Turning that Stride into a Strive

Written by Sister Erin Light on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Posted in Devotional

Turning that Stride into a Strive

Strive (verb): make a tenacious effort to achieve or obtain something; to struggle in opposition

1 Nephi 17:15: "Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence."

I have been studying the book of 1 Nephi recently, and I was intrigued by the word "strive." It certainly is not a passive word, and I've heard ministers preach about "striving for our faith," but the definition of "striving" didn't really make sense until I examined Nephi's actions.

Time and time again, Nephi exhorts (urges) his wayward brothers to follow the Lord. In the wilderness, he fights for the righteousness of his people so they do not give into sin and be lost. His faith in the Lord allows him to see his father's vision of the tree of life, and even when his father murmurs against the Lord for the lack of food in the wilderness, Nephi works fervently to turn his heart to righteousness once again (1 Nephi 16:20). Nephi's striving is what saves Lehi and Ishmael's family in the wilderness. He makes a bow, builds a ship, and seeks the Lord's strength to overcome great opposition from his family, some of whom try to harm him.

Why did Nephi feel the urge to strive? Because the Lord showed him the rest of the story in a vision. He saw the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, the scattering of Israel, and the future of both his and Laman and Lemuel's generations. Nephi was given much knowledge, and he was determined to keep the commandments and stay faithful, even when threatened with death.

Do we have the same knowledge as Nephi? Well, the Bible and Book of Mormon provide us with the fullness of the gospel, and we know how the story ends (God wins!). Do I strive on a daily basis to stay faithful and do the right thing before God? I'll be honest. My answer is a hearty "sometimes."

Mostly, I'm just striding along.

Stride (verb): walking with deliberate steps in one direction at a steady pace

Striding isn't a bad thing. It's forward motion. It's consistent and it gets the job done. But is it enough?

Here's an example of my stride: The other day, I passed an elderly, lonely man who looked forlorn, and I felt to say hello and try to brighten his day. When I approached him, my human nature of hesitation and shyness took over, and all I did was offer a smile and walked by. He smiled back, and that was it. Sure, the smile probably helped a little, but now I'll never know what could have happened had I followed the prompting to "strive" and say hello.

Sometimes I am merely striding when I should be striving, straining with earnest intent to accomplish my goal to spread the gospel and show God's love. Striving gives us opportunities to flex our spiritual muscles and push against the world with the strength of the Lord; even mountains aren't strong enough to stand in his way (Matthew 21:21).

I think it's time I turn my "good, solid try" into a "give it my all." How can you turn your stride into a strive today?

Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment

Helaman 5-6

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Comments (5)

  • Teri-Lyn Tunno

    Teri-Lyn Tunno

    29 July 2014 at 19:42 |
    Awesome blog! Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement! I, along with you, answer sometimes. I really need to "strive" even harder because even my stride seems to go off the path a bit. I do not want to sway or stray but keep a steady pace and bring anyone I can along with me. :)

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    29 November 2014 at 06:48 |
    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave
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    • Anonymous

      Anonymous

      29 November 2014 at 11:17 |
      Mr. Car Repair, Your story may not be totally off topic. How many times do we do things because we know it is good and get "bit" so to speak? It hurts just like your daughter felt and we choose not to do it again so we do not experience that pain. The blog is encouraging us to "strive" to overcome obstacles or our own struggles and move forward to achieve our goal. Your daughter maybe too young to understand but some adults still will stop striving because of a bad experience. Hopefully the pain she felt will be forgotten and she will want to go back and enjoy that time with you making many pleasant memories. The benefit of us continuing to strive far out weighs us not doing anything. God bless you both.

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