27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
In the first verse of the passage above, Alma asks if we have been sufficiently humble. When I read those words, I wonder, am I humble enough? How can I know if I meet the minimum standard of humility?
In the second verse, I get my answer: I must be “stripped of pride.” Even the smallest hint of pride renders me unprepared to stand in God’s presence and to be judged.
I see evidence of pride in my heart all the time. My theory is that pride simply grows, like barnacles on a ship, and that it must be scraped off regularly or it will continue to grow and do damage. (See Helaman 3:36.) It’s part of this mortal state that we live in. Just like we have to weed the garden, vacuum the carpet, wash the car, and so on, we also need to regularly strip the pride which naturally builds up on our souls.
How do we go about stripping our souls of pride? The answer is in the first verse above: through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our garments can be cleansed and made white. Our pride, like all of our sins, can be washed away as we recognize it and plead with God for forgiveness.
When Alma says, “Ye must prepare quickly,” he isn’t being unreasonable. As he later teaches the Zoramites, “if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you” (Alma 34:31). As quickly as we reach out to God with true sincerity of heart, the purifying power of the Atonement begins to operate in our lives. Repentance can and should be a frequent activity. Whenever we recognize the first signs of pride, that can be our cue to repent and invite His power into our lives.
Today I will strive to strip my soul of pride. Recognizing that it will grow naturally, I will look for signs of pride and will repent quickly when I see them. I will rely on the power of the Atonement to help me be clean.