This article was published by the author previously in December of 2015. This version has been edited for clarity and additional information has been added.
How I love reading the Book of Mormon. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve completed it and started over. I do so because, like you, I am in need of constant nourishment for my soul.
I’ve always been inspired by Nephi’s tremendous faith and his courage and determination to act in faith, even in the face of tremendous odds. This morning, I was reading in 1 Nephi chapter 4. Here he is, the youngest brother, yet, as he was told by God — and as was repeated by the angel — he has to be the leader. Why? Because he is faithful in acting on the Lord’s commands at all times, no matter what circumstances he finds himself in.
I love Nephi’s response in 1 Nephi 4:1 to his whining, faithless oldest brothers when they question what they’ve just been told by an angel: “. . . let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord.” This simple statement describes the whole of Nephi’s life. He was able to do great things because he was faithful in keeping God’s commandments, which is the key to unlocking the door to Christ’s grace and wielding eternal power.
Like Nephi of old, we live in a time of great wickedness and face tremendous challenges as Satan and his minions seem to increase in their power daily. Yet we need to keep in mind that whereas they may increase in their worldly power, we have the opportunity to arm ourselves with righteousness, “with the power of God in great glory.”
Each of us has made sacred covenants, the first of which was to take upon us gladly the name of Jesus Christ through the ordinance of baptism. This consists of being baptized both by water and the Holy Ghost. Brethren make covenants and receive promises through the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Sisters are blessed through the priesthood as they honor and sustain priesthood holders and are true and faithful to their covenants. Everyone has the opportunity to make covenants in the temple and receive the promised blessing that flow therefrom.
In receiving these blessings, we commit to take upon us Christ’s name, to always remember Him, and always keep His commandments. We promise to be true and faithful to the oath and covenant of the priesthood and to our temple covenants. In return, Heavenly Father and Christ promise us that we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and wield the eternal power that can come through that companionship as we are faithful.
Through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can know the truthfulness of all things; we can receive direct revelation, both for ourselves and for our families; we can teach and write with power that will carry our message to the hearts of the children of men; priesthood holders can exercise God’s power with authority; we can receive Christ’s enabling grace which leads to the courage borne of faith that allows us to go forward and do great things even in the face of overwhelming odds.
In short, we can receive and wield the eternal power that always has and always will conquer worldly power.
The Lord has great expectations for all of His children, but more so for us as members of His church. Where much has been given, much is required. The prophet and apostles have been reminding us constantly over the past few years of the great responsibility that is ours in hastening the work. Every one of us who has made covenants left neutral ground the moment we did so.
The question we must each ask ourselves is this: what are we doing about it? If we are to succeed in our efforts and meet the Lord’s expectations, there are several steps we must take.
- We must “feast upon the words of Christ” (see 2 Nephi 31:20) which will tell us “all things that [we] should do,” (see 2 Nephi 32:3). We have the promise that when we “treasure up” these sacred words, “it will be given [us] in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (see D&C 84:85).
- We must pray for opportunities to share the gospel and be in tune with the Holy Ghost so that we recognize those opportunities when they arrive.
- We must pray for the courage to open our mouths when opportunities to share come and then act with the same courage Nephi had, move forward with faith, and share what the Holy Ghost puts into our hearts.
- We must be ready to stand up as witnesses of Christ at all times and in all places. This includes being informed of issues related to religious freedom and acting on the counsel of the prophet and apostles to stand up and courageously promote and defend those sacred blessings which are vital to our ability to share the gospel.
May we all be like Nephi, going forth with faith, guided by the spirit even when we may not know beforehand exactly what to do. May we be faithful and true to the covenants we have made and be determined with all our hearts to stand up for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming odds. May God bless us even as He did Nephi as we “go and do” as He has commanded.
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and author. He is also a singer/songwriter and has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs, and multiple religious hymns. The best known is 'Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind', which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest. He and two of his daughters have also recorded and released the children’s song Everybody Speaks Smile! Randy has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. He is the light and the life of the world. It is said and written of Him that "He went about doing good." In doing so, He weaved light into the hearts and souls of all with whom He came in contact, both in word and deed. Randy's desire is to have the same said of him. He wants to have the words and lyrics he writes uplift, inspire, and bless others. To read more articles by Randy visit his Pure Testimony website at www.puretestimony.org.