Is it possible for someone to be …
Rich and humble?
Poor and prideful?
Educated and humble?
Uneducated and prideful?
Of course one could answer “YES” to each of the questions above, but as we read in these chapters, it takes a conscious effort to prevent pride and to seek to be humble no matter what our circumstances may be.
Something else that we can learn from these chapters is that IF we do not ENDURE TO THE END blessings can be LOST in the LAST hour. Following their miraculous deliverance from the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites enjoyed peace for about three years. But pride, class distinctions, and persecutions arose among the people. While some remained faithful to the Lord, many entered into secret combinations. Because of the secret combinations, the chief judge was murdered and the Nephite government was overthrown. The people divided into tribes and appointed their own leaders. Nephi continued to minister unto the people with power and great authority. As recorded in 3 Nephi 6–7, some of the Nephites experienced the tragic results of rejecting the prophets, while others experienced the blessings that come from repenting and hearkening to the Lord’s chosen servants.
It seems that there are two great strategies at play in our lives: UNITY & DIVISION
You may see it differently, but to me, God’s strategy is to strengthen His children through UNITY. Unity in covenants, unity within family, unity with the priesthood, unity in our communities, etc. There is great STRENGTH in UNITY!
Satan’s strategy is to DIVIDE. Division WEAKENS, hence the saying, “Divide and conquer!”
To understand this next part, we need to define the difference between a strategy and tactics. A strategy is the large, overall plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, procedures that are part of the overall plan/strategy. God uses several tactics (procedures) to unify: sealed in families, gathered as Saints, worship meetings, temple ordinances, missionary work, caring for the poor and the needy, priesthood quorums, Relief Society, visiting teaching, home teaching, service, etc. All of these tactic help to STRENGTHEN us, in part, because of the UNITY that they create among ourselves and with our God. God is our greatest strength, so if we are unified with Him then His grace (strength) is sufficient.
However, Satan has many tactics that he employs to “divide and conquer” and destroy the “strength in unity” that we seek to create with God and His children. Several such tactic are found in these chapters as Satan makes his final attempt to divide as many people as he can from the blessing of receiving the Savior’s impending visit after His resurrection (see 3 Nephi 11). His tactics in these chapters are not much different from the tactics that he is implementing today: pride, love of riches, class distinction, contention, dissension, rebellion, violence, and secret combinations.
Take a moment to consider how many things God asks you to do every day and each week to STRENGTHEN yourself as you UNIFY with Him and His children. Consider the STRENGTH that you feel in your life when you faithfully fulfill those daily and weekly duties. Then contrast that with the WEAKNESS that you feel as you neglect to unify with God and His children and instead allow Satan to DIVIDE you from God’s unity and strength with his tenacious tactics.
Don’t LOSE your blessings in the LAST hour by falling prey to Satan’s WEAKENING tactics, like many of the people did in these chapters. Rather, ENDURE to the END and use your agency to comply with God’s tactics of STRENGTH that will bring UNITY with God and His children (3 Nephi 7:21-22). You have the ability to choose which strategy will have power in your life–“Divide and Conquer” or “Strength in Unity”. Choose wisely!
ON THIS DAY IN 1829: Utica, New York. Richard R. Lansing, clerk of the Northern District Court, entered Joseph Smith’s copyright application for the Book of Mormon. (See a copy of the original below…)
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