15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.
The Lord’s response to the brother of Jared’s prayer of repentance is generous, but it comes with a strict warning. I forgive you, He says, but you need to stop sinning. Then, He adds these words: “My Spirit will not always strive with man.”
What does it mean for the Spirit to stop striving with us? Nephi said that “when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction” (2 Nephi 26:11). And the Lord tells the brother of Jared in this passage that, if we sin until we’re “fully ripe,” we will be “cut off from the presence of the Lord.” I can’t imagine our Heavenly Father giving up on us or giving His children less than they are willing and able to receive. But I do believe that we limit our own progression by refusing to hearken to the gentle nudgings we receive from the still, small voice, encouraging us to repent. I believe that our hearts can become hardened over time through repeated decisions to reject or ignore the voice of the Lord, until we become “past feeling,” and can no longer hear His words (1 Nephi 17:45). Perhaps that is what it means to “sin until [we] are fully ripe.” It’s not that the Lord stops knocking, but that we cut ourselves off from His presence by refusing to open to door (Revelation 3:20)!
Today, I will choose to repent. I will choose to respond to the strivings of the Spirit. I will choose to open the door and receive the guidance and the power which my Heavenly Father wants to share with me.