24 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
25 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
(2 Nephi 8:24-25; Isaiah 52:1-2)
As I’ve pondered these verses today, I’ve been thinking about how faith in God is demonstrated by action. We demonstrate our faith by acting first and only afterward receiving the power that comes through His grace. (See 2 Nephi 25:23, Ether 12:6.)
In the passage above, Isaiah urges us to:
- Awake — Get up, and get moving.
- Put on thy strength — Bring your “A game” to your work. Do your very best.
- Put on thy beautiful garments — Prepare yourself to receive great blessings from the Lord. Dress appropriately for a significant event.
- Shake thyself from the dust — Eliminate your sins. Recognize that you are better than that.
- Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck — Overcome bad habits and addictions.
We would only be willing to take these actions if we believed that they would bear fruit. You could easily imagine a person saying, “Don’t tell me to loose myself. I can’t do that for myself.” Or, “I can’t give myself strength if I don’t have any.” I think the key is that the strength will come from God, the deliverance will come from God, but we need to begin to act now with confidence that it will come.
I think it’s significant how frequently these phrases appear in the Book of Mormon. Jacob quotes them in the passage above. The Savior quotes them in 3 Nephi 20:36-37. And Moroni quotes several of these phrases in his final chapter (Moroni 10:31). Additionally, in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith provides an interpretation of two of these phrases. To “put on thy strength” is to receive the power and authority of the priesthood. To “loose thyself from the bands of thy neck” is to come unto the Lord and receive revelation, which will enable you to overcome the challenges you face (D&C 113:7-10).
Today, I will act in faith, knowing that God’s blessings will come. I will serve to the very best of my ability, I will prepare to receive blessings from God, and I will repent and overcome bad habits, knowing that the Savior’s Atonement will magnify my efforts and help me to be successful.