Today my thought’s have been turned to the power of daily scripture study and how I need to improve on that in my personal life. It seems like I always have something I’m doing really well, and something I let drop because all-too-often I try to juggle too many balls at once.
Being pregnant has taken a toll on my mental and physical fatigue, along with working 60+ hour weeks, and juggling a lot of other tasks and pre-baby checklists. But I know that once baby comes, it will only be harder and that if I do not make scripture study a priority now, it will continue to take a back burner for the rest of my life. It reminds me of this quote by Uchtdorf from his talk titled, A Matter of a Few Degrees:
The difference of a few degrees, as with the Antarctica flight or Saul’s failure to hold fast to the counsel of the prophet just a little longer, may seem minor. But even small errors over time can make a dramatic difference in our lives.
Small errors and minor drifts away from the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring sorrowful consequences into our lives. It is therefore of critical importance that we become self-disciplined enough to make early and decisive corrections to get back on the right track and not wait or hope that errors will somehow correct themselves.
The longer we delay corrective action, the larger the needed changes become, and the longer it takes to get back on the correct course—even to the point where a disaster might be looming. – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It is by consistently doing the small things day by day that provide big results in the end. I may not end up somewhere drastic, but if I allow these important and protective habits to slip now, they will only snowball into bigger and more permanent bad habits.
Lessons from the Israelites:
In Exodus 16:14-21 the Lord gives the Israelites specific instructions about the manna he provides for them daily. They are to only take enough for what they need a day at a time. Those who disobey end up having worms and other things spoil their food. Why is it that He instructed them only to take what they needed for that day, and not for the week? Part of this answer is found in Deuteronomy 8:2-3,
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
This can be likened to scripture study because we cannot read once a week or once a month and be spiritually fed for the rest of the week. Just as the Israelite’s were instructed to feast daily to be mindful of the Lord and the blessings He bestowed on them a day at a time, we must turn to the scriptures daily to not only stay our course, but be humbled and see the Lord’s hand working in our day to day moments. Elder D. Todd Christopherson narrates this concept very powerfully in this video.
Consider these two questions to self reflect after watching the above video:
Why would remembering the Lord and studying the scriptures only one day a week fail to provide adequately for our spiritual needs throughout the rest of the week?
What difference does it make in your life when you remember the Lord and study the scriptures daily?
Our spirits also require nourishment. Just as there is food for the body, there is food for the spirit. The consequence of spiritual malnutrition are just as hurtful to our spiritual lives as physical malnutrition is to our physical bodies. Symptoms of spiritual malnutrition include reduced ability to digest spiritual food, reduced spiritual strength, and impairment of spiritual vision. – Dallin H. Oaks
What do we miss out on if we cannot digest spiritual food? I want to be a disciple that the Lord can give instructions, revelation and impressions to and know I will follow through and act upon those. If I am not keeping up on my daily spiritual nourishment, it weakens my ability to digest the spiritual experiences and service opportunities that the Lord puts in my path.
When I think about spiritual strength, my mind reflects on the power and protection that I receive every day in my life. I have always been very aware of the divine help that comes to me throughout every minute of my day and am personally very sensitive to negative influences and unclean spirits. If I do not do all that I can to be spiritually strengthened, I am weakening my defenses against the adversary and allow myself to become more susceptible to his counterfeit messages, temptations and negative thought patterns.
The last thing Elder Oaks warns against is the impairment of spiritual vision. What do we not see clearly? What things in our lives are we confused about? What is the Lord trying to teach us that we do not see clearly? Satan is the father of counterfeiting everything that is good, and if I become spiritually blind, I can more easily become clouded with the way the world wants me to see things.
In the recent face-to-face discussion with Elders Holland and Eyering, they were asked a question about scripture study. They discussed what it means to be spiritually filled and to feast upon the scriptures, compared to just reading them. It made me ask the following question,
Am I feasting upon the scriptures or simply reading them to read them?
For me, it is much easier to feast upon the scriptures when I have a question that I ask the Lord ahead of time. If I just open them to read them, I may sit there and close them 15 minutes later, not remembering anything of what I had read. But when I pray to the Lord for guidance with a topic, problem I am faced with, or a question in my heart, I can feel the spirit directing me and teaching me no matter how long I study for.
This video summarizes beautifully the importance of daily scripture study and allowing Christ to be present in our every day lives. We all to often take these for granted, but they are there to not only teach us, but to save us. Within them lie the answers to all of the mysteries, doctrine, and historical patterns that are available to us if we only feast daily and dig deeper.