. . . thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God.2 Nephi 2:3
Spend as much time as you have – all of it if you are able – serving God.
When I was a young man, the more I studied the scriptures – particularly the Book of Mormon – the more I wanted to serve the Lord the way I read about how Alma the Younger, Helaman, Nephi, and others had. They were my heroes and I wanted to serve God with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. And since that time I have always tried to do just that! I have not in any way been perfect at it and at some times in my life it has been harder to throw my all into my service than at others, but still I try.
Recently this blog has taken on that importance to me – an effort in my daily life to serve God in one of the few ways I know how: share the gospel with the world around me. And what I find happening as a result of this project and really putting forth an effort to serve my Heavenly Father through my blog is something I learned a long time ago – certainly as a missionary and perhaps even before that: That the promise of the Lord in Matthew 11 is indeed true:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
The more I work on this Abiding Precepts project the more peace I find in my life, the greater power of the Spirit I feel influencing my every day experiences and choices, and the deeper my joy at being alive and at experiencing my life becomes. There is peace in Christ – in serving Him, in following His way, and in living a life like He lived His!
. . . the confounding of false doctrines . . .2 Nephi 3:12
Confound false doctrines in your own beliefs.
This is a hard one for any of us to work through. It is nigh well impossible to do on our own, for most of the time it requires someone else looking in from the outside to show us the error of our beliefs.
I have been aware of this concept for some years now. Often I have prayed to the Lord asking Him to help me rid myself of the things I believe incorrectly. It took some time, but He finally answered. And I am certain He will yet answer in many other instances than this.
I am a perfectionist. I have also struggled most of my life with having a healthy sense of self worth. I believe the latter to be the result of the former. As I have navigated life I have also felt a great need to not be a burden on anyone – and this has extended itself to the Savior as well. In this way I think I believed I would be able to like myself because I was “perfect,” and no one needed to worry about me – including the Lord.
I was receiving counselling recently from a friend who helped me see the error of my beliefs. I didn’t want to be a burden on the Lord and my perfectionism kept me from seeing the reality of my sins. Added on top of that the knowledge of my imperfection left me feeling as if I had no worth. This friend went sequentially through each of my false beliefs – knowing full well that I have a true mastery of the doctrines of the Gospel – and asked, “Now Russell – you know the doctrine. On what doctrine is that belief based?” Reluctantly, humbly, and hopefully to each question I answered: “On no doctrine.” With each one a burden was lifted, freedom filled my soul, hope in Jesus Christ brightened my life and gave me happiness. This friend enabled me to let go of the false doctrines stuck in my brain which have been keeping me from progressing and feeling the true joy of following Christ for decades now, and it is wonderful to me!
It is possible to go through this process with the scriptures as our mirror as well. Evaluating each verse or the concepts contained in each chapter against what we think, feel, and believe – asking ourselves, “Do I accept or reject this doctrine?” has the power to lead us to a perfect faith in Christ, more so than any other practice.
I still have far to go with these challenges, but letting go of these few false beliefs has been the start of a truly blessed and happy phase of life rich with progression and an improved relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.2 Nephi 5:15, 17
Be a hard and dedicated worker. Be industrious in all that you do.
I was a young single adult sitting in a sealing session when the sealer pointed out that the injunction God gave to Adam and Eve to, “multiply and replenish the earth,” was not strictly limited to the creation and bearing of children. It also has to do with filling the earth with the results of our labors – and I would suggest in particular the growing of plants and filling the earth with the measure of creation God has placed here on earth.
Working hard and taking ownership of our work is something people take notice of – and it is very satisfying and soul enlarging to be industrious. Just this past week I had a colleague take note of my desire to have ownership of the assignments I receive at work – and he expressed how this is a good thing because so many others are too happy to capitalize on the efforts of others to make their lives easier.
Being industrious sets you apart. It is the mark of a righteous person to work hard and work well for as long as life permits.
Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren.
But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life.
And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.2 Nephi 5:1-2, 5
Pray about every circumstance in your life and be ready to accept and follow any and all answers the Lord gives to your prayers.
In recent years, for many months I have begged and pleaded with the Lord for opportunities to grow in my career. Many events took place which left me feeling that in order for the progression to take place which I wanted to happen a change of employer was required, for I felt all doors had been closed to me in my current employment.
Several opportunities to leave and improve my situation arose. Opportunities came and went. Some fell through. The opportunity to change my employment was as elusive as chasing the end of a rainbow. Always there but never close enough to touch. And each time I felt the peace of the Lord that His will had been done and all would be well.
Things have been difficult at work, but the requested progression is taking place, if not in the way I wanted or expected. The Lord told me in a blessing I received some months back that He, “knows what He wants me to be.” Accordingly He is leading my path down experiences that are changing me into the kind of being He knows I can be.
The growth may not now be as expected or as I desired when I asked, but because the answer was not as I expected I am experiencing a great deal more growth than I would have otherwise.
This is not the first time the Lord’s response to my prayers were the opposite of what I expected or desired. But as with all experiences with answered prayers, a willingness to accept and respond to the answers given has allowed great blessings and growth that come in no other way.