4 And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them.
Our motives determine our decisions. The Nephites wanted vengeance. This unrighteous motivation caused them to overreach, to initiate a battle instead of merely preparing to defend themselves and their families. If their motives had been pure, they would have qualified for the Spirit of the Lord, which would have guided and protected them in the face of a dangerous enemy. They also would likely not have lost the prophetic commander who had led them to victory in the past (Mormon 3:11-16).
Today, I will examine my motives. When I sense that my desires are not in harmony with the Spirit of the Lord, I will change them so that I can continue to enjoy the protective influence of the Holy Ghost.