Sunday, January 27, 2013

We are at WAR!

I know, what a happy title, right?  In the Book of Mormon, there are more than twenty consecutive chapters about the battles between two groups of people: the Nephites, who are very righteous and try to keep and follow the commandments of God, and the Lamanites, who are very wicked and want to destroy the Nephites. 
A lot of people just try to make it through the war chapters because it can feel boring and a little repetitive.  However, there is a reason they were included.  A prophet named Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon by abridging the records of the people living in the Americas before, during and after the time of Christ.  He included what would be most beneficial to us in our day. 
But why did he include so many chapters about war and bloodshed?  How does this apply to us? Most of us probably aren’t going to be accosted by a Lamanite in a loincloth.  Most of us aren’t going to have to fight in bloody battle after battle.  Why should it matter?
Because we are at war.
We’re engaged in a war that we can’t see.
We are in the midst of a spiritual battle.  It’s all of us against the devil.  The Lamanites wanted to take the Nephites into bondage and take away their agency, or their freedom to make choices, just as the devil wants to do to us today.  Satan is miserable, and misery loves company.  He wants us to miserable, just like him.  Through these chapters, Mormon gives us an analogy that we can use to know how to prepare for the fight against the devil. 
Well, if we’re at war, what do we need to do to prepare to fight Satan?  At the beginning of this section, the Nephites prepare for battle by putting on their armor and readying their weapons.  We need to do the same by putting on our spiritual armor and sharpening our spiritual swords.  We can do this by reading and studying the scriptures, say our daily prayers, and always remember Christ and do our best to follow Him.  Rely on the Lord.  By giving us the gospel of Christ to live and follow, God has given us the armor we need to stay protected, but it’s our choice whether or not we actually put it on. 
One thing that we say frequently in our church is CTR, or Choose The Right.  It’s sort of like WWJD (What Would Jesus Do).  But sometimes we mess up.  When that happens, we should go in spiritual reverse and do our best to Right The Choice, and Return To Christ.  We already know who’s going to win the war.  Good will always triumph.  As with Elisha, they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  But it’s our choice whether we put on our armor and fight on the Lord’s side. 

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