how we help others, through being long-suffering, kind, and so on. The minute we seek to gratify our own desires, ahead of what God wants us to do for another, we are seeking our own. If we are to have charity, then everything we do will be what will best help others progress.

Jesus, of course, is the epitome of charity. He invites us to have charity for others:
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15)
There is no greater love demonstrated than one who was willing to give up their life for others. In studying Jesus' life and in feeling His incredible love, I know I have a long way to go before I have the same level of charity He has. But, He is the perfect tutor to help me become more than I am now.

Moses is a good example of someone who had charity for the children of Israel. He gave up his peaceful, abundant lifestyle in order to lead them out of Egypt. He was constantly trying to help them ascend higher and draw closer to God. But, when they sinned he interceded on their behalf before the Lord. For instance, when they made and worshipped the golden calf, Moses prayed, 
31 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (Exodus 32)
Moses pleaded for their forgiveness but said, "If you won't forgive them, strike my name from the book of life!" While most people would have given up on the Israelites and left them in the wilderness, Moses continued to display incredible charity through his words and actions. He was willing to give everything up in order to save the Israelites. If we are also to have charity, we also ought to be willing to give up every comfort, even our own lives if God requires, in order to benefit others. 

Paul states that charity is unlike other gifts God gives us because while someone who has the gift of prophecy does not always prophecy and while someone who has the gift of knowledge does not always speak knowledge, someone who has charity will always have charity. This is not a gift that is present sometimes and other times not. If there are moments where we lack charity, we do not yet have charity.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
If possessing charity requires us to be charitable all the time, charity entails treating others the way God wants us to all the time. Having charity can only be had when we are sinless (since sin is selfish and is the antithesis of charity). It is then not surprising that charity is called the bond of perfectness and that all other commandments are kept through the keeping of the two great commandments of loving God and others (Matthew 22:40).
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:14)
I desire to have the kind of charity the Lord is showing me in this dream. As I have asked how I can obtain this gift, the answer is simple (yet, difficult to implement): prayer!
...pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.... (Moroni 7:48)
The key to developing charity is a constant connection with God. If we are constantly praying and obeying all the promptings we receive, we can and will be told how to act in all situations. Alma states:
...let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. (Alma 34:27)
Recently I have been trying to pray all day (which can be hard with 5 very young noisy kids constantly around me) asking God how I should be acting and what I should be saying. I am begging God to help me have charity. When I am attentive, the Holy Ghost reveals to me how to show love to others. I know that as I am completely obedient to the promptings I receive and seek to do everything God commands me (i.e. I become sinless), I will at some point be given the gift of charity. I will one day become the type of person who does not think twice about offering all the things that provide me with comfort (and even my life) for the benefit of another. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Are You a Respecter of Persons?

by Nicky Smith

How we view others
Several weeks ago I had a dream in which I was in an underground train station. As I was making my way to the train, I encountered many different people. Each person I came across represented a category of people, such as people who are different to me due to a choice they have made, people who are different to me due to the circumstances in which they were born, and so on. I was also shown people who have charity for everyone and people who do not as I experienced the way people acted towards me. 

When I woke up I understand that God was telling me not to be a respecter of persons, but to have charity and love for all His children. How easy it is to be drawn to those who are similar to us, who view life the same way we do! How easy it is to discriminate and show prejudice towards those who are different to us, whether it be due to age, gender, lifestyle choices, upbringing, culture, race, or anything else. I know because I have always been drawn to people who are similar to me, who view life, parenting, and so on in similar ways to me. There is a reason that the idiom "Birds of a feather flock together" exists. But, God wants us to extend our love and interest beyond those who are similar to us. 

God is not a respecter of persons. Peter stated: 
34 ...Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
(Acts 10)
God loves everyone and will work with anyone who obeys Him. Nephi stated that God invites everyone to come to Him and experience the blessings He has in store for them:
...he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. (2 Nephi 26:33)
If we are to become like God, we have to overcome the tendency to be a respecter of persons. We have to be willing to be friends with, love, and interact with (more than just casually) all people. 

How We View Ourselves

I have come to realize that we can be a respecter of persons also in the way we view ourselves. We may view ourselves as special to God because we are part of a specific religion/movement or we come from a specific country/state. And as a result, we view ourselves as favored or blessed of God because of this particular qualifier, but this goes against God not being a respecter of persons. Instead, as Peter stated (above), those who fear Him and work righteousness are accepted of Him. John wrote that those who keep God's commandments are blessed: "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." (1 John 3:22) All blessings are predicated on God's laws and not because we possess some arbitrary characteristic: "when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (Doctrine and Covenants 130:21) 

There are many false beliefs and incorrect notions about what it means to be blessed. Usually when people say "You are very blessed!" it means that a person has acquired many things, such as a nice home and children. They are living with abundance and have a comfortable lifestyle.

However, when we examine the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, it is clear that Jesus understands a blessed life to mean something entirely different. Consider the people Jesus is describing:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5)
The people described here as blessed are:

those who are poor in spirit (blessed are those whose sense of desperation have led them to realize they are beggars before God and need His help

those who have reason to mourn (blessed are those who have had experiences that lead them to mourn and have a broken heart and contrite spirit -- there is a difference between being sorry and mourning
those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (blessed are those who hunger after God's will and know they aren't "there" yet
those who have reason to offer mercy to others (blessed are those who forgive because someone has done something to warrant that)
those who are peacemakers (blessed are those who have others fighting with them and around them and create peace)
those who are persecuted (blessed are those who are persecuted because they are doing God's will)
those who are reviled (blessed are those who are criticized and insulted because they are doing God's will)
those who are lied about (blessed are those who are lied about because they are doing God's will)

This describes the conditions that God allows us to experience so that he can draw us in. This outlines the experiences often had by those who keep His commandments and are seeking to become more like Jesus. He wants us to turn to him when we mourn, He wants us to rely only on him when we are poor in spirit, and he knows that we are being persecuted because we are living according to His words. 

Imagine observing another (or yourself) who experiences this. Would you consider them blessed? Well, God does! 

So while living God's laws leads to a blessed state, people incorrectly believe that this leads one to a life of comfort and abundance. Instead, what many do not realize is that living God's laws rarely leads to comfort. Living God's laws almost always involves difficult and painful experiences. Comfort is not a guarantee of blessedness, while its absence is not a sign of not being blessed.

Paul similarly wrote that an abundance of worldly things does not imply that one possesses godliness and holiness: 

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6)
As I have sought to be sanctified and be completely obedient to God, there have been difficult experiences, many of which I would never choose for myself. I have come to realize that in my current sinful state I am not able to access all the blessings I thought were available to me. I am not as blessed as I thought I was. That does not mean God has not blessed me; rather I realize there are a lot of blessings I am missing out on because of my sins. I have come to realize that I am further from God that I thought I was. I have come to realize that I have been and am so blind to my weaknesses and sins. These realizations and other experiences the Lord has given me have been painful and at times caused me distress. But, every time I seek to draw closer to God as a result. 

In the end, God is not a respecter of persons. He invites us all. He loves us all. He desires all to come to Him. But, in order to be blessed, we have to keep His laws. The blessings He has in store for us are great, but they are not brought about through comfortable, easy living. The experiences involved in keeping His laws are usually challenging and difficult. 

As we seek to become more like Jesus, we will learn to love everyone regardless of their background, characteristics, culture, and choices they make. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dream: The Sticker on the Window

by Nicky Smith

Two nights ago I had a dream in which there was a window. On the window was a large sticker covering most of the window, blocking the view. I began to remove the sticker, pulling it off carefully, but as I was pulling it off, I realized there was another sticker underneath. I then pulled the next sticker off and to my surprise there was yet another. This happened over and over until there were no stickers left and the window was clear.

When I awoke, the Spirit told me that this is a symbol of sanctification. Initially, the process of becoming pure and sinless involves repentance of all the sins we are currently aware of [we remove the sticker]. However, as we progress in repenting and forsaking our sins, God reveals more to us that we were previously blind to [we see another sticker]. This process continues over and over again until we are pure before the Lord and able to see and come to know Jesus [see out the window clearly].

When I began the process of sanctification, I could easily identify the sins I knew I needed to eradicate. For example, I knew God wanted me to stop speeding while driving. This was a simple fix. I also knew I needed to stop being defensive and critical when interacting with others. This took a lot longer to change. Later, when I was doing well at overcoming those, the Lord told me I needed to stop feeling jealous and stop feeling frustrated with my children. Then some time after that, I came to know I needed to stop telling white lies and I was only to say things I would be happy saying in another's presence. Furthermore, the Lord told me to become patient, to have self-control, to be considerate, to have more faith, to be humble, to be charitable, and so on. These, and many more, are the things I have been working on. At this point I cannot even name all the sins God has revealed to me that I was committing. And, as I continue to repent, I know God will reveal more to me. Looking back, it is amazing how 
when I began I had no clue regarding the many ways I was sinning. We truly are blind to our condition!

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, He wanted to know what he needed to do in order to obtain eternal life. 

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (Matthew 19)
The young man wanted to know what else he needed to do. But, when Jesus told him, he wasn't happy. 
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19)
This man had been blind to how much he loved the things of the world. Jesus asked him to repent of his love of worldly possessions, but he was unwilling to give that up. He loved them more than Jesus. When we are unwilling to sacrifice for God and repent of all our sins, we cannot obtain the blessings we seek. Jesus states that those who have their hearts set on the things of this world will struggle to sacrifice all that is required in order to obtain eternal life:
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 19)
When we are reluctant to give up our sins, we show God what we are placing our affections on. We show God what we love more than Him. Most of the time, we justify ourselves in our sins, thinking "I am repenting!" But, we never get to the point of forsaking them. Other times, we think, "They aren't that bad!" or "I'll overcome them eventually." Each of these thoughts (along with many others) lead to our procrastination of walking the narrow path of sanctification.

When you say to God that you desire to become pure, He will work with you in helping you overcome all things. You will not do it alone. He will then address every aspect of your life: the way you treat those you love as well as strangers, how you spend your time, how you pray, your beliefs, your finances, what you think of yourself, how you view others, and so on. When you decide to become sanctified, everything is on the table. The Lord will uproot every sin and false belief you have so that you can remove it. He will show you every impurity in your heart and test whether you will sacrifice everything for Him. If you are obedient to Him in every thing He tells you, you will eventually find that you have become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), dead to sin (Romans 6:6-7,11). 

Walking this path may sound scary. You may be afraid of what you might lose. In general, we want to feel safe, secure, and comfortable. But Jesus is never interested in comfort! Rather, He is interested in your progression. He is interested in helping you become the type of person who can lay hold on eternal life. 

This requires us moving outside of our comfort zone. It involves the risk of losing some things and this may cause fear. Usually the boundary of our comfort zone is fear. In other words, when we begin to feel a bit of fear, we can know we are at the edge of our comfort zone. 

When you truly want to follow Jesus, He will always lead you out of your comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone and following Jesus never lead to the incredible blessings God has to offer, such as seeing visions, having angels and Christ visit you, being taken up into heaven, being introduced to the Father, and so on. Yes, you will still be blessed while maintaining your comfort, but you will miss out on far greater blessings, including eternal life. 

Whatever we might lose while becoming sanctified, remember that the blessings are so much greater than anything you will give up: The happiness we can feel surpasses anything this world can give us; the love we feel from God cannot be described in words; and the knowledge we receive provides greater security than we previously imagined. We move to a new place of "comfort," where we are willing to do anything the Lord asks of us because our faith has grown and we trust Him. 
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29)
In the end, if we want to receive eternal life, we have to be willing to give up everything for the Lord, whether it be the things of this world or our sins and weaknesses. It begins with peeling off the first sticker from the window. 

Ask God which sins He wants you to work on now. Ask Him for help as you obey Him. Then, continue to ask Him to reveal more to you until you are pure and holy before Him. Eventually, you will be able to see Him as He is because it is the pure in heart who see God (Matthew 5:8). 
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3)