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Prepare Your Children For the Wilderness
April 09, 2017

How To Raise Spiritually Tough Children Prepared For the Wilderness

Book of Mormon Marriage And Family Study

1 Nephi 18: 20

“And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction could soften their hearts.”

This is serious, and it sounds like they ran out of options. I don’t believe in deathbed repentance. We don’t have forever to change and repent. Eventually, we will stand before Jesus Christ our eternal judge. Then, it is too late to repent!

Sadly, the word of God could have softened their hearts but they didn’t do anything with it.

The background of this verse is important. Jerusalem was ripe for destruction; therefore, God commanded Lehi to leave with his family to a whole new world (the America’s). However, they traveled through a big wilderness that sorely tested them. Two of Lehi’s sons were clearly not prepared for this journey because they constantly murmured and showed very little faith especially when it was hard. When life was easy, Laman and Lemuel thrived but failed miserably during the difficult times.

Laman and Lemuel didn’t have much experience sacrificing or enduring hardships; therefore, when they encountered the wilderness it was more than they could handle.

Living in Jerusalem was too comfortable and easy.

There is a reason why conversion happens through much trial and testing. Trial and testing is the best way to learn to rely on the Lord’s strength and not your own.

Testing gives us trust in the Lord’s power. For example, when we have successfully overcome a sore test it is evidence that God has not forsaken or abandoned us. Each test we conquer is evidence that God lives.

God’s mission is to make us like Him, and he doesn’t want to take a million years to accomplish it. What better way to become like God than be sent to a fallen world that is a desolate wilderness compared to His kingdom.

How Does This Apply To Marriage And Family?

Help your children become spiritually tough!

Prepare your children for their own wildernesses. The perfect training ground is when theyare young in the protection of your own home. Therefore, your house should be a safe place where they can grow strong in the strength of the Lord.

I think this is why child abuse and neglect is one of the worst sins and why God said that if you hurt a little child you would be better off by drowning in the sea with a millstone hung around your neck. Why?

Abused and neglected children struggle as adults. Growing up in a loving home makes them much more resilient to traumatic events as adults.

I have no doubt that Lehi was a serious father and most of his sons were serious disciples. Two became prophets. This gives hope to parents with wayward children. Even the best parents have children who are disobedient. This doesn’t change your sorrow for them. Additionally, Lehi’s example means you don’t need to compare yourself to other parents and families. You don’t need to feel pressure to put on a façade of righteousness for everyone else to see.

The first verse in the Book of Mormon describes Lehi’s wealth. A lesson wealthy fathers can learn from this is don’t become spiritually complacent in your wealth. For example Laman and Lemuel took advantage of their wealth in Jerusalem to their future spiritual peril. In Jerusalem, their wealth made them soft and weak for the challenges in their future. They couldn’t handle the wilderness!

A take home message is that you can’t be complacent with evil because it spreads. Evil is extremely subtle and it might not be things that are directly evil such as many TV shows and movies. However, two hours you spend watching a movie is at the expense of something else of greater importance.

I give you a challenge! Go on a media fast for 3 months where you don’t turn the TV on for any reason (other than General Conference), and significantly reduce the movies you watch in the year. Did you feel the spirit stronger in your life? Did you feel closer to God?

If you live in the Salt Lake City valley, I invite you to join us at church on Sunday's at 1 p.m. We are a mid-singles ward; however, if you have a family please don't let that stop you. Please, join us for for our first meeting which is Sacrament meeting, and make sure you ask someone to introduce you to our ward mission leader. Our address is 7155 South 540 East, Midvale Utah, 84047.

Go here to find a chapel near you if you don't live in the Salt Lake City, Utah area.
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