As part of a class I'm taking at BYU I have the wonderful opportunity to continue posting my musings and thoughts upon various gospel topics; all centered on the Book of Mormon. This means a fresh start to my Book of Mormon study for a fresh new year.
I was pleased to read through what is quite possibly the best known part of the Book of Mormon: the first few chapters. The stories and the doctrines taught here are a wonderful preface to the rest of the record. Nephi, the principle author, covers things such as the birth, ministry, and death of the Messiah, the blessings of the righteous, warnings to those falling into the mists of darkness, and the eternal principles upon which our salvation is dependent. There are many great and wonderful things taught in the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon. But one that stood out to me was a single word in a common phrase of scripture found in 1 Nephi 2:22 which reads:
The Lord is speaking to Nephi and providing him with some wonderful counsel. As a part of this counsel the Lord says to Nephi "keep my commandments". And upon this reading I noticed that the Lord didn't simply say "keep the commandments". I think in the previous readings I mentally substituted the word 'my' for the word 'the', and thereby missed a great spiritual truth. There were a great deal of things that Nephi was commanded to do that I personally haven't been commanded to do. And likewise, there are many things that God has prompted me to do that Nephi never had to worry about."And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren."
There are "The Commandments" that are given generally to humanity. But there are the smaller commands that the Lord gives personally that are just as important to keep. We need to be earnestly seeking and looking for these personal commandments, for indeed they are the key to personal growth. The Lord has set a standard in the church, but that standard is not exaltation. When we live that standard, as best as we are able to in our mortal existence, we should be searching to be better, to do better, and to aspire to a more holy way of life. And as has been promised repeatedly in the scriptures, those who seek shall find. God has wonderful things in store for us, and growth experienced in keeping "The Commandments" is just the beginning of the wonderful path to a life like our Heavenly Father's.