11 And it came to pass that the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them; yet they were not half so numerous as the Lamanites. But they fought for their lives, and for their wives, and for their children; therefore they exerted themselves and like dragons did they fight.
We can accomplish amazing things when our motives are pure. Mormon points out that this group of people were able to stand against a much larger army because they were fighting for the right reasons: to defend themselves and their families. Many places in the Book of Mormon, we see how our success depends upon our motives. For example:
- In Alma 43:45-54, the Nephites defeated an army of Lamanites which was more than twice as large. Mormon attributed it to the fact that the Nephites were “inspired by a better cause…their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children…yea, for their rites of worship and their church.”
- In Helaman 4:24-26, the Nephites discover that, because they have fallen into wickedness, “the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them.” Therefore, “the strength of the Lamanites was as great as their strength, even man for man.”
- After winning a battle in Mosiah 11:19, the people “boast in their own strength, saying that their fifty could stand against thousands of the Lamanites.” This lack of gratitude for divine assistance presaged their defeat and bondage.
- The title of liberty, under which Moroni led the Nephites to victory, listed their righteous motives for fighting: “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (Alma 46:12).
- Mormon resigned as commander of the Nephite armies after a great victory, when his troops “began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren” (Mormon 3:9-10).
We are entitled to the Lord’s help when our motives are pure and when we are obedient to Him. Righteous causes include defending your family and your freedoms, including freedom to worship. Vengeance and a desire for retribution are unrighteous causes. If you boast after receiving divine assistance and claim credit for your victory, you will lose that assistance, and you will discover how weak you really are.
Today, I will act on behalf of worthy causes. I will also avoid claiming credit for my successes, knowing that I am able to do great things when I am strengthened by the Spirit of the Lord.