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….
You already have had the Lord’s help to get started. In August , you received this promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley if you would read the Book of Mormon through by the end of the year: “Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005)
That is the very promise of increased faith we need to be spiritually prepared. But if we delayed the start of our obedience to that inspired invitation, the number of pages we had to read each day grew larger. If we then missed reading for even a few days, the chance of failure grew. That’s why I chose to read ahead of my daily plan to be sure I will qualify for the promised blessings of the spirit of resolution and testimony of Jesus Christ. When December ends, I will have learned about starting at the moment a command from God comes and being steady in obedience.
More than that, as I read in the Book of Mormon, I will pray that the Holy Ghost will help me know what God would have me do. There is a promise of that plea being answered in the book itself: “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Ne. 32:3)
I will act quickly on what the Holy Ghost tells me I should do as I read and ponder the Book of Mormon. When I complete the project in December, I will have had many experiences of stretching my faith to be obedient. And so my faith will be strengthened. And I will know from my own experience what comes from going to the scriptures early and consistently to know what God wants me to do and then doing it. If we do that, we will be better prepared for the greater storms when they come.
We will then have a choice of what to do after January 1. We can choose to sigh with relief and say to ourselves: “I have built a great reservoir of faith by starting early and being steady in obedience. I will store it away against the times when I will be tested in storms.” There is a better way to prepare, because great faith has a short shelf life. We could decide to persist in studying the words of Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets. This is what I will do. I will go back to the Book of Mormon and drink deeply and often. And then I will be grateful for what the prophet’s challenge and promise did to teach me how to gain greater faith and maintain it. (“Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady“, Ensign, Nov. 2005)