In this chapter, there are many verses which if not meditated and passed over lightly, one will miss a tremendous amount of knowledge, not to mention the feelings one will receive from the Spirit. Many of these verses seem to contain common knowledge, but as you read them over and over again and ponder them, you will begin to see the deeper meaning. I still don’t clearly understand all of what the verses say. I pray that as I read them over again, I will understand a little more.
In verse 3, Jacob explains to the people that he is telling them these things that they may rejoice and lift up their heads. Once we realize what our fate is if Christ had not fulfilled his mission, we become very grateful for what he has done. The Nephites were grateful for the mission of Christ. They realized their position better than we do because Christ had not yet come and they had to believe that he would come. As for us, we know that he came and it now becomes our duty to find out for ourselves that what Christ taught really is true. We must gain a testimony for ourselves that the resurrection will come and that if we repent we can be forgiven of our sins and return to God’s presence. Not all is lost! We have much to hope for and look forward to.
In verse 5, Jacob explains the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Christ subjected himself to men in order that men may be subject unto him. Christ showed his charity to all men by sacrificing himself for our salvation. He provides for us an escape from the everlasting chains of hell. We no longer have to be subject to the devil and his misery. We can choose to obey Christ and live.
Our Eternity Equals the Sum of Our Actions
We will not achieve righteousness in one day, nor will we become all evil and miserable in one day. Our daily actions are the sum of our individual. Sow your thoughts, reap your actions, sow your actions, reap your habits, sow your habits, reap your character, sow your character reap your eternity. Just as verse 16 states, those who are righteous will still be righteous and those who are wicked will still be wicked for the eternities. I heard a saying that has reference to this concept. I believe I heard it from watching the movie Gladiator. It says, “What we do in this life will echo in the eternities.” It is true with all of us. What we choose to think and consequently do will eventually be the outcome of our eternity.
God is Consistent
As I have written before, one of the characteristics of God is that he does what he says he will do. This is one of the attributes I am trying to develop. Call it responsibility, honesty, discipline or whatever; doing what you say you will do is powerful. Jacob recognizes the significance of doing what you say you will do. In verse 17 he says, “O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled.”
Carnally Minded vs. Spiritually Minded
Verse 39: What does it mean to be carnally minded? What does it mean to be spiritually minded? To be carnally minded is to think like the world does. At work, some people are constantly cracking jokes that are crude. Sometimes I don’t understand them and I hope that the reason I don’t understand them is because I am not thinking like they do. To be carnally minded is to have your mind in the gutter. The only way to counter act this is to be spiritually minded or in other words to constantly think of spiritual things. This is not as hard as it sounds. If you delight in the scriptures like Nephi did, then your mind will naturally be thinking of the Lord’s words. You will derive great joy from being spiritually minded and you will not fear. As you think of the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets during the day, you will become more confident in doing what is right and you will be truly happy. “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45). This is a prime example of trying to be spiritually minded. I have memorized most of section 121. As I was writing this, I remembered that part of section 121. When we have the scriptures and teachings of the prophets written on our hearts, we will remember them and we will be spiritually minded.
Spending Time and Money
Jacob’s counsel in verse 51 is timeless. He admonishes, “do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.” What is of true worth? Everything we buy and acquire on this earth will not come with us to the eternities. Our home, our books, our possessions – we cannot truly keep with us. The only thing that we can keep with us is our character, our testimony, our knowledge, our family relationships. Yet, why do we spend our money and time on things which we cannot keep? We need to spend our time and money on developing our character, our testimony and family and also on building up the kingdom of God on the Earth. Consequently, we need to labor on building up the kingdom of God and our family. I work to provide for my family. When I am not at work, I spend my time studying the scriptures, playing with my kids and talking with my wife. These are the things which are most important.
Remember to Pray
Lastly, Jacob counsels us to pray continually and to thank God for all that we have.