Wednesday, June 9, 2010
If ye have choice
1 Nephi 7
When I read this "if ye have choice" I wondered why Nephi didn't say, "ye have choice"?
If... What keeps us from having choice? What keeps us from using the choice that God has given us? The answer is choice!
When we choose righteously we always have and give choice. When we choose selfishly we always take and loose choice.
As I read this story (another pattern of choice) I saw how choice is given and choice is taken away and how we can overcome those who seek to take away our choice.
(Words and Phrases)
I would that ye might know (vs 1) - I am glad that he chose to tell me. I am glad that I might know. If Nephi hadn't chosen to tell us about how they retrieved Ismael, what might we have "supposed"? This simple phrase helps us remember that knowledge is important in helping make good choices.
they were desirous to return (vs 7)- Many times we make a choice and then we vacillate. It appears that Laman and Lemuel were not to upset about the idea of returning to Jerusalem to retrieve a wife, but once they had what the wanted, they began to question the Lord's commandments again. How often am I desirous to return to my old ways? How often do I receive what the Lord has given unto me as a blessing and I want to forget from whence it came?
what great things the Lord hath done? (vs 11)- I am reminded of how often I forget the blessings the Lord has given me. It takes daily concentration and prayer for me to remember how God has blessed my family and my life. I wish that I could use pattern every time the children or members of the family have a difficult time. I wish I could remember the great things before I complain or choose to rebel.
able to do all things according to His will (vs 12) - So If God is able to do all things according to his will and I align my will with His will, then I should be able to do all things? Wow? But how do you do that? How do you fix yourself so that you aren't distracted, or tempted, or "carried away"? How do I align myself with God's will? Well I guess the first thing to do is to know God's will, and to learn it.
if ye have choice (vs 15) - There are many choices we make that take away our choices. I want to make choices that give more choices. It's like the Jeanie in the Bottle telling me you have three choices, but I know that if I am wise, good choices will lead to more choices.
I may not be able to ask directly for an extra choice, but I can learn to ask questions that will lead me to experiences that will allow me to ask for extra choices. . So many of us are led to believe that we only have three choices. And when we choose selfishly we do limit our choices.
Take the case of the Goose who laid golden eggs. As long as the farmer cared for and nurtured the goose, they had plenty of golden eggs. But when the farmer became selfish and wanted all the gold for himself, he killed the goose thinking he would receive the source of the golden eggs and thus become impossibly wealthy. What he did not see is that it was his goodness, and selflessness toward the goose that brought him golden eggs.
they did bind me with cords. (vs16) Bad choices tend to do this. Bad choices bind us. Bad choices seek to take away our choice. Bad choices lead to anger. Bad choices seek their own.
I wonder what bad choices I make that bind me? How do I evaluate my choices?
strength that I may burst these bands (vs 17) - When we find ourselves living with those that seek to take away our choice, or who seek to bind us to their ways, we have an option of praying to the Lord so that he may free us. The key here is that Nephi had the strength of faith because of his obedience. An employer at work, a bad marriage, a toxic friendship, all would be grounds for asking for help in "bursting the bands that bind". Other things that bind would be our own choices that have led to addiction. Only now we are repentive and we need help to become free from these habits.
when I had said these words - (vs 18) I think it is amazing that Nephi only had to speak the words and the Lord granted it. Such was Nephi's belief and faith in himself and in the Lord's power which surged through him. I have born testimony and know the power of words. Words have great power when they are backed by belief and faith.
pray unto God for forgiveness (vs 21) - I am amazed that as men we want to worship men. We set men up as our idols. (sports figures, political leaders, church leaders) and we tend to forget the message and focus on the messenger. Nephi says.. fine I forgive you, but don't forget to talk to God. Make sure He has forgiven you and that all is right with God. I am human. I make mistakes. But I also have the power to do great things when I have God on my side. When I do these things be sure to not forget that it is because of my practices of faith, it is because I have allowed God to work through me. It is because of God. I pray that I will always pray unto God for forgiveness and give thanks for my blessings.
I am grateful that I have choice to make choice and to then to rejoice in my choice.