55 years have passed since Lehi left Jerusalem. They had 8 years in the Judean wilderness before they crossed the ocean to the promised land, so they’ve been in their new land for approximately 46 or 47 years. Jacob has been given charge of the small plates from Nephi, and is to write “a few of the things which I considered to be most precious.” (2)
He is to write the most important parts of their spiritual journey, “for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.” (4) Nephi ended his words with a plea that everyone be reconciled to Christ.
Jacob’s wish is the same, “that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world;” (8)
He gave us four simple steps to help us be reconciled to Christ and not be deceived by Satan.
Believe in Christ
Believing Christ is the first step in the right direction, but it isn’t the end. Lots of prideful, stubborn, wicked people believe Christ lived, etc. We must believe in His saving power. We must believe in His eternal justice, infinite mercy, loving grace and never-ending love. We must believe His promises–that He can save us, redeem us, comfort us, heal us, transform us. But we don’t stop at believing. Next we…
View His death
We do this each week during the sacrament as we partake of the bread and water and remember what our Savior suffered for us, that we might live. We remember how He sacrificed His body and His will to be hung on a cross and pierced with a spear and taunted, mocked, and shamed of men before He gave up His mortal life. As we view His selfless sacrifice, we can’t help but grow to love Him more. Believing and viewing His death leads one to love. Love leads us to do whatever He requires, which leads to the Step 3.
Suffer His cross
Just as a few kind souls helped Christ carry His cross on the way to Calvary, we can suffer His cross by being obedient to His will and keeping His commandments. We can suffer His cross by lifting others around us, instead of putting them down. Suffering His cross means we take upon us His name (like what we covenant to do in our baptismal covenants) and don’t shirk from standing up for Him. We are proud of our commitment to Christ and want to proclaim Him and His infinite goodness to the world, that they might not be miserable and caught up in Satan’s traps. Suffering Christ’s cross leads to having to…
Bear the shame of the world
This one makes me picture the scoffing people in the great and spacious building that Lehi saw in his dream. The world, because of Satan’s great success, will mock, shame, and belittle all those who believe in Christ and suffer His cross. We need to learn to ignore these people and heed them not, as Lehi encouraged. We also need to learn techniques to endure these negative tsunamis.
I’ve been listening to an audio book by Brene Brown about shame resilience. She teaches techniques to help one not be beat down or defined by those who shame us in life (intentionally or unintentionally). It made me realize that shame is a very destructive tool in all its forms. Brown calls it a “silent epidemic.” It’s used constantly. We need to know how to stand up against it and not be destroyed.
To me, bearing the shame of the world means I humbly accept any trials, afflictions, persecutions, and sorrows that come my way. But instead of relying upon myself to fight against these powerful forces, I lift my eyes to God, knowing He can give me rest, comfort, confidence to keep standing, and courage to go on, even when the world pulls me down, mocks who I am and what I believe, and tries to make me feel unloved and disconnected from everyone else.
Suffering Christ’s cross will lead to mocking and taunting. Even outright hatred and bullying by some. Those who don’t choose Christ froth at the mouth to make others change themselves to believe as they do. In my opinion, haters and shamers aren’t confident in themselves enough to be able to accept another worldview other than the one they have embraced for themselves
Satan never grants his followers confidence. They have to steal it from others through belittling, shaming, and other negative tactics. The narrow-minded are not empathetic or capable/willing to see the world through someone else’s lens. Others who disagree with them frighten them truly. So, they lash out in hate and aggressive attacks to force others to side with them…or else!
We must bear the world’s scorn and shaming with love in our hearts (not hatred back at our enemies). We must bear the shame of the world with conviction that standing with Christ and suffering His cross comes with eternal rewards in the end. We might be lonely at times. We might be depressed. But if we lift up our heads and put our faith in Christ, He can help us overcome all the evils and sorrows of life. Our love for Him and our belief that He will make everything right in the end will give us true courage to stand apart and be different now.
The world celebrates sin and calls defying God’s commands courage. They love to label and openly define good to be bad, and bad to be good. The world shames those who hold fast to God’s words and follow His prophets. It won’t ever change. Satan is still fighting a war against goodness. He wants men to be miserable forever, like he is and will always be. Reading Jacob’s words gives me comfort that I can endure Satan’s onslaughts.
Jacob’s four steps show a simple way to stay close to Christ—to be reconciled to Him always, so we can receive His blessings of joy, happiness, love, and fulfillment—in this life and in the next.
- Believe in Christ.
- View His death.
- Suffer His cross.
- Bear the shame of the world.
If we do these four things, we will have joy, even when the world is all against us. We only need Christ…and we have everything.