2 Nephi 1
Lehi gave some final advice to his family in the first few chapters of 2 Nephi. He encouraged his older sons to hearken to the counsel of Nephi after his death because Nephi has “not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare.” Like a true hero and leader, Nephi sacrificed any personal desires for gain or power he might have had and sought to do God’s will in all things through his faith, obedience, and service. Nephi’s efforts were focused on bringing his family closer to God that they might partake of the blessings of righteousness and eternal life (see 1 Nephi 19:22-23).
Lehi expressed his concerns to Laman and Lemuel that the Lord might curse them or destroy them because of “the hardness of your hearts.” He saw that at times they were “led according to the will and captivity of the devil” and told them to “put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound….Rebel no more.”
Heroes and warriors know that “our most deadly contest in life is not with human enemies” (Stand Ye in Holy Places, Harold B. Lee, 1974, 330). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). In order to protect ourselves from Satan’s attacks and be “a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3) we must put on the armor of righteousness each and every day.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Eph. 6:13-18).
When we put on the armor of God we fill our lives with truth and righteousness. We know and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is a gospel of peace and love. We have faith in Jesus Christ. As we always remember Him and believe in Him, we will have the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, with us to guide us, warn us, and strengthen us in our fight against temptation and sin. We put these things in our lives when we read, study, and live the word of God which is found in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets. We arm ourselves with truth and righteousness, faith and the Spirit, when we pray always.
The armor of righteousness includes a helmet to protect our head, a breastplate to protect our heart, protection for our loins and feet, and a shield to add a second layer of protection for our heart and loins. Putting on the helmet of salvation means we watch our thoughts and control them in order to keep them focused on good and God. It also means we diligently study laws and examples of truth and freedom to fill our minds with light and knowledge. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness means we keep the desires and intents of our hearts pure and focused on the things of God. We protect our loins as we live a life of virtue and chastity, a life based on high moral standards. We protect our feet as we focus our goals and actions on living the gospel and walking with God each day.
The sword of the Spirit is our only offensive weapon in our war against Satan. As we pray each day to be “led by the Spirit” we will be inspired to do things that bring about good and to do things that diminish Satan’s influence. When we live each day being led by the Spirit we will do those things that are pleasing to God. As we do these things, we will be warriors of light and love who ultimately win this war by making peace, by building Zion.
“We are living in the last days, in ‘perilous times.’…we have the responsibility to stand strong with a shield of faith against the fiery darts of the adversary. We are role models to the world, protecting God-given, inalienable rights and freedoms. We stand in defense of our homes and our families….We need this armor!…Satan desires to have you, and ‘sin lieth at the door.’ How will you resist his aggressive tactics? Put on the whole armor of God” (“Stand Strong in Holy Places,” Elder Robert D. Hales).
*How have you been protected by putting on the armor of righteousness?
*How have you wielded the sword of the Spirit to bring about more good or break Satan’s chains?