1 Nephi, Chapter 8: The Tree of Life
Let’s begin with the first 9 verses.
Did anyone else notice that after hours of traveling in darkness, the scene for Nephi didn’t change until he had begun to pray? Maybe he didn’t think to pray sooner because he was in the middle of a vision? I don’t know because one, I’m obviously not Nephi and two, I don’t have visions –but this I do know, prayer is powerful and it can change everything.
Now, let’s plow through the rest of the chapter –all of it- and then wax artistic.
Draw the full scene below.
Now, I hope you bothered to draw it all out because now I’d like for you to draw yourself into the picture.
Where did you put yourself?
Recently I was given the challenge to write down how I spent my time every day for a week. After the week a few things really stood out to me. One, I spend way too much time in my car. Two, I don’t spend near enough time in scripture study, and three: my life is so routine that unless I make deliberate, quality time for my child and for my husband it doesn’t happen.
My point is that I am always hopping around from here to there to the next place. As much as I’d like to claim that I am perpetually standing under that tree, eating the pure, white fruit the fact of the matter is that I’m not. I’m more often found clinging to that rod. Or wandering in mists. Or standing in that great and spacious building. Here is an opinion of mine. Anytime we’re judging someone else, or thinking we’re better than someone else, or having mocking feelings or thoughts towards another child of God, we can be pretty sure we’re standing in the building and not under the tree.
Now for fun, and so we don’t feel too bad about our weaknesses, let’s focus on verses 30 and 31.
There are two multitudes here. One is pressing forwards towards the rod and the other is feeling their way towards the great and spacious building. We make our choices based upon the desires of our hearts. Let us keep a close watch on our personal desires and motives, keeping in mind when we choose yes to one thing, we are also choosing no to another.
Verses 33 and 34.
Ready for a real principle? The closer we are to God, the less the opinions of others matter to us.
Who are you heeding?