…VAN EEN VERNUFTIGE MAKELIJ…
(1 Nephi 18:1)
LIVING AFTER THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS
Every missionary faces discouragement at times. What we do is tough, especially in the dark, cold winter weather that we are experiencing. People are sometimes rude when contacted on the door or in the street and most people reject hearing our message. Feeling successful can be difficult. The language looms as a challenge for a large part of the mission experience. Problems, concerns, poor health, fatigue, disunity and/or personal feelings of discouragement can be overwhelming.
Nephi taught 9 keys to assist anyone to overcome discouragement and live after the manner of happiness. These key points are found in 2 Nephi 4 and 5. Chapter 4 is sometimes called the Psalm of Nephi and is one of the most beautiful texts he wrote. Nephi’s keys to living after the manner of happiness are as follows and sounds much like President Gordon B. Hinckley’s fireside address on 12 Nov. 2000 titled the Six B’s:
1. 4:15; Keep a Diary. Write things of your soul and favorite scriptures in your diary. Further, write things which are of worth unto your children and will persuade them to come unto God. (see also 1 Nephi 6:5-6)
2. 4:16; Be Smart. Delight and ponder the things of the Lord. This could also be called meditation. Our world is full of noise with an unending avalanche of audio and visual information competing for your attention. Meditation is taking time to shut out the input and simply think and ponder. You will be more purposeful and successful in your life by doing this.
3. 4:34; Be Trusting. Place your trust in God. This is essentially the kernel of faith. It is believing God will come through for you during your darkest hours. You can then confidently experience hope for better days as you place your trust in him.
4. 4:24; Be Prayerful. Engage in mighty prayer. Nephi says to wax bold in prayer. Wax is a code word for letting virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly. Prayer is your invitation to God to get involved without him imposing himself on you. He has commanded you to pray about everything going on in your life. (see Alma34)
5. 4:17, 26-27; Be Humble. Recognize your need for the Savior. Everybody has a fallen nature. We all need the Savior who has promised to make up the difference in our lives and assist us in making our weakness become strengths. We in turn must do our best and, when we make mistakes, we get back up and do our best again. Nephi is thought of as a bold and faithful prophet, yet even he reveals his weaknesses and desperate need for the Savior.
6. 4:20-23; Be Grateful. Gratitude is to acknowledge God’s hand in your life. He supports you in your afflictions, your wildernesses, and your deep waters. He gives you knowledge and inspiration. Writing a list of your blessings, including simple things like eye sight, is a sure fire way to realize God supports you.
7. 4:28-30; Be True. Awake, rejoice, do not droop in sin and do not slacken your strength. Stay true to your convictions and resolve to continue the good fight.
8. 5:11, 15-17; Be Industrious. I do not believe there is any better first-aid therapy to discouragement than to buckle down and go to work. Hard work and temple attendance is an important part of living after the manner of happiness.
9. 5:10; Be Clean. Keep the commandments in all things.
Nephi’s mission was not easy. He overcame many afflictions and much discouragement. Think of his obstacles. He faced: wickedness in Jerusalem, people sought the life of his father, Labon stood in his way, he left great wealth, obtained the brass plates, 8 years in the wilderness, broken bow, hunger/thrust/child births/hard work/fatigue, Laman and Lemuel sought his life, build tools, build a ship, cross the ocean and tied up at sea. It may be the Engineer in me, but I would like to know how he launched the ship. After all this, his brothers sought his life again; so he took what he could carry with those who would follow and fled into the wilderness to start again. In the Psalm of Nephi, he indicates this lead him to experiencing some big-time discouragement. He states his heart groaned because of his sins and he asked himself why he should linger in the valley of sorrow.
But, he describes their lives as, “…we lived after the manner of happiness.” (2 Nephi 5:27) Remember at all times to follow Nephi’s keys to happiness and especially as feelings of discouragement come. It is a great blessing to enjoy serving in Belgium and the Netherlands at this time.