And now after the church had been established throughout all the land—having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God being preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord pouring out his blessings upon the people—thus ended the fourteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. (Alma 16:21)
This verse is given at the end of a number of things that have happened among the Nephites. First, the destruction of the Nehors at Ammonihah by the Lamanites, then the rescue of the other captives taken, then the continued preaching of Alma and Amulek, and the general establishment of the church in the land.
I am particularly intrigued by how Mormon describes this state as “having got the victory over the devil.”
It certainly looks like the Nephites had a national victory over the devil.
--the wicked were destroyed by the Lamanites
--the captives were restored
--the word of God on the plan of redemption was preached and accepted everywhere
--general interest in prophecies of the future coming of Christ
--the Spirit was poured out on everyone
Of course, this was only a temporary victory for the Nephite nation. The problem is the devil comes back again and keeps trying. The story of the Book of Mormon is that the Nephites eventually yielded the victory back to the devil.
We will skip over the question of how our nation is doing in the war against the devil and come back to the question of how we’re doing as individuals.
Have we personally gotten the victory over the devil?
Are we repenting and feeling the Spirit?
Are we doing good and sharing the gospel?
Are we studying the words of the prophets and the scriptures of what is to come?
Let’s take moment to reflect on what we need to do to get the victory and keep it. It’s a daily effort. What’s the main victory you need to win today? And how are you going to include the Lord in your battles?
Much of my work these days is self-directed. I don’t have people hanging over my shoulder pushing me to get things done, so I face impulses to procrastinate. I fight against doubts that tell me what I do doesn’t matter so there is no point in doing it. Or, I face a flood of inner voices that try to overwhelm me with a sense of my fallen nature in order to prevent me from feeling the inner strength needed to write, especially for this blog. Every day is a battle to make progress. When I call out to Heavenly Father for help, He gives me the strength to overcome.
We need to keep fighting and we can’t win without the Lord’s help.