Establishing Credibility (1 Nephi 1)
For the next few months, each Wednesday blog will be based on a chapter from the First Book of Nephi. Each blog will say something about an event or teaching in the chapter and then develop a short lesson we can learn from that chapter. The blog for 1 Nephi Chapter 1 appears below. We hope you enjoy this series!
Most people who have read the Book of Mormon know the first line: “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents…” However, if you read the rest of the first verse, you find Nephi making several other statements about himself:
- Taught somewhat in all the learning of my father
- Seen many afflictions in the course of my days
- Highly favored of the Lord in all my days
- Great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God
After listing his “credentials,” he then concludes, “therefore I make a record of my proceedings.” This listing of one’s credentials was actually expected to appear at the beginning of any properly composed Egyptian autobiography in Nephi’s time — it makes a lot of sense since a reader certainly has the right to ask, “Why should I take the time to read what you have written?” Anybody can say or write anything, but unless the author has credibility, it's just words.
As a follower of Christ, what credibility do I have to tell others about Him?
Do I have a personal testimony that demonstrates Christ at work in my life? Do I have at least a basic knowledge of the plan of redemption and an appreciation that Christ died for me? Is my life obviously filled with joy, even if things sometimes don’t work out the way I might want? Has my life changed for the better since knowing Him?
If I can’t answer YES to these questions, it would be fair for someone to say, “Why should I listen to you?” when I try to talk about the Lord. After all, if it’s really true that I’ve never experienced a miracle or answered prayer, if my life is totally miserable and has not changed at all since before I was baptized, if Christ dying for me has no effect on my life, why should anyone take me seriously if I invite them to “know the Lord” as I do?
The good news is that most of us do know the Lord. To make sure you maintain your credibility to talk about Him:
- Rehearse your personal testimony often. Recall answered prayers and miracles that have occurred in your life. Write them down if you have to. Be prepared to share these with others.
- Understand at least the basic plan of redemption — that it is only through Christ that we can be saved in the kingdom of heaven.
- Focusing on the two points above (counting your blessings) will allow you to exhibit joy in your life even when circumstances of life threaten to overwhelm you.
- Be careful about falling back into old sinful ways (or new sinful ways). Nothing robs you of your credibility quicker than living a lifestyle that is not consistent with a follower of Christ.
Nephi effectively established his credibility such that people are willing to read his important message. We need to do our best to establish our credibility so people are willing to hear our important message today.
Stay tuned next Wednesday for a lesson-based article on 1 Nephi 2. Read it over this week to prepare your mind!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.