This chapter is really hitting me strongly this morning and I want to write some thoughts.
The heading for Mosiah 26 says, “Many members of the Church are led into sin by unbelievers.” Right when I read that I was confused… In the chapter before they were all getting baptized and were amazed by how God was able to deliver Alma and Limhi from the Lamanites. They heard the words of King Benjamin and Abinadi and were converted.
The last verse in chapter 25 says,
24 And they were called the people of God. And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed, and prospered in the land.
Sounds like they were doing pretty good, so why the sudden change? Mosiah 26:1-3 explains it a little more.
1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.
2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.
3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.
It sounds like all the people who were there to hear for themselves and who wanted nothing more than to be baptized, stayed faithful, but it was their children who fell away.
This is so similarly to today. Youth who have grown up with families in the church decide not to believe and choose a different path, while other youth, who did not grow up in the church, find the gospel and are converted for life! Why does this happen? What’s the difference?
You could list a lot of reasons, but overall I think it all boils down to DESIRE.
Talking about the natural man again… I don’t naturally want to serve other people. Yep, I said it. I don’t really like sacrificing what I want to help other people… BUT when I read the scriptures and pray, I feel the spirit and I can feel it telling me that I need to serve others and it gives me a desire to serve. Or as I read about Christ and see how He served, the spirit influences me to want to be like Him and I have a desire to serve.
Naturally, I don’t desire what’s right, but when I feel the spirit, I desire it.
The youth in this chapter had my same problem. They don’t naturally desire to do what’s right. But instead of doing things that filled them with that desire, they did the opposite.
4 And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.
6 For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church.
They wouldn’t join the church, they wouldn’t call upon God, and then they spread their false doctrines to bring others down with them.
Because they refused to believe in he gospel and to TRY, they didn’t have the spirit fueling their desire and they desired unrighteousness instead.
I’ve noticed that in my life. The more consistently I feel the spirit, the more consistently I do good and have the desire to do good.
Now it’s not easy to keep up that desire. That’s actually something I’m working on right now… Most mornings I pray about how I can serve others, I ofree receive some inspiration and try to follow up on it, but as the day goes on and I get farther from that spiritual moment, I usilly forget. Ugg. I hate forgetting… But I do it all the time! I get caught up in everything I want to do and I forget to do something for someone else. I get tired and I get mad at Jor for not doing the dishes instead of being grateful for an opportunity to serve him. I go out wits friends and talk only of myself instead of focusing on others like I had wanted to do and I MESS UP!
We all mess up! That’s why we need the Atonement.
But, I think it’s what we do after we mess up that matters most. We have a few options. We could say, “well clearly I suck at this, I’m not gonna try that again.” We could doubt whether we were really inspired to try and serve. We could try at it for a long time and eventually lose faith, stop reading scriptures, and stop praying. We could have a half way effort where some days we try and some days we don’t, some days we feel the spirit and some days we don’t.
We could repent. Acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own. Pray for help and for the DESIRE to do what’s right. Pray to know how to get better in our efforts. And try again!
Now I am definitely still working on serving and REMEMBERING my determination to serve throughout the day, long after my morning prayers.
If I find opportunities to feel the spirit throughout the day, then it is easier to remember to serve because the spirit is there to remind me. I can do this by listening to spiritual music, praying over meals and praying again for opportunities to serve, ponderizibg scriptures, and embracing quiet moments to ponder throughout the day.
The more I feel the spirit, the more I DESIRE righteousness.
It’s hard to change my natural desires, but it was meant to be. ❤️