Applying My Heart
As life whirls around us we can easily get caught up in busy schedules and misplaced priorities. Not long ago I sat down and asked myself what did I really want and need in my life? The answer was the companionship of the Holy Spirit. The still small voice is our greatest tool and will guide us directly on the path towards salvation. We receive the Holy Ghost as promised in our baptismal covenant, but darkness and distractions can cause the Spirit to leave us. We might not even notice, and confusion will creep into our lives and take over our souls. Our decisions will become frantic, our peace disrupted, and our attention unfocused.
Such confusion and loss of faith is outlined in the May 4-10, Book of Mormon 2020 Come, Follow Me manual. King Noah’s priests were familiar with the word of God, but it wasn’t written in their hearts. They were missing a crucial element of faith, and thus the Holy Spirit did not dwell with them. They knew the gospel, but the truth didn’t motivate them to repent. They followed an unrighteous leader and dedicated their lives to pleasing their king instead of their God. All but one—Alma.
An Instrument in Christ’s Hands
Alma describes his lifestyle as a priest of King Noah in Mosiah 23:9, “and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord.” However, he must have retained a part of the Light of Christ because Abinadi’s words struck a chord with him. He felt the power and truth in them enough so that he repented, and God “made [him] an instrument in his hands, in bringing so many… to a knowledge of the truth” (Mosiah 23:10).
If Alma can recognize the spirit even in his dire state, then we too can focus our energies and regain the Spirit when it is lost. So how is this possible? Alma says the realization of his wrong doings “caused [him] sore repentance [and] after much tribulation, the Lord did hear [his] cries and did answer [his] prayers” (Mosiah 23:10). This effort of repentance and prayer brought Alma back from the darkness and blessed his life and the lives of countless others.
What can we do to inscribe new writing on our hearts? How can we gain better protection from the ills of the world? Can we become an instrument in the Lord’s hands? Can we be examples of righteousness to those around us? The Holy Ghost can prompt us and guide us to discover what these ways are: how to protect our families, how to disregard temptation and remove distractions. We can start with prayer and repentance as Alma did. We can become a light that can never be darkened.
The Easiest Way Is to Ask
When I take time to analyze my life, I often tell myself to seek out the Spirit. I cannot wait around for the Spirit to guide me when I haven’t given any invitation. I need to make the effort. I need to make it a priority to listen to his voice. For me it takes more than just attending church and listening to speakers. I need to take notes. I need to ask for inspiration.
Every time I attend the temple, I pick up a set of scriptures with the intent of finding a message within that is meant for me. I usually open them to a random page and start reading with an open heart and mind. I invite the Spirit to prompt me. The written word is solid evidence to me. This effort has blessed me many times, solving major dilemmas or small inconveniences throughout my life.
Abinadi gave insights to Noah and his priests that could have helped them repent and improve, but all were rejected. His words were only received and heeded by Alma because of his open heart. But Alma isn’t the only one who received and benefitted from Abinadi’s powerful words. We can picture ourselves in that royal chamber sitting with Alma as we listen to a tortured prisoner in chains teach us how Christ has borne our sins, died for us, and redeemed us from our transgressions, making us “his seed” (Mosiah 15:12). We can include ourselves among those who are numbered as Christ’s family.
We are even mentioned directly when he says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever” (Mosiah 15:17). Did Alma know Abinadi was talking directly to him? Do we know he speaks directly to us? Do we sit beside Alma and empathize with his realization that he will carry on the work of preaching salvation? Will we also carry on the work? Can we be like the watchmen who “shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion?” (Mosiah 15:29).
Once these truths entered Alma’s heart, he forsook his previous ways and dedicated his life to Christ. We can do the same. The Holy Ghost will guide us in the direction we should take. Our priorities will be clear when our hearts are ready to receive the answers.