Aug 27, 2014

Likening the Scriptures

Once in a while a scripture passage will really stand out, almost like it was written just for me to help me with a specific trial at that very time.  I read my name in those verses and I read my situation in those verses.  Lately, my heart and full attention hasn't been into scripture study.  This important task fell to the wayside as other tasks took president in my life.  The funny thing is, these other things really aren't all that important.  I just let myself become distracted.  And it showed in my attitude, in my thoughts, feelings, and words.  I was less productive and more lethargic.  I'm just glad I realized the cause for these more negative emotions so I could quickly shift my priorities back to where they should be--and that was at the temple.  What better place to clear one's mind and focus on truth and light than the temple?

I know I've said it before, but it still remains just as true.  The temple is such a wonderful place, full of light and knowledge and peace.  It is only there where the confusion and stress of the world is left behind and I can truly focus on matters as they are.

As I was waiting for the session to begin, I picked up a nearby Book of Mormon and started flipping through the pages until one passage jumped out at me.  It had been a passage I recently studied, although halfheartedly, just a few days prior.  This day though, my mind was opened and ready to receive further insight into this passage.  Insight that shed light on situations I'm currently dealing with.  It provided me with the peace, guidance, and direction I need to overcome this trial in the manner my Father in Heaven would have me.  That scripture was 2 Nephi 5:1-5, 11.

This specific passage takes place after the death of Lehi.  Laman, Lemuel, and those who followed them sought to destroy Nephi and those who followed him.  Nephi receives warning and guidance from the Lord:

 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.

 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people.

 Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, 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.

Nephi wanted the best for his family--even his elder brothers.  He wanted them to repent and live the gospel, but they were too caught up in pride and sin. He prayed continually for them and tried to counsel them in the commandments of God.  Instead of heading his righteous counsel, they became angry with him and constantly murmered against him until they were so caught up in negativity and pride that they desired to kill him.  They justified it in their heads by blaming Nephi for all their ills and hardships, even though these were the natural consequence of sin.  They accused Nephi of being caught up in pride and wanting to rule over them.  They allowed Satan to grab ahold of their hearts and lead them down the path of damnation.

The Lord warned Nephi of their evil intent and prompted him to leave them and their homes with anyone who would follow him, and flee to the wilderness.  Many chose to follow the prophet Nephi and with faith, they left the comfort of their old lives behind.  They established a new home in a new land where they lived the gospel, kept the commandments, and were righteous to the point that the Lord was with them and they prospered exceedingly to the point where they reaped abundance in all things:  physically, spiritually, and mentally.

When I read this chapter at that exact moment in the temple, my mind filled with my own situations.  
There was a very difficult time in my life when it was my office in the Air Force that was seeking to destroy me spiritually.  Some of the culture of the military was trying to subdue me in the chains of vice to be forever under the bondage of sin. For a time it worked, until I headed the Lord's warning to "depart from them and flee into the wilderness" which for me was to separate from the military as a job and remove myself completely from the culture.  ***This is what I needed to do to escape this spiritual destruction--I'm not saying the military is evil or that everyone should separate from it, just that I needed to at that time because I was allowing it to control me in such a negative manner.***  Once I was away from those influences, I found my faith and the strength to live that faith.  I chose to follow the ways of the prophets, as did the followers of Nephi.  I "believed in the warnings, and the revelations of God; wherefore [I] did hearken unto [the prophets'] words."  And by so doing, I found that, like the people of Nephi, "the Lord was with [me]; and [I] did prosper exceedingly...and [I] did reap in abundance."  I received so many blessings!  I found real happiness and joy.

Now as I'm trying to live a righteous life and to follow the Lord's commandments to the best of my ability.  I try to pray intently daily and thoughtfully read my scriptures.  I fail and stumble at times, as was the case I mentioned prior, but I do try and I do have a desire to do better and live better.  I want what is best for my family, even if I too am faced with a member that is murmering against me and trying to bring me down. At times it seems like they are seeking my destruction.  As I read that scripture passage and realized the blessing that come with following the promptings from the Lord, I know that He will once again warn me if I need to "depart into the wilderness" if that time comes and that I will have the strength necessary to do so, as I did once before.

This was a very powerful experience for me, and I'm sharing it because I hope that by so doing, others could experience the power of likening the scriptures to their own lives.  The prophets have taught that likening the scriptures to our own situations is an incredibly effective way to learn Christ's doctrine, to feel the Holy Ghost, and to find direction and peace within those situations.  Nephi said, "I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our own profit and learning" (1 Nephi 19:23).

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