This morning I was studying in the Book of Mormon, specifically the book of Alma, chapters 47-57. These used to be the chapters that I would often skip over, because I was pretty tired of reading the book of Alma. There's like, five hundred million chapters, or so it used to seem. And besides, they didn't really seem to have a lot of spiritual significance to me, so I didn't pay them much attention.
These chapters are, for the most part, taken from an account written by a man named Helaman, who was a missionary, a prophet, and a leader. The Lamanites, who were wicked, came up against the Nephites, who were righteous, with the intent of overtaking and destroying them. The Nephites merely wanted to protect their lands, their wives, and their children, and ensure that the people would be free to believe whatever they wished to. Many fierce battles followed, and as I read through the accounts this morning, some very interesting things kept standing out to me.
Whenever the Nephites would begin to rely on their own strength or disobey God's commandments, the Lamanites would begin to have victories over them. This taught me that I should never start to think that I can do things on my own. God has given me the strength and ability to do all things that He needs me to do, but I have to always remember that those absolutely come from Him.
A man named Moroni was the leader of the Nephite forces throughout the land, and he did his very best to make sure that the people were prepared to defend themselves. He would instruct them in the ways that they should raise up fortifications around the city, and he taught them to rely upon God for their deliverance. This is the part that really hit me pretty hard. So often in my own life, I take a "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it" attitude, and so when difficult times or temptations cross my path, I may have to scramble or struggle to overcome those. But when I am prepared, I never have to worry.
Preparing ourselves against temptation isn't nearly as difficult as preparing a city for war. We do not have to build mighty walls of stone and earth, nor do we need to raise tall watchtowers to spy on the enemy. Our preparation, rather, is that of simply reading the scriptures, praying to God for understanding and strength, and heeding the words of His servants, the prophets. As we do those things consistently and with full purpose of heart, we will be more than prepared to face anything that comes our way.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
What sort of things can you do in your life to fortify and prepare yourselves? Why not get started today?