This post covers verses 1-6 in this chapter.
Nephi starts out with an especially MEATY verse 1.
“For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.”
Nephi did three vital things that we must also do to receive revelation:
- Desire to know the things of God
- Believe God can make them known unto us
- Ponder on what we already know.
After those three actions happened, God revealed Himself unto Nephi. And God will reveal Himself unto us as well if we prove faithful and sincere in our quest for spiritual things. Let’s delve deeper into the three faithful actions Nephi DID.
At first glance, desire might seem passive. But it’s not. It’s an important first step. If we don’t desire something, we won’t seek after it. We can have good experiences in the Church and with the scriptures, but unless we desire a specific answer to a question, we’re just wandering and will experience no growth. God won’t answer our unasked questions. God won’t give us what we don’t even know that we need.
- Do I have an intense desire to know the things of God?
- Does that desire push me to action?
- How can I do better at desiring spiritual truths?
Everyone is different, but something that has helped me have more desire is to write things down. The act of writing makes my thoughts more concrete and clear. Putting my thoughts into words helps me more easily understand my own desires and questions, so I can act on them.
Desire usually blossoms through study and prayer. If you wait around for desire to hit you, it won’t. But if you’re digging into the scriptures each day and praying about them, God will help you desire the right things.
When we desire something, we have to believe God will give it to us. Desire and belief work together, pushing us to action.
There are people who believe the Book of Mormon or Church to be true, but they have no desire to act on that belief.
Belief without desire to do something about it is useless.
Desiring further light and knowledge pushes belief into the realm of usefulness. It stretches us to “become” something more than we are today, by seeking help from above.
Nephi believed all that his father had taught him, but he asked the angel for a witness of his own. And the angel rejoiced at his answer and praised God. Then he blessed Nephi for believing in Jesus Christ and told him he would receive his desire.
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
- Does that belief make you desire to become more like Him?
As a parent, I want more for my kids than what I had. I want them to become the best they can become. Our Heavenly Father wants the same for us. He wants us to learn of Him and believe in Him. But He doesn’t want us to stop there. He wants more for us…but we have to desire more for Him to give us more.
Don’t be content with a measly pot of porridge in your life when God longs to give you ALL that He has.
- Desire more goodness
- More answers.
- More heavenly revelation.
- More forgiveness.
- More love.
- More communion with the Spirit.
- More guidance in what to do or what to give up in our lives.
- More humility.
- More holiness.
- More of our glorious Savior and Redeemer.
When we believe and desire to know the things of God, we begin to think about the blessings and glorious truths and mysteries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We ponder and reflect.
What is pondering to you?
To me, pondering includes quiet, reverence, considering, reflecting, silent praying, soul-searching, reviewing, planning, and repenting. It is during these quiet moments when we are deep in thought that God can finally speak to us in a still small voice, or in dreams or visions, like Lehi and Nephi. We, like them, can be “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord.”
The angel asks Nephi “what desirest thou?” We must know what we desire and believe and ponder on those things.
God knows our thoughts and desires, but He waits until we understand them ourselves before blessing us with additional light and knowledge. That is merciful on His part. We aren’t ready for enlightenment until we truly desire, believe, and ponder upon principles and teachings and yearn for more.
Why, you might wonder (like I did), did Nephi need his own dream and witness, if he already believed all his father had taught? Why wasn’t he content with what he had?
The answer was given above. Because he yearned for more.
What if Nephi hadn’t sought his own revelation. I can listen to the prophet or other inspiring speakers and they can motivate me to tears and inspire me for a moment, but look how much more insight Nephi gained by seeking MORE. Think about how much more insight we can receive if we desire MORE.
The dream his father told about is shown to him, but he learns the meaning of things his father didn’t talk about. He even sees things his father didn’t discuss. Nephi desired more, and he gained more from God. In his dream, he saw the Savior of the world and His condescension to the earth. He witnessed marvelous things he hadn’t been privy to before, when he’d only believed in his father’s words.
Believe in God.
Then ponder what God would have you do.
That further light and knowledge you desire will come, for God has promised us that when we seek, we shall find; when we ask, He will give.