Friday, November 20, 2015

One Short Chapter but So Many Great Truths

Although I'm doing some of these posts as part of my assignments for school, I also just enjoy sharing some of the insights I've gained from my scripture study. This week we studied Enos-Mosiah 3. For such short chapters, there's a lot of good stuff in this section! I especially like Enos because of the following insights:

1) In verse 3 it talks about how he was hunting in the forest and started thinking about the words that his father had often taught him about the gospel. The first thing that stands out to me is that his father spoke to him often about the gospel. His wasn't just a one-time or only on special occasions type of religion. He believed it, he lived it, and he taught it. What a blessing for him and for his children. That makes me want to be more vocal about my testimony, and makes me want to take the time to discuss the gospel often.
The second thing that stands out to me in this verse is that Enos went into the forest to hunt beasts. He was going into a quiet place by himself to do a common activity. I wonder how many of us take time to go into our own "forest" and spend some quiet time thinking about the words of eternal life? Enos' experience shows me that even when setting off to do something common, if our hearts and minds are open, we can end up having great spiritual experiences. Even Jesus took the time to go off by Himself for solitary communion with His father. I think of how much strength we could gain by taking the time to re-group and re-center our lives through this practice, and how uncommon it is in our hectic, loud, and over-booked lives.

2) In verses 5-8 Enos is given the wonderful confirmation that his sins are forgiven. He then asked the Lord how that was done. The Lord answered that it was his faith that had made him whole. His faith wasn't just an inert belief in Jesus Christ, it was belief that led to action. He didn't just believe what he had been taught about Jesus and the salvation He offers- he prayed all day and all night until he gained a personal witness of it. I think about times that I've wanted to know the truth of something, or have needed the confirmation that God loves me, and how much time and effort it has taken to receive those. God willingly gives us all that we have, all that we need, and much of what we ask for, but sometimes I think God tests us to see just how serious we are, or how much we're willing to give to receive those blessings. If we're not willing to pay the price, why should He just hand us those special witnesses? That would be akin to spoiling a child by giving them everything they want just because they say they want it. (And we all know how immature and out of control that kind of child is! I don't think Heavenly Father wants any of us to be like that.)

3) In verse 9 when Enos has felt the joy of forgiveness and no longer feels the burden of his sins, he starts looking outside of himself and he naturally starts to think about his "brethren"- his friends, family and community, and of their welfare. It strikes me that when we really feel loved, we want to and are able to pass that love along. To feel loved gives us the foundation for healthy relationships with others, and to truly feel loved by God gives us the ability to love others more perfectly. Feeling the love of the Lord creates a desire in us to serve others and to help them to feel His love also. It also helps us to love those who sometimes seem unlovable. On the other hand, those who don't feel loved are often self-absorbed and unable to think of others' feelings and needs. Their relationships suffer and they miss out on the deeper bonds that selfless love creates.

4) I love how in verse 12 it reiterates that the blessing of having the Lord speak to him and grant him his desire came AFTER he prayed and labored with much diligence. Enos wasn't one to just approach the Lord casually, say a short prayer, and hope that he'd receive the desired blessing. He put the time and effort into really connecting with the Lord, and his diligence was rewarded greatly.

5) In verses 13-15 Enos is praying that their records will be preserved and brought to those who don't have them. I think this shows the incredible value he placed on the scriptures. Back in his time it was a special thing to have possession of a set of scriptures. They were heavy, bulky, and hard to engrave. They didn't have a copy for every family, or even for every city. He recognized that the only reason his people were able to be taught the commandments and have a chance to try to live the gospel was because they had the scriptures. Without the words of the Lord to guide them, they would have quickly fallen prey to the whims and "wisdom" of man rather than the guidance and inspiration of the Lord. His love for the Lamanites was so great that he wanted to ensure that they had the opportunity to learn and be brought to salvation, and he knew that the scriptures were their best bet.
This makes me look at my scriptures with a new-found appreciation. I often take for granted the fact that I have my very own set of scriptures (actually, multiple sets including ones on my phone so I can literally take them with me everywhere I go.) I think about the sacrifices that were made to ensure that the scriptures survived and were then copied and distributed to the masses. I think we've all become too complacent about the value of having God's word with us. How often do we pick up our scriptures with wonder and awe about what they really contain? They do us no good if they sit unopened and unexplored. Do we realize what our life would be like if we didn't have them? I know that I personally am apt to go about things the wrong way. I used to joke that if there was a way to do things backwards I was the one to find it. I know that I wouldn't have found the right path to follow if I didn't have God's word to show me the way, and I doubt I would have found anyone to teach me if they hadn't also been taught by the scriptures. We can't learn, live, or teach what we don't know, and we wouldn't know if we didn't have the scriptures. Enos makes me look at my scriptures with more love and gratitude.

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