2 Nephi 12
Nephi shared one of my favorite chapters–Isaiah 2–which invites us to “go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths” (2 Nephi 12:3). As we draw closer to the Lord by learning of His ways and doing the things He would do we will learn how to make peace and “neither shall [we] learn war any more.” The Savior himself invited and promised us “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin defined peace in this way: “In the scriptures, peace means either freedom from strife, contention, conflict, or war, or an inner calm and comfort born of the Spirit that is a gift of God to all of his children, an assurance and serenity within a person’s heart. The dictionary definition states that peace is a state of tranquillity or quiet, freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions, and harmony in personal relations. (See Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.)” (“Peace Within,” April 1991.)
How do heroes and warriors learn to make peace with all of the commotion, contention, and conflict surrounding them? The Apostle Paul answered this question by reminding us that “to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Elder Wirthlin suggested this answer: “Attaining harmony within ourselves depends upon our relationship with our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and our willingness to emulate him by living the principles he has given us” In the Doctrine and Covenants the Savior gave this instruction, “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” (D&C 59:23.) Thus, the best way to make peace “is to make Jesus Christ [our] model and His teachings [our] guide for life” (Richard G. Scott, “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!,” April 2010).
When we are obedient to God’s commandments and His personal instructions to us, we will have peace within and make peace around us. Elder Wirthlin shared the following regarding obedience and peace.
President David O. McKay said, “The peace of Christ does not come by seeking the superficial things of life, neither does it come except as it springs from the individual’s heart.” He said further that this peace is “conditioned upon obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. … No man is at peace with himself or his God who is untrue to his better self, who transgresses the law of what is right either in dealing with himself by indulging in passion, in appetite, yielding to temptations against his accusing conscience, or in dealing with his fellowmen, being untrue to their trust. Peace does not come to the transgressor of law; peace comes by obedience to law, and it is that message which Jesus would have us proclaim among men.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1938, p. 133.)
Earth life is a period of probation to provide an opportunity for choices. Two mighty forces are pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand is the power of Christ and his righteousness. On the other hand is Satan and the spirits who follow him. President Marion G. Romney said: “Mankind … must determine to travel in company with the one or the other. The reward for following the one is the fruit of the Spirit—peace. The reward for following the other is the works of the flesh—the antithesis of peace.” Further, he said: “The price of peace is victory over Satan.” (Ensign, Oct. 1983, pp. 4, 5.) We can know which one to follow because God has given everyone the Spirit of Christ to know good from evil and to protect themselves from sin. (See Moro. 7:15–18.) We sometimes refer to the Spirit of Christ as our conscience. If we follow its promptings, we can be free of sin and filled with peace. If we do not, but instead let our carnal appetites control us, we never will know true peace.
When we are obedient to God’s commandments we will love God more than the world and we will love ourselves and our neighbors (see Matthew 22:35-40). We will “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). When we are filled with desires to love and do good our hearts become one with God and one with each other. This is how we make peace. Elder Wirthlin shared two examples of individuals and communities who made peace through righteous living, the city of Enoch and the Nephites living in the Americas after Christ’s resurrection (see Moses 7:16–21 and 4 Nephi 1:1-28.)
He then reminded us of our responsibility to make peace in our hearts, our families, and our communities so that we can build Zion on earth and prepare the world for the second coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. “The First Presidency proclaimed that the Church has a divine commission to establish peace. Church members are to ‘manifest brotherly love, first toward one another, then toward all mankind; to seek unity, harmony and peace … within the Church, and then, by precept and example, extend these virtues throughout the world’….A third period of perfect peace will come during the Millennium. ‘Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.’ (D&C 45:55.) As [we] live the gospel of Jesus Christ, the righteousness of the people will banish Satan from their midst. We look forward to that day of universal peace and justice, when Christ will reign upon the earth.”
We can make peace. We can make a difference in the world. What is stopping us? Elder Wirthlin suggested two things: sin and procrastination. We have to free ourselves from the bondage of sin before we can make peace within and share peace without. Sometimes we procrastinate repentance and this halts our progress to peace. For many of us doing bad is not the cause of discontent in our lives, rather we procrastinate doing good and loving more. Elder Wirthlin advised: “Peace is more than a lofty ideal. It is a practical principle that, with conscious effort, can become a normal part of our lives as we deal with matters both large and small. One habit that prevents inner peace is procrastination. It clutters our minds with unfinished business and makes us uneasy until we finish a task and get it out of the way.”
This statement really struck me because I realized that some of the frustration I am experiencing is due to procrastination. The simple practical principle of being early to rise has been eluding me for too long now. Why? Because I just procrastinate getting up, setting my alarm a little later each time it rings. And since I am more rushed or running “late,” I am sometimes discontented with myself and the flow of my day. I just need to get up each morning no matter what so I can provide myself with the quiet hours of reflection, study, and exercise I need and want so that my day can be filled with greater peace and flow more smoothly. I can do it. I will do it. I will not procrastinate making peace for myself.
Elder Wirthlin continued, “We are at peace in our Church callings when we do the work at the proper time instead of waiting until the last possible moment. This is true of going to the temple often, performing our home teaching and visiting teaching assignments, preparing lessons and talks, and doing other assignments.” This last thought brought me right back to Isaiah’s invitation, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” Obedience and righteous living qualify us for the instruction, the blessings, the power, and the peace that are available in the house of the Lord, His holy temple. Going there often provides you and me with greater peace and light and love within so that we can make peace and share God’s light and love with those around us. What are you waiting for? Come. Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.
*What have you done recently to make peace?
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