Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, in “Deepening Our Conversion to Jesus Christ“, discusses how delighting in the scriptures strengthens and deepens our conversion to Christ. For me, the scriptures are an anchor and a way to learn and grow.
There are scriptures that are an anchor to my soul. These favorite scriptures are ones I can go to at different times depending on what I am feeling or situations I am passing through.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” I go to this scripture to remind myself that God has called a prophet on the earth today. That prophet is Russel M. Nelson. It also reassures me that God doesn’t leave us in the dark about what He is going to do. We hear from the leaders of the church, from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles down to our local Bishops that President Nelson is receiving continuous revelation from God. We hear about those revelations at General Conference. We see those revelations in action with the work that is being done by the church.
2 Nephi 4:17-35
I found these verses during a low time in my life. I love the way Nephi here looks at his situation and realizes that he is in a state of depression. “I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and sins which do so easily beset me.” I want to put a caveat here. I’m not suggesting that this is the answer to clinically diagnosed depression. These verses are a way to help us get out of, what I like to call, the normal funks of life.
Once Nephi realizes he is in this state, he begins to count his blessings. “My God hath been my support; … He hath filled me with his love … He hath confounded mine enemies … He hath heard my cry by day” When I feel a little down or am not having the best of days if I count my blessings I realize that life is good and that this is a brief moment and will pass.
“Oh then, if I have seen so great things, … why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?” Nephi here is starting to pull himself out of feeling down. He is recognizing that good will triumph and the Lord has involved him in it. I have felt the same way at times. I have asked myself this same question, and I have answered in a similar manner as Nephi.
“Awake my soul! … Rejoice, O my heart, … O Lord, I will praise thee forever, … May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite!” Nephi continues to lift himself up and begins to rejoice in all that God has done for him. I too have seen how rejoicing in the Lord lifts my spirit and fills me with goodness.
“O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.” Trusting in the Lord leads to happiness. This trust leads us to “pure truth, pure doctrine of Christ, and pure revelation” (President Nelson, Oct 2021 General Conference).
Nephi finishes by telling us that “God will give liberally to him that asketh.” When we have negative or down moments, He will be there to help us. He will help us understand the steps we need to take to move forward and get past the current doldrums.
This is my most favorite of all my favorite scriptures. It is a reminder to me about where to build my foundation. This scripture has fortified me against the storms thrown at me and has given me confidence that I have found the truth.
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”
A lot of the scriptures that are my favorites remind me to “remember”. In this case, I am called to remember where to build my life. Who is the foundation upon which I can build to be the best that I can be? Jesus Christ. If I do this, then it doesn’t matter what gets thrown at me, I can withstand it. I can’t be dragged down in misery. I can’t be taken away from the truth.
Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23
Whenever feelings of doubt creep into my mind, or I hear something that makes me question some part of church history, this scripture pops into my head.
“[C]ast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart,” I remember that night well. I was a freshman at BYU, in my dorm room alone. I had been conflicted on the truth of the gospel. I had been touched by the spirit in multiple situations. I had to know. I kneeled down and prayed for answers. The answers came. “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” That was exactly my experience. I felt it throughout my body.
When those feelings of doubt come in, those feelings I had when I cried to God replace them. The peace spoken of replaces the doubt and I remember that I have had a witness from God about the truth. God knows that I received that witness. I know that I received that witness, and I know that God knows I know it.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed and that there is too much to do, this scripture reminds me that I’m not in this alone. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” What a promise! I always picture in my mind that Christ is right there ready to help. All we have to do is come unto Him. Taking upon ourselves His yoke means we work together. He is our partner and can grant us rest after we have labored.
2 Nephi 33:10-15
These are Nephi’s last words to his people and to all who would read them. This is his last plea to “believe in Christ”. Even if you read the words and don’t believe them, he pleads for you to believe in Christ. He then promises that if we believe in Christ, Christ will show us the truth of Nephi’s words, “for they are the words of Christ … and they teach all men that they should do good.”
Nephi also warns that those who do not believe in his words will be shown their truth at the last day. He prays that “many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.”
Delight in the Scriptures
How do we find joy in the scriptures? One way I find joy is in the discovery of something I didn’t understand before. A scripture will “speak to me” and teach me something I hadn’t considered.
Sometimes it’s the feeling I get when reading them. That feeling of peace in having the truth. The witness of the Holy Ghost that these things are “not of men, nor of man” but of God. The way they can uplift my spirits and strengthen me against the trials of the day.
Drawing Us Closer to Christ
Ultimately though the scriptures are there to draw us closer to Christ. He is in the words. He is in the stories. He is in the lessons, parables, and results. Everything in the scriptures leads us to Him. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be closer to the Savior and Redeemer of the world?
We have been given the scriptures to convince “the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations.” (Book of Mormon Title Page)
If we want to be converted or more converted to Christ, we need to delight in the scriptures. The word of God leads us to know, love, and form a relationship with Christ. That relationship is vital to our salvation and exaltation. It is also a relationship He craves. He is our brother, loves us, and wants what’s best for us. All we have to do is come unto him.
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