"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Nephi 14:14).
As I was reading my scriptures a few nights ago, I stumbled onto this scripture--a stumble that made me pause to regain my footing. Having heard many times that we must put on the "whole armour of God" so as to be protected from the attacks of the adversary, this scripture offered a refreshing, new perspective. Righteousness is our protection and preparation for the war that is life. Arming ourselves with righteousness affords us safety as we make our way through enemy-infested woods, such as inappropriate situations or sites on the internet, or as we meander through potentially dangerous mountain roads, such as peer pressure in High School. The story of Moroni's army illustrates the importance of being prepared spiritually when battle is upon us.
"[Moroni] had aprepared his people with bbreastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing— Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their aswords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their bstones and their slings; and they were cnaked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites; But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites.
"And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi. And the work of death commenced on both sides, but it was more dreadful on the part of the Lamanites, for their anakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites with their swords and their cimeters, which brought death almost at every stroke. While on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords and the loss of blood, they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their abreastplates, and their armshields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites." (Alma 43:19-21, 36-38)
I have come to realize in my life that just as a Lamanite without a shield is vulnerable to heavy onslaught, our lives and souls can take a brutal beating when exposed to sinful devices. We must constantly put up our defense especially when the enemy of all righteousness is one that never ceases to plan our demise. We can trust in God that if we are armed with righteousness, though we may still have minor casualties like the Nephites, we will overcome the opposing army of temptations and trials. I know that as we sharpen our swords and enhance our armor by keeping the commandments, we will have the "power of God in great glory" to press forward and progress towards our desired destination. Failure to do so will make us vulnerable to the consequences of sin.