Alma 32 carries many messages which have affected my deeply and helped me understand the principles of faith. Near the end is a passage which I often mentally skipped over in my study. Alma is speaking of a tree which we have already grown from a seed. In other words, we have already put forth the effort to gain a testimony of some principle. He then warns us:
But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it whithers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. (Alma 32:38)This principle of nourishment has caused me to contemplate how I neglect principles of my testimony and the damage it can do when hard times come.
I wrote earlier about my testimony of fasting. This testimony was planted on my mission and the tree began to grow. I knew fasting worked. In the 12 years between that time and the time I finally was thrust down to my knees due to the horrible decisions I had made, I neglected that simple testimony. When the hot sun beat on me, I wavered. I didn't turn to fasting and prayer like I should have. I hadn't consistently strengthened my tree and it had stopped bearing fruit.
Henry B. Eyring in his powerful way, taught the principle in October Conference, 2005
It will take unshakable faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to choose the way to eternal life. It is by using that faith we can know the will of God. It is by acting on that faith we build the strength to do the will of God. And it is by exercising that faith in Jesus Christ that we can resist temptation and gain forgiveness through the Atonement.
We will need to have developed and nurtured faith in Jesus Christ long before Satan hits us, as he will, with doubts and appeals to our carnal desires and with lying voices saying that good is bad and that there is no sin. Those spiritual storms are already raging. We can expect that they will worsen until the Savior returns.
However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly. We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure. Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation. Procrastination and inconsistency are its mortal enemies.
What did I do today to nurture my faith and testimony in the principles of the gospel? What did you do? Can we do more?
There are strong warnings in these words for me. As important as it is for me to build a testimony in principles such as tithing and turning my life and will over to my Savior, it is just as important that I nurture these testimonies every single day.