We went to FHE last night and we had an excellent lesson given by one of the members of our bishopric. It's a story from the Book of Mormon about a man named Amalickiah (you can read the full account here). I've heard this story several times before, but really enjoyed hearing it again and wanted to record two specific thoughts.
To give you a VERY high level background of the story in case you are not familiar, Amalickiah is in charge of an army who is out to get the Lamanites who have fled to a mountain. This group appoints Lehonti to be their leader. Amalickiah and company have come to the bottom of the mountain and he sends a small number of men up to Lehonti's camp and tells him to come down. Lehonti firmly says no. The embassy goes down and tells Amalickiah that he's not coming down. This pattern happens three times and all three times, Lehonti firmly states that he will not come down. The fourth time, Amalickiah comes up, almost to the camp and Lehonti gives in and comes down.
Amalickiah hatches a plan with Lehonti that Lehonti will bring his army down in the night and surround Amalickiah's men and ultimately make Amalickiah second in command as they will make an agreement that they don't want to fight. This plan works as Amalickiah planned, making Lehonti feel that he is still in charge. The next thing you know, Amalickiah has begun poisoning Lehonti - the account says "by degree" (please read the full account - I certainly haven't done it justice, but this will give you enough background to understand what I want to say...hopefully).
The two thoughts that I wanted to make specifically are as follows.
1 - Amalickiah made multiple attempts to bring Lehonti down from his camp...from his safe place, his place of high standards. Likewise, Satan will not stop attempting to ensnare us in his traps because we simply say no. He will continue to send us invitations to come down from safety. He may even come to us, almost to our camps of safety, and make us believe that we can come down, even just a little bit and everything will be fine, that we will be in charge, but that is not the case. We cannot come down.
2 - Amalickiah poisoned Lehonti by degrees. It wasn't a one time, sudden thing. It happened slowly. Lehonti thought he was in control and that things were going according to his plan without realizing that it was too late for him, that he was trapped in Amalickiah's plan. Again, Satan will poison us by degrees. He will do anything he can to draw us away. He will poison us using things we love. He will slip little lies, little temptations into things that we may view, and very well believe, to poison our Spirits.
As I reflected on these points, I began evaluating my life as it is right now. I live a pretty good life. There really aren't too many things out of sorts and I try to be obedient to those things that I know are right, not because I'm "supposed" to, but because I want to. I know who I want to be and what it takes to get there. Starting today, I'm committing to myself to be more aware of the influences I allow in my life, to realize that Satan's influence is real and that he is fighting with all of his might to mislead me...I will not come down. I'm up for the challenge...are you?