Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alma’s advice to his son Helaman reveals his own character

36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day. (Alma 37:36-37)
In these verses, Alma advises his son Helaman to incorporate the Lord into all aspects of his life with such specific language that I can only conclude that Alma is sharing his own spiritual regimen.

when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God – Alma seems to have awakened in the morning with gratitude and gone to bed at night with prayers for safety. To me it seems like a wonderful thing to think of the Lord first thing in the morning and last thing before falling asleep. The times that I have done this have sweetened those semi-conscious moments.

The other things that Alma recommends can be clearly seen as his way of fulfilling the commandment to love the Lord with all his heart, might, mind, and strength:
  • “let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (heart)
  • “let all thy doings be unto the Lord” (might)
  • “whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord” (might)
  • “let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord” (mind)
  • “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (mind)
  • “cry unto God for all thy support” (strength)
(I see the second and third list items as loving the Lord with all your might because directing your doings to the Lord gives the greatest motivation to do your best, which requires great might and skill. Also, letting all your goings be to the Lord exhibits love of the Lord with all your might in that you feel you are on the Lord’s errand, so again, you do your best, which requires your might and skill.)

if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day – Alma anticipated that the final result of all this effort to put the Lord at the center of his thoughts and words and actions was that he would be exalted at the last day. I can certainly see that such a careful focus on the Lord would crowd Satan out of his life.

I think it is probably safe to say that in Alma we also see a type of Christ’s devotion to the Father. I aspire to this level of worship.

2 comments:

Kimberly said...

My goal for 2011 is gratitude. To wake up each morning full of gratitude and end each day the same way. I had no idea Alma had mentioned this idea. I love his counsel to his sons it's just so personal and loving and kind-great chapters.

Thanks!

Michaela Stephens said...

That's a great goal, Kimberly.