41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
There are many passages in the scriptures which reassure us that we can follow the gospel path, be sanctified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and be prepared for the Final Judgment. I like the way Jacob, the brother of Nephi, puts it in the passage above: “The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him.” In other words, yes, the Lord’s commandments seem strict at times. Yes, we forego some things we want to do, things that seem to make other people happy, as we follow His ways. But there’s not a lot of ambiguity about what’s expected. The path is clearly marked, and the doctrines of the gospel do not change over time.
When I read those words, I almost hear Jacob saying, “You can do this! It may not be easy or comfortable, but it is within your reach. Don’t be distracted by other people. The Savior is the only gatekeeper, and He has clearly defined what you need to do to qualify for His grace. Keep moving forward in faith. Don’t give up.”
I love the following quote from Neal A. Maxwell’s first talk as a newly ordained apostle:
Some of us stand before no more harsh a judge than ourselves, a judge who stubbornly refuses to admit much happy evidence and who cares nothing for due process. Fortunately, the Lord loves us more than we love ourselves…. Yes, brothers and sisters, this is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us (“Notwithstanding My Weakness,” General Conference, October 1976).
Today, I will remember that I can be successful in following God’s plan of salvation for me. I can heed His voice, and I can do His will. The way may be narrow, but I will remember Jacob’s assurance that “it lieth in a straight course before [me].”