My Favorite Scripture
I should start by confessing that I have lots of favorite scriptures. It really comes down to what situation I am in and who I am talking to.
Need to build faith? Alma 32. Working on testimony? John 7:17. Obedience becoming a problem? D&C 130:20-21. Not enjoying the blessings of the Sabbath Day? D&C 59:9-19. Struggling to fast? Isaiah 58. Teaching about the Priesthood? I could write a book about it…
You get the picture.
I use the term “My Favorite Scripture” like it’s going out of style. But these few verses are probably my most quoted of my favorites, simply because they have been so applicable to my life.
“Why so applicable?” you ask? – Because I mess up. A lot. I’m like your classic Nephite in Zarahemla in the Book of Mormon. One day I’m all happy, holy, righteous, and cheering the prophets on. The next day I’m all high and mighty, puffed up in pride, and rolling around in my blessings like I had something to do with them. And then the next day I’ve fallen. I’m a classic Pride Cycle kind of guy. Not that I like to admit it. Actually, I hate to admit it. But the truth is the truth, and for some reason I can never seem to learn completely from a lesson the first time around. Sure, the big lessons I get, like when you’re a little kid and you’re told not to stick the fork in the light socket. That one only takes one mistake to figure out not to do it again! But it’s the little ones I’m talking about. Like praying for charity with all the energy of my heart like Moroni admonishes (Moroni 7:46-48). That one is always hard, because when I sincerely ask, God sincerely gives. And it’s hard to be a typical mumble grumbler (like the rest of society) when you’re looking as someone with the Love of Christ.
So what verses of my favoritest of favorite scriptures do I continually look to for support, admonition, guidance, and strength?
It’s the verses where the Lord is chastising Joseph Smith for losing 116 pages of the manuscript to The Book of Mormon. I absolutely love those verses.
I don’t love them because the Prophet Joseph is being chastised per se, but I love them for multiple other reasons. First of all, if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, would have have put such scathing and burning words onto paper as revelation, let alone publish them to the world as a blatant mistake that nearly cost him his calling? I don’t think so. That Joseph was humble enough to do so proves to me more fully that he was a true prophet of God. But I also love them for other reasons…
We should read them first before I keep going though.
Said the Lord,
For although a man may have many revelations and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.
Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.
And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.
For behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words –
Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
Behold, thou art Joseph (Stan), and thou was chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work.”
I think we can all apply these verses to ourselves on a regular basis. How often do we get puffed up and boast in our own mighty works? Maybe we’re not so blatant as going around telling folks how awesome we are, but there’s more subtle ways. Do we take too much pride in our careers, our cars, our homes, or our toys? In so doing we have made those items our idols, and have followed after the carnal desires of our own hearts.
Every Latter-day Saint has been entrusted with the sacred gift of the Fullness of the Gospel. And the promises that have been made to us in the waters of baptism, each week in sacrament meeting, when we’ve received the priesthood, or made covenants in The House of the Lord, have been great. There are no greater promises than eternal life and enjoying the company of our families forever.
But how often do we follow “the persuasions of men”? When we partake of Babylon and the cultures of the world, in our music, our movies, or in any other way in our daily lives, we have to remember that we’re setting at naught the counsel of God to live in the world, but not of the world. – It is such a tricky tightrope to walk at times.
But if we have fallen (and we all have at some point; some of us repeatedly), there is a way back. The Lord’s arm is there to support us. To lift us hope. To drag us back to the Safe Shores of Zion and away from the Waves of the World. As we are faithful in our times of trouble, the Lord protects us against ALL of the fiery darts of the Adversary. He is merciful, and if we just simply repent we are called again to take our seat in the Kingdom of God.
It is such a beautiful thing. And as I read the Lord’s words each time in those verses I cannot help but replace Joseph’s name with mine. And each time I hear His voice as He sweetly calls me to repent with love, mercy, and compassion.
When I picture the Savior I picture Him always waiting and standing with His arms wide open, ready to love, to hug, to console, and to bless. I picture Him grabbing us one by one, as the one sheep gone astray at each point in our lives, and literally carrying us back to the Green Pastures of the Gospel.
That’s why I love the magnificent picture I posted above of the Christ the Redeemer Statue located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At 130 feet tall and located at the peak of the 2,300 foot tall mountain, it is stunning in the message it conveys. Standing above a city of nearly 6 Million people stands Christ with His arms outstretched and welcoming all. “Come unto me,” He seems to say.
That is the message I hear from the Savior’s words in Doctrine and Covenants Section 4, and all throughout the holy scriptures. – “Come unto me.” – It’s there from Genesis to Revelation and Nephi to Moroni, from Section 1 to Official Declaration 2, and Moses 1 to the Articles of Faith. – “Come unto me.”
The invitation is always open. All are welcome. No need to RSVP. And heck, it’s even okay if you’re late. The doors to the part aren’t shut yet. But as Elder Holland would say, “Don’t delay. It’s getting late.”
I hope that you’re not late for the party. I hear it’s going to be a rocking good time. If you need a ride, just let me know; I want everyone to be there. And maybe on the way I’ll share some of my other “favorite scriptures” with you. But be ready, because the list is long…
If you’ve stumbled upon this blog and website and want to learn more about Jesus Christ’s amazing love, and how He has called prophets in our own day and time to lead us back to Him, please click here. You’ll be glad you did.