Recently I finished reading Elder Bednar’s book, “The Power to Become”. While there were a lot of interesting things I learned, one concept that stuck with me was the power behind doing the small and simple things that we are instructed to do – not just sometimes – but consistently.
I’ve seen a lot of family and friends making poor choices and stepping away from the Savior and the church. It’s been hard to watch the people I love letting go of truth and seeing them fall prey to Satan and his traps many times, but it’s also been very eye opening to what I need to continue to do in order to avoid being deceived. We often rattle off the “primary answers” in answer to many gospel questions, which include “go to church, read your scriptures, say your prayers….etc.” But there is a reason we learn these at such a young age and are taught their importance.
A few months back I came across this article in the Ensign and found it very interesting how the author broke down the story of Lehi’s vision and the different spiritual preparations that the people in his vision had taken. In 1 Nephi 8:21-23 it reads,
“And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost”
When you think of the Iron Rod which represents the word of God, these people started towards the tree until temptations and trials arose – and they were quick to let go of the rod and wander off. These individuals did not read or study the scriptures, in addition to other things that offer the word of God such as reading the Ensign, studying conference talks or attending church meetings.
The most interesting part of this article was the second group of people that he talked about. In 1 Nephi 8:24,28 it reads:
“And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost”
This group started out clinging to the iron rod until they reached the tree and partook of the fruit. But they soon became ashamed and influenced by the scoffing of others, lost their focus, and wandered off distracted and lost. I loved the parallel of this group of people with individuals who had been baptized, ordained to the priesthood, gone through the temple, served missions, made covenants … etc. But once things got hard, and a trial hit unexpectedly, they were not rooted in the gospel because they did not do small and simple things consistently. How often do all of us turn to the Savior only in time of need, or occasionally when life suddenly isn’t going how we thought it would go?
I know this article was published for me as it reiterated the importance of doing the small things. I have been watching many friends go through hard times and seeing them quickly letting go of the gospel. But as I stand back and analyze their situations, it has become a lesson and a testimony builder to me of the power and protection we receive when we do the little things we are instructed to do on a daily basis. I love this quote from Elder Maxwell:
“Even yesterday’s spiritual experience, however, does not guarantee us against tomorrow’s relapse. Persistence thus matters greatly. More than a few, for instance, have had supernal, spiritual experiences only to fall away later; or, more often, merely to pull off to the side of the road, though only intending a brief rest stop.” – Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Spiritual patterns are essential in avoiding the deception that is so pervasive in our world today. These spiritual patterns should become daily habits in our lives that help to build our foundation for when the winds of the adversary come. Consider these two scriptures,
Alma 37:6, “Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;”
D&C 64:33, “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”
Elder Bednar once said, “ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results” I love the simple and yet profound message this holds. Elder Maxwell also counselled that “Measured steadiness is more efficient than spurts and then a slackening.” Both of these are testimonies of the power in doing the small and simple things, consistently.
I’ve had many compliments recently on how well I am “holding myself together” or how strong I am after going through what I have been through. The truth of the matter is, when we do the small and simple things we are given protection and a power greater than our own. Every day I feel lighter, happier, stronger, and closer to my Heavenly Father because I know I have kept myself spiritually strong because of my consistent habits that I created many years ago. These consistent habits not only provide protection, but hasten the healing process when we are yearning to be whole. How grateful I am to my parents for teaching me at a very young age to never go to bed without reading my scriptures and never wake up without thanking God for another day. My morning and evening prayers are my favorite part of every day because I get to pour out my heart to Heavenly Father and ask Him for his advice. I feel that He has given me an added blessing of understanding as every trial I am given is shown to me as an opportunity to grow, rather than a burden. I welcome every day the mountains He gives me to climb. But I also know that it would not be possible to climb them if it wasn’t for doing the small and simple things consistently in my life.