Not Knowing Beforehand – 1 Nephi 4:6

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.
(1 Nephi 4:6)

There’s an important lesson in this short verse about spiritual knowledge. Sometimes, we must be prepared to act on the limited knowledge we currently have before the Lord will reveal additional knowledge to us.

Nephi knew that he would need the Lord’s help to accomplish the task he had been given. He and his brothers had made two attempts without success, and he was prepared to follow the the Lord’s guidance as he made this third attempt. However, the Lord didn’t reveal the plan to Nephi all at once. Nephi knew that he needed to go into the city, but he didn’t know what would happen next or what he would be required to do. The additional guidance came only after Nephi acted on the promptings he had already received.

Boyd K. Packer learned this same principle from Harold B. Lee. After attempting to follow some prophetic counsel, and seeing no way he could do it successfully, Elder Packer went to Elder Lee for advice. The following conversation ensued, as related by Elder Packer:

He said, ‘The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.’ I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: “You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you” (“Move Forward in Faith,” Ensign, August 2013).

Today, I will follow the example of Nephi and the advice of Harold B. Lee. I will choose to act on the knowledge I already have, even though I may not know what will follow. I will follow the first promptings I receive without expecting to “see the end from the beginning.” I will remember that the Lord may not give me additional guidance until I have acted in faith on the guidance I have already received.

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