Today’s Reading is 1 Nephi Chapter 4
…Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, … let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, … and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord?
~ 1 Nephi 4: 1-2, 34 ~
Today, many underestimate the power of one’s faithful obedience in keeping the will of God. In today’s reading, we encounter the admonishment of Nephi where we are reminded of how powerful our faithful obedience to God is. Let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spoke unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither.
Imagine having that much power. Yet, it was not Moses himself that was strong. Nephi recognized the strength Moses drew from his faithfulness in walking in obedience to God. Leading a nation out of 400 years of captivity and bondage was no easy task. Leading them through their own wilderness was just as difficult of a task.
Coming out of our own spiritual captivity and bondage of compulsory behaviors and addictions is just as formidable as facing the Red Sea. Yet, through our faithful obedience in following our Heavenly Father’s will and desire, we are capable of parting the waters of our own difficulty in order to traverse on solid ground toward a life of overall health and wellness.
Mightier than all the Earth
One of the observations in today’s readings is a reminder of God’s strength. Nephi comments:
…For behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
Christ reminded his disciples the power of faith is like unto a mustard seed:
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you (See, Luke 17:5-6, ESV).
And, in Matthew 17:20, Christ provides this observation to his disciples:
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Scripture is replete with encounters where faithful men walked in obedience and God said He’ll go before them. Nephi understood this, especially since they were commissioned in obtaining the plates of brass. His reminder to his older brothers is a reminder to us as well: Our Heavenly Father is mightier than any other power or influence.
And, in order for God to move on our behalf, it doesn’t take an enormous amount of faith. The Gospel Coalition writes this observational thought:
We’re prone to think if we just had more faith, then God could do amazing things through us. But Jesus tells us something quite astonishing. The issue isn’t whether we are full of faith but whether we have any faith. If we have the smallest amount of faith, God works on our behalf. Jesus stops his disciples short and asks them: Do you believe in me at all? Do you trust God at all?
Why is Jesus’s answer encouraging? Because we don’t get caught in the morass of thinking about whether we have enough faith. When facing a given situation, we call out to God to give us faith—no matter how small. A small amount of faith is sufficient because the focus is not on our faith but its object.
Nephi expresses the need to be strong like Moses in that we are to stand firm on what faith we are able to have in God. This faith is strengthened when we walk in obedience to God’s desire and will. The reason is that through our faith, we have come to trust in God’s divine providence and promises that He will be faithful in His blessings and promises.
That is the core truth Nephi is teaching. Moses was strong, and so shall we be strong like unto Moses, because of his faithful trust in God’s divine providence in fulfilling the ability for Moses to fulfill God’s commandment. And, it is not the quantity of our faith in God either. All we need is a little faith and trust in knowing God will see us through any given situation we faced. Because, through our small amount of faith in God, we see the power of God work wonders.
How do we have simple faith that is powerful influence in our lives?
Faith and Obedience is Empowering
President Thomas S. Monson taught – at the 2015 General Conference – the following truth:
God’s commandments are not given to frustrate us or to become obstacles to our happiness. Just the opposite is true. He who created us and who loves us perfectly knows just how we need to live our lives in order to obtain the greatest happiness possible. He has provided us with guidelines which, if we follow them, will see us safely through this often treacherous mortal journey. We remember the words of the familiar hymn: “Keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace.”
One of our greatest desires is seeking a sense of happiness in our lives. Many people who recovery from toxic compulsory behaviors, addictions, and other dysfunctions remark how they thought these things brought a sense of happiness in their lives. When, in reality, it was mere delusions. True happiness begins when we start finding joy in our lives where we live with intention, meaning, and purpose. This occurs when we faithfully walk in the will of God, having faith in his ability to see us through our own journey out of bondage and toward the land of promise he has prepared for us.
The empowering of our faith is summed up here:
If our faith is in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then it has a great effect. Our faith makes a difference not because it is so great but because God is so great, because he is the sovereign one who rules over all things. Our faith doesn’t thrive when we think about how much faith we have; it springs up when we behold our God—when we see Jesus as the One crucified and risen for us.
Our faith, like the mustard seed, may be small and insignificant. Yet, it yields a great deal of blessings as it grows. This is because our strength does not lie within our own capabilities to overcome the struggles and obstacles of life, and our journey through the recovery process. If our strength alone is capable of moving us through difficult times, we need not to have faith in God. If there is no need to have faith in God, then there is no need for us to surrender our lives and will over to something greater than ourselves. Which means, our faith is only limited to our own dependency and strength.
Yet, Moses did not rely on his own strength and capabilities. He relied on his faith in God consistently and continually. Same with Nephi where he reminds us that it is through our consistent trust and faithfulness in keeping the commandments of God that we may find power in our deliverance.
Our Faith and Obedience Sanctify Us
Not only is our faith empowering and strengthen. Our faith and consistent obedience sanctifies us throughout our personal journey. It is what transforms us over time. Sanctification occurs when we are diligent in being faithful in keeping the commandments and following God’s will and desire.
What does this look like? Concluding the article at the Gospel Coalition, we find this truth expressed:
Mustard seed faith, then, is faith that kills works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19–21) and produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23). Love, joy, peace, and patience are mountains that can only be climbed by faith; faith, after all, expresses itself in love (Gal. 5:6). Mustard seed faith believes the gospel will go the ends of the earth and triumph over the gates of hell. And the clearest evidence of mustard seed faith is whether you love God and your neighbor.
Our greatest enemies are not outside of us but within. Our greatest foe is the hate and rebellion that overtakes us, and mustard seed faith—because it is placed in Jesus Christ—gives us the victory over our sin.
Through the recovery process, we are striving to put to death our old self (much like new Christians are working to put to death their former attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and ways of living life). In it’s place, we work through the spirit to produce those characteristics of authenticity. Our faithful obedience to God’s divine will and desire for our own personal lives is evident by our love for God and our love for others.
And, the greatest enemy we battle against is our own personal ego and self-importance. Through our consistent faith and obedience, we gain victory of self-righteousness and begin living out a transformed life of authenticity.
Therefore, the reminder of Nephi to his brother’s is truth for us today.
Action Steps – what you are able to implement for your own personal recovery
1 – All it takes is simple faith in order for God to work in our lives. Even the smallest amount of faith empowers us to be strong.
2 – Diligence is required to sustain our faith in God – through our obedience to His will and desire – in order for us to receive blessings from Him.
3 – Our faith and obedience in God sanctifies us where we are consistently being transformed into a more authentic person where the fruit of God’s spirit may manifest outwardly toward other people. The fruit is love toward God and others.
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