When you are confident that your worldview is complete, it can be easy to ignore or reject inconvenient facts which fail to conform to your theories. That’s human nature. We prefer for the data to fit neatly into our preconceived notions rather than to have to question those notions.
But this resistance to change can stunt our growth and hold us back from receiving the blessings God has in store for us. Nephi used a quotation from Isaiah to explain the danger of rejecting new knowledge:
Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
(2 Nephi 28:29-30. See also Isaiah 28:10, 13.)
In the following chapter, Nephi provides a specific example of this phenomenon.
The Lord warned Nephi that his words and the words of his descendants would be met with stiff resistance by some believing Christians in our day. Those people would reject the Book of Mormon because of their deep conviction that they already have the word of God:
We have got a Bible,
and there cannot be any more Bible.
(2 Nephi 29:3)
The Lord responds to this protestation in three ways:
- “What thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them?” (2 Nephi 29:4). In other words, you are very committed to this book of scripture you have inherited, but did you ever ask yourself where it came from? Have you thought about the people who gave you this book, including the original writers, most of whom were Jewish? If you are more aware, you will be more grateful. If you are more grateful, you will be more receptive.
- “Know ye not that there are more nations than one?” (2 Nephi 29:7). If you believe that God spoke to one group of people in one part of the world, why is it hard to believe that He has also spoken to a different group of people in a different part of the world?
- “Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?” (2 Nephi 29:8). Why is more scripture a bad thing? If you have recognized the Bible to be God’s word, why would that prevent you from recognizing additional messages from God when they come?
Adapting to change is hard, but it’s an essential part of our growth and maturation. It seems to me that the Lord is giving us three keys to help us overcome our natural resistance to change: (1) Be grateful. (2) Broaden your perspective. (3) Seek out and open your heart to all good things. (See Philippians 4:8, Articles of Faith 1:13.)
This week, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to each seek to receive more knowledge from the Savior. He said:
In this special year as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him? I also invite you to take steps to hear Him better and more often.
(“‘How Do You #HearHim?’ A Special Invitation,” 26 February 2020).
Today, I will strive to hear the voice of the Savior. I will be grateful for the knowledge that I have already received because of the word of God, and I will remember that I still have much to learn, and that gratitude, perspective, and openness will enable me to recognize and incorporate His words into my life.