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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Press Forward Children of God

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." A man, whom I will call Nathan, was on a journey of a thousand miles. He had already taken that first step, and even a second. As a matter of fact, Nathan was already halfway through his journey. As a part of his journey, he found himself on a ship. The port and starboard sides had huge hundred foot cliffs about fifty feet away, on both sides. He wasn't too worried about hitting those cliffs. Nathan can steer the ship to avoid such collisions. He had another worry. Previous to this situation, He found a large opening into this "canyon." It reminded him of a gate, so he decided to enter it. Then, he soon realized He could not go back. This was a part of His worry. On the surface, it appears to be easy to turn his small ship around. Below, however, is another story. As soon as he had entered that gate, he was in a strait. The bottom is more shallow than it appears, and he can feel the gentle nuzzles of the rocks as he passes by them. On both sides of the ship, he can see the remnants of other ships which have entered and failed to navigate the way through. In a strait, there is a very narrow path that will lead the captain, in this case Nathan, through to the other side.
It may sound familiar. Believe it or not, everyone experiences this at some point. It may not be us steering a ship, but we are (or will be) given an opportunity to enter into some sort of gate. This gate I speak of, is baptism. Nephi wrote, "the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate..." (2 Nephi 31: 17-18) In previous posts, I have talked about this gate. Now it is time to talk about what happens after this gate. Just like Nathan was not at his journey's end when he had entered into the strait, we are not finished after we are baptized, and confirmed (aka given the Gift of the Holy Ghost). Nephi asks, "after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay... 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." (2 Nephi 31: 19-20) Hence, to get to the goal, we need to keep traveling. After baptism, there are other covenants we make, including marriage. Yes, there are some rough points where those rocks nuzzle us a bit hard at times, but it does not mean the ship is destroyed. It does not mean you need to stop. It does not mean to turn around and try another path. Christ said, "After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me." (2 Nephi 31: 14) If we go back to the story of Nathan. If he decides to turn around, his ship would be torn up. At this point, it would have been better if Nathan didn't even enter the gate to start. If he doesn't want to cause this damage, he must press forward. So it is the same for us. There is going to be times where we, like Nathan, need to focus to not be destroyed. Christ said, "wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life..." (Matthew 7: 13-14) Because of God's love, I invite you to continue to press forward. Make those covenants, and renew them as often as every week, when you take the sacrament. This is what enduring to the end means. Press forward, my brothers and sisters. I know that when you do, you will have your reward at the end of this strait's path.

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