Gospel Discussions: Endure to the End

Enduring to the end is the greatest test of our discipleship. In Preach my Gospel it says, ““Only through the Savior’s grace and mercy can we become clean from sin so that we can live with God again. This is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” —Preach My Gospel, p. 51

But what does enduring to the end actually encompass? Enduring to the end doesn’t mean just hanging on, muddling our way through life. As Kevin W. Pearson says in his April 2015 General Conference address that, “Hanging in there” is not a principle of the gospel. The gospel is a much more radiant, optimistic thing than that attitude implies. Enduring to the end is a total commitment to the gospel. Moreover, it is not a competition of priorities in our lives, it is the act of always committing the gospel to being our number one priority in our lives.

So how do we do this? Kevin W. Pearson outlines six simple steps to help us ‘endure to the end.’ In order to personalize the context of his talk and take ownership for the message I wish to share I will describe each tip, along with a related scriptures I have found, personal stories or examples from my life, and simple gospel truths that has helped with this journey to truly understand what ‘enduring to the end’ means.

Don’t forget to pray.

Praying is crucial to fortifying ourselves and living a life that is in accordance with our Saviour. My all-time favourite scripture describes what prayer is all about, and can be found in Alma 34 18-26. It says;

 18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
 19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
 20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
 21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
 22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
 23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
 24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
 25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
 26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.

Prayer is so, so essential. When I am in constant communication with my Saviour, not only will I be always surrounded by his love and accompanied by his spirit, but I am ore likely to make decisions that are moving me closer to eternal salvation. I am making decisions in my life with Him, and when I make decisions I hold myself accountable to report to him my actions. Taking prayer seriously by getting down on your knees every  morning and night to have a sincere conversation with the Lord, will undeniably bring you closer to him. Enduring to the end is about consistently and fervently practicing daily principles of salvation, and pray is one of the most important actions we should be committing to.

Come unto Christ and be perfected in him.

In order to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence, we must be clean and so we must continue to repent. Ideally, we repent moment by moment, but we also attend sacrament meeting each week to partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants.

Nephi teaches how crucial it is for us to rely on the Saviour in order to endure to the end and remain on the “strait and narrow path.” He says,

“After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:19-20).

Our actions alone, and our obedience alone will not be enough to enter the Celestial kingdom and live with our Father. It is by Christ’s grace that we will be saved. We must be perfected through Him. We rely on His atonement to satisfy the demands of justice and mercy. Thus, it is important that we are building our personal relationship with the Saviour in order to endure to the end.

Press forward with faith.

Enduring to the end requires faithfulness to the end, as in the case of Paul, who told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”. It requires having the faith to follow all of God’s commandments. Kevin W. Pearson beautifully phrases it this way in his current general conference address; “God’s commandments are strict, but they are not restrictive.”

Another aspect of pressing forward with faith is not allowing the things we don’t have as much faith in, prevent us from moving forward. We can rely upon the things we do have faith in, and allow those few spiritual crumbles to be the sustenance that carries us through our trials or doubts. In other words, in his talk, Elder Pearson warns us - “don’t let something you don’t fully understand, unravel everything you do understand.” 

Pressing forward with faith is crucial to enduring to the end. 

The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual progress.

Joseph Smith records in the introduction of the Book of Mormon that:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, ... and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

Near the bottom of the introduction of the Book of Mormon it states that after sincere study and inquiry of the Book of Mormon:

“Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah”

This message is profound, and is equally important for those reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, as for the hundredth time.

Let’s re-examine what this statement promises us:
  1. Know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world
  2. Know that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days
  3. Know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom established on his earth now
  4. And that the Lord will come again, and that we are preparing for that now
By reading the Book of Mormon everyday we are enduring to the end. When we read the Book of Mormon everyday we are drawing closer to God, practicing obedience, and gaining a more intimate and real testimony of these promises. 

Don't be distracted and deceived. 

Don’t get distracted. It is very typical for people in these days to “multitask” all the time, with multiple tabs open on their internet browser, constantly checking their phones when they are with others in a social setting or even important classes or meetings such as the sacred sacrament service. These are distractions, that have consequences here on earth, like missing an opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship or discern a piece of revelation. But what is worse, is when we allow ourselves to be distracted by things that will have serious eternal consequences. Robert D. Hales, says that we “learn to endure to the end by learning to finish our current responsibilities, and we simply continue doing it all of our lives. We cannot expect to learn endurance in our later years if we have developed the habit of quitting when things are difficult now.” Don’t be distracted by things that are not important. Instead finish the tasks you have now. Make time for your calling, your personal spiritual habits, and your personal salvation.

Enduring to the end also requires the Holy Ghost who will guide us and sanctify us. This will help us with the second part of this instruction, which is don’t be deceived. Do not equate worldly knowledge, learned people, or politically correct theories of reason or existence as the ultimate standard for truth. If there is one thing I have acquired during my undergraduate degree at SFU, it is that truth does not exist. World understandings of math, science, history, and accepted social behaviours and patterns and philosophies are always changing and will always change. BUT GOD WILL NOT CHANGE. For he is the same God today, yesterday, and forever. 

Stay by the tree.

Staying by the tree is a reference to Lehi’s vision of the tree of fruit. Even after some people had travelled the strait and narrow path, avoided distractions, sins, etc. and tasted of the fruit of goodness, they still ended up leaving. Just because we have tasted the sweet goodness of the gospel does not mean we are immune to trials, afflictions, personal weaknesses, favourite sins, or things that will shake us and our testimonies up. In fact, this is a natural effect of part of the process of the plan of salvation.

We are taught in the scriptures that there must be opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11). It is not a question of if we are ready for the tests; it is a matter of when. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning. Enduring to the end and “staying by the tree” means that we accept these trials, and learn and grow from them never waivering from the true principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ that will bolster us up in our times of needs. Once we enter into covenants with the Lord there is no going back; we are committed; we have made a promise. Compliancy to these promises cannot be done half-heartedly, for average is the enemy of excellence. Make the decision every day, every moment, to do your very best in staying true to these principles and covenants - stay by the tree!

In conclusion, enduring to the end can be composed of many facets.

So here are mine and Kevin W. Pearson’s six simple steps to help you endure to the end:
  1. Don't forget to pray
  2. Come unto Christ and be perfected in him
  3. Press forward with faith
  4. The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual progression
  5. Don't be distracted and deceived
  6. Stay by the tree

What are the blessings and promises we will receive from enduring to the end?

Well, the Lord promises us that: If you “Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life” (3 Nephi 15:9). 

And in 2 Nephi 31:15 it says that, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved”.

In James 5:11 it says, “Behold, we count them happy which endure.”

I don’t know about you, but personally, I think that happiness, eternal life, and salvation sounds like pretty great blessings to receive if we can endure to the end.

I say all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Miss Lauren Kyle
Maira Gall