Week 6: 2 Nephi 31:20
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
When's the last time you read your scriptures? (I'm not talking about the last time you read a verse out loud in Sunday school, because sadly for those of us that have been diagnosed with lazy-itus that doesn't count as personal nor daily scripture study). So with that brain combusting revelation in mind, when's the last time you picked up the Bible or the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price or anything remotely having to do with Faith and Christ and the Gospel and read it on your own time? When's the last time you really "[feasted] upon the word of Christ"? For you?
Before my mission, I can honestly say I did not read the scriptures like I should have. I'm 97% sure we're all guilty of slacking when it comes to scripture study. Real life is hectic and busy and after a long day at work or school the only thing I ever wanted to do was succumb to a state of catatonia and waste the rest of my day mindlessly watching Netflix or playing LEGO Batman with the kids. But if we do as Nephi exhorts us to do and we press forward and feast upon the scriptures, we shall have eternal life!!! And then I can watch all the Netflix I want for the rest of eternity!
Well, probably not. I'll probably be way too busy having fun creating my own planet and turning inanimate objects into food thanks to my awesome new Godly powers. Netflix? Pfft.
Anyway, why am I talking about scripture study? Because missionaries have the luxury of devoting pretty much their entire mornings to doing nothing but studying the scriptures. It's pretty awesome. But what I've realized this past week is that if I miss even ONE DAY of reading the Book of Mormon, for ME, then my entire day pretty much goes to poo. Seriously. On the outside I might be all fine and dandy, but inside I feel meh, like I'm running on fumes because I forgot to fill up my spiritual tank or something. It's like missing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I don't "feast" upon the word of Christ, I get very hangry. Being hungry plus angry is not a good combination on any given day, but being SPIRITUALLY hangry is even worse. Don't get me wrong, when I don't read the scriptures for whatever reason that day, we still work hard and try to get a lot of things done for the Lord, but I just don't feel as good as I would had I read the scriptures that day. When I do, I can feel the Spirit more powerfully and I'm just in a better MOOD. It doesn't matter what happens during the day, because I got my daily dose of the scriptures, everything is just EASIER. So please read your scriptures. Feast upon the word of Christ. Whatever trials we're going through, we can get through them when we turn to the Lord and the scriptures He has given to us through His prophets.
I can't say I've ever had any super mega awesome, Angels singing Hallelujah in the background, mind blowing, coincidental-but-not-
coincidental spiritual experiences. Like, when people get up in church and talk about how they heard the voice of God or saw their deceased great great great grandma's second cousin seven times removed in the temple--that kinda stuff has never happened to me. I've never had any dreams or visions or any of that spiritual mumbo jumbo. I dunno why. I like to think my faith is just as strong as the next guy's. Honestly, I've been struggling a little bit with this. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for angelic visions and Hallelujahs. I think I'm doing just fine without all that, and tell myself that my faith and trust and desire to follow the Lord is strong enough that I don't need an angel to show up with a flaming sword and give me a spiritual kick in the pants. What I am struggling with is feeling like I'm not doing enough. Praying enough. Studying the scriptures enough. Feeling the Spirit enough. Like maybe if I was doing more, studying more, pondering more, then I could have those crazy miracles and Godly coincidences happen all the time too. You know, like those stories when the missionaries knock on a door and find someone inside that's all like, "I literally just prayed to God that he would send me messengers!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah praise the Lord!!! " Ever since I was in the MTC, it just seemed like every other missionary had or was having all these spiritual "Eureka!" moments and all I have is my simple little testimony. No Hallelujahs. Just that Holy Ghost heartburn.
I dunno. I just want to help people come unto Christ, but then our leaders start talking about quantity and quality and key indicators and reaching the standards of excellence and new pew date gate and being consecrated and doing this and doing that and I just want to help people come unto Christ, but yesterday I just felt like I'm not very good at any of this. All of our new investigators this past week canceled on us, and Raul still isn't on date to be baptized. Meanwhile, it seems like every other companionship is having all this success and not skipping a beat. So I started to feel like a failure. The entire drive home I was beating myself up, wondering what I've been doing wrong and how I can be better. I felt like I didn't know enough and wasn't good enough.
And then I realized late last night: Oh, wow. I didn't read my scriptures today.
Guess what. Satan doesn't want us to read our scriptures. And when we don't, he's pumping his mental fist going, "Yesssss, YESSSSS! Feel the hanger! Embrace it! Come to the Dark Side! Mwahhahahha!" (i say mental because he doesn't have a fist, therefore he cannot pump it). All these doubts and fears and insecurities that started running rampant in my mind were, I truly believe, a direct result--or consequence--of me not reading my scriptures. Jesus Christ, aside from the Father, is the most powerful being in our lives. And that same power is in His words. When we feast upon the word of Christ, we're putting on the armor of God. I didn't put on my armor yesterday, and Satan took advantage of that.
So press forward and feast upon the word of Christ. Put on the armor of God. Endure to the end and ye shall have eternal life.
I hope y'all had a great Easter Sunday. Despite the night I had, the rest of the day was pretty amazing. We heart attacked the mission office and some of the Bishop's houses. And this past week we mostly did a lot of contacting (since our investigators keep canceling and/or avoiding us) and met a lot of interesting people. Like this one guy who thought we were a cult. I'm surprised it took almost 2 months in the field for me to run into someone like him lol.
Anyway, love you all. Stand fast in the faith and feast upon the word!
May the Spirit be with you,