Thursday, February 15, 2007

2 Nephi 31

Christ is the Way

In this chapter, Nephi teaches that Jesus did what he did to show us the way of happiness. Christ baptized to show us that everyone must be baptized. Even though he did not need it, he still did it to show us that all men must be baptized to enter in the Kingdom of God. He simply states in verse 12, “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”

Nephi lists what we must do to follow Christ. We must:
· follow with full purpose of heart
· not act hypocritical
· not deceive God
· intently repent of our sins
· witness to the Father that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ
· be baptized

If we do these things, then we will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and be baptized by fire and have the ability to speak with the tongue of angels.

Then after all that, we must endure to the end.

Enduring to the End

Only after we repent and begin to follow Christ by being baptized have we entered the gate to the straight and narrow path. Next, Nephi poses a question in verse 19, "after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?" He answers his own question, "nay."

To endure to the end, we must:
· press forward with a steadfastness in Christ
· have a perfect brightness of hope
· have a love of God
· have a love of all men
· feast on the words of Christ

Press forward with a Steadfastness in Christ
When I read the words "press forward," I am reminded of those people in Lehi's dream who pressed forward "that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree." Or those people who pressed forward, caught hold of the rod and then press forward even more through the mist of darkness "clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. (1 Nephi 8:21, 24, 30) Pressing forward is not walking or striding. To me it means that a person is advancing forward only with effort … that if that person did not make a concerted effort to move, he would fall back.

I imagine a person trying to walk into a strong wind. Without an anchor or something to hold on to in order to move forward, that person would not advance. Holding onto that anchor or rod of iron is what Nephi meant when he said "with a steadfastness in Christ." We may make an individual effort to move forward, but without that anchor or without Christ in our lives, our efforts are in vain. We would constantly be blown off course without an anchor.

Elder Ballard gave a good analogy when he referred to this scripture.

"Have you ever watched a large ship weigh anchor? It is fascinating to see and hear the massive links of chain screeching against the metal bow of the ship as the anchor is raised. Now, the metal links of the anchor chain are incredibly heavy, but their weight is slight when compared to the total weight of the ship. Still, if an anchor is placed properly on the bottom of the sea, it can a hold a giant ship fast, even in rough seas.

"Just as ships need anchors to keep them from drifting away on the open seas, people need spiritual anchors in their lives if they are to remain steadfast and not drift into the sea of temptation and sin. Faith in God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the main anchor we must have in our lives to hold us fast during times of social turbulence and wickedness that seem to be everywhere today." (“Steadfast in Christ,” Ensign, Dec 1993, 50)

A Perfect Brightness of Hope
Without hope, there is despair. When despair creeps into our lives, we become less and less motivated to move forward until at last we stop and die. Entering into the straight and narrow path means difficult times are ahead … temptations. This is why Christ tells us we must enter the path with full purpose of heart and why we are constantly reminded to endure to the end. In order to endure to the end, we must have hope that we will arrive at our destination.

We must always hope. We must never give up on the Gospel of Christ.

President Hinckley gave a wonderful talk to those who have entered the path. In it, he referred to three things that everyone in the Church needs. 1) A friend, 2) an assignment and 3) constant nourishment by the good word of God (Moroni 6:4). ("A Perfect Brightness of Hope: To New Members of the Church,” Ensign, Oct 2006, 2–5)

Don't ever be afraid to offer hope to others. There are plenty of people who offer the seeming realities of despair. We must fight these depressing opinions and be a light to all those around us. Offer a positive and bright testimony of the gospel the next time you have a chance to share your testimony in fast and testimony meeting or wherever you feel inspired to do so. Be hopeful!

A Love of God and all Men
The first great commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all they soul, and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:37).

The second commandment is to "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:39).

We must strive to develop charity as Moroni taught us, then we will love God and all men (Moroni 7:44-47).

Feast on the Words of Christ
In today's society, it seems as though we feast on food for our bodies yet fast from food for our souls. Not only should we feast on the words of Christ, but we should "delight in fatness" (2 Nephi 9:51).

One of the counselors in our stake (Riding) spoke in our ward, one Sunday, about reading the scriptures. I have always remembered one point he made during this talk. He prefaced his point by saying that he didn't want us to feel guilty about not reading the scriptures. Yes, we ought to feel guilt for not reading the scriptures, but he wanted us to set that aside for the moment. He gave an example of how sometimes we catch the end of a favorite song on the radio and we only hear the last 20 seconds of it. We might think, "shoot, I just missed my favorite song." He compared that to missing opportunities to read the scriptures. I think what he was trying to say is that we shouldn't feel guilty for missing our scripture study time, but we should feel let down that we missed an opportunity to read the scriptures … it is a subtle difference and I hope I'm making sense in describing his point.

In that subtle difference lays the difference between reading the scriptures and feasting. We should want to read and study the scriptures.

1 comment:

Tanja Crouch said...

I just stumbled on your site. Thank you for your insights. Much appreciated.