Nephi Teaches Us How To Gain a Testimony in One Short Verse

My Scripture Study

Published by Emilia Julian – March 29, 2018

Gaining a personal testimony is necessary and vital to our faith and spiritual journey.  Until we have a complete understanding of this, our participation and longevity in the Church may be at risk, and so are the promises and blessings that we can continuously enjoy if we faithfully endure.  

I love Nephi.  I have learned so much from studying his words.  He was a great example of obedience, faith, and steadfastness, which is why he was a favored son of God.  He endured many years of trials, persecution, and assaults from his brothers, and yet he never allowed his struggles to sway him or bring him down spiritually.  In fact, he always pursued godly obedience, he was unwavering in his faith, and desired to know all the mysteries of God.  He constantly  studied and pondered the scriptures.  This includes his father’s own record.  He sustained his father as a prophet of God and delighted in listening intently to his words, and thirsted to know for himself the things his father had seen in visions.  His testimony was very important to him.  This is evident in 1 Nephi 10:17.  Here, his father had been prophesying to Nephi and his brothers, and it is in this simple scripture where I learned, through Nephi’s great example, in four simple steps,  how to gain a testimony.

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men”.

1.  Hear All The Words

Nephi loved to learn about the gospel.  He delighted in it.  He never stopped searching.  What a joy it must have been for Nephi to hear the words of his father as he prophesied about things to come, and the guidance that was given through the Lord.  I am filled with gratitude that we have living prophets today who do the same for us.  They are God’s mouthpieces and many wonderful blessings come into our lives as we listen to their words and obey their direction.  “For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (D&C 21:4-5)

We can ask ourselves:  Are we truly listening?  Are we hearing the words of the prophets and apostles?  Do we anxiously look forward to hear the words of our leaders during General Conference?  Or do we use that day as a holiday instead?  Are we listening to the lessons in our classes at church?  Or rather, do we choose to socialize in the foyer?  Are we listening to our leaders and speakers during sacrament meeting?  Or do we stay home because sleep or other activities are more sacred to us?  I get it…sometimes these things happen.  I believe that many of us would like to have a testimony, but are we working on gaining one?  Or are we hoping that it will just come to us by chance eventually?  I can promise you that it doesn’t usually happen this way.   If we do not take the time to hear the words of our prophets and leaders, we cannot and will not gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the things which they have been inspired to convey to us through prayer and revelation given by the Lord.  We cannot gain a testimony of something we know nothing about; therefore, it is essential for us to hear the words of the gospel in order for us to gain a witness of these things.  This is especially true when we put these things to practice into our lives.

2.  The Power of the Holy Ghost

The prophet Nephi taught, “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:19).  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are confirmed a member of the Church by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized.  This, for me, has been one of the most precious and valuable gifts I have ever received, and I have come to rely on the Holy Ghost throughout my life.  It took me a while to understand the power I could unveil within myself through the Holy Ghost, but once I knew how to engage Him, I began to see the value of the constant companionship in my life.  I now understand the difference between what it feels like to have the Holy Ghost accompany me, and when I have become distant from Him.  I much prefer the first.  The Holy Ghost has brought me comfort and peace when I needed it most.  He has encouraged me when I felt discouraged or scared.  He has helped bring important things to my understanding and helps me to remember the scriptures.  And one of the most important things the Holy Ghost has done for me is testify of truth.  Through Him, divine truth has been communicated to people from the very beginning of time, and throughout all dispensations, and is available to everyone.  If we are worthy and spiritually sensitive, we will be able to draw upon the unlimited source of knowledge and guidance that the Holy Ghost can bless us with, and use it to be able to gain a testimony that is firm and be freed from the ignorance and false concepts that Lucifer wishes to enslave us with.  We have been given this most sacred power!

3.  Faith in Jesus Christ

President Dallin H. Oaks says it best — “The first principle of the gospel is not “faith.” The first principle of the gospel is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”” (Article of Faith 1:4)  Without faith, we “are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church” (Moroni 7:39).  When we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are confident that He truly and personally knows us and loves us, and we trust that He will hear our prayers and answer them with what He feels is best for us.  We have faith that our Father in heaven knows us better than we know ourselves, and for this reason we become content and fully submit to His will, just like Jesus Christ did.  When we endeavor to develop faith in the Saviour, we understand the meaning of His words when He says, “If ye will have faith in me, ye  shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni. 7:33).  Furthermore, Jesus taught the Nephites that it is important to always pray to theUntitled-1 Father  in his name, adding, “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi. 18:20).   Keep in mind that we cannot have true faith in Jesus Christ without also having complete trust in His will and in His timing.  Only those that have reached this level of faith knows how it feels to have true security in their lives.

Nephi was a prophet who exhibited this kind of faith, and it sustained him throughout his life as he submitted to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that He will guide, direct, and deliver him in good times and bad.  We also need the strength that comes from faith and trust in the Lord if we are to fulfill our need to gain a testimony.  Additionally, we need to have the comfort and witness offered by the Holy Ghost when we are encountered with doubt so that we will “be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:17).

I believe it is a remarkable blessing that if we have the required faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be prepared for whatever life brings our way, including persevering through the disappointments that may come our way.   Faith will allow our testimony of Jesus Christ to flourish and blossom.

4.  Desire

“…desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know…”

Each of us will need to search deep into our hearts to determine what it is that we truly desire.  If our sincerest desire is to gain a testimony, than we need to determine our priority for this and have a raging appetite for it.  Dallin H. Oaks states that, “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.”

If our true desire is to be forgiven of a sin we have committed, then our actions should be to do all that is possible to change from a sinful state, to one of which we are freed from the chains of our offenses.  This will most likely include heartfelt prayer, godly sorrow, fasting, restoration…it may take days, weeks, even months before we have acquired our desired outcome…forgiveness…and since our desire is deep, we don’t quit, rather,  we are sure to put this on the top of the priority list and persevere through it.

If our true desire is to gain a testimony of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, what are we doing about it?  How have we prioritized it in our lives?

I remember when I was a new member of the Church, I would be in awe of the testimonies I would hear members share with the congregation.  I felt their sincerity and felt the joy in their voices as they expressed their love and devotion to their Saviour, for the Atonement, and for the gratitude they had for the blessings they received as they walked uprightly before God.  I remember thinking I wanted that for myself.  I wanted to feel the joy of having that true testimony of my Saviour and of the Atonement.  I did have a testimony of Jesus Christ, I knew He lived and that He died for me, but I was lacking that personal relationship with Him that I knew others had.  I wanted it.  But for years I didn’t do anything about it.  I didn’t go out of my way for it.  As a result of this my own testimony was stunted.  It wasn’t until I desired to know the scriptures more fully, that I received a stronger testimony and a more personal relationship with my Saviour.  Now I know the difference between knowing, and truly being able to testify of the truths I have learned through feasting on the scriptures and applying the doctrines and principles into my life.  Each time my testimony grew, my desire to know more increased.

Allow me to repeat Nephi’s verse once more while I point out the important parts:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men”.

Many people may have read this verse many times but missed the principle of how to gain a testimony within its words.  That’s why studying the scriptures for me is more valuable than just reading them.  I love Nephi’s example, his devotion to God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and his diligence in being faithful and obedient, even when things got rough for him.

You know what I love about being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  I love that it is a working church. I love that I am able to have many opportunities where I can grow my testimony through study and prayer, through my callings, and through service.  I love that I can put my knowledge to the test and get results for myself that draw me closer to my Saviour.  I am so thankful that I have been encouraged to diligently seek the answers to the mysteries of God rather than just to sit at a pew once a week and simply be preached to.  I’m happy that we are a religion that encourages and inspires us to live our faith daily, and not only on Sunday’s.  I’m glad I learned how to channel and use the gifts of the Spirit to enable me to learn for myself, to receive personal revelation, and gain a firm testimony, strong enough that the unkind, stormy winds of the world can’t knock it down.  There is still so much I need to work on in my life–so much I still have to learn.  But I look forward to the journey, walking alongside those who teach and inspire me, while working toward a greater understanding and a more solid, loving relationship with Jesus Christ.  I hope and pray that everyone does this for themselves, and I thank those who have influenced me spiritually.

Here are some conference addresses that I have learned from in relation to this blog post:

Learn more about how to gain a testimony here!

Learn more about “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” here!

Learn more about receiving the WORDS OF THE PROPHET here!

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