How long does it take to lose our spiritual connection with God?
After the ministry of Jesus Christ on the American continent, the people lived in peace and righteousness for several generations. (See 4 Nephi 1:22-24, 1 Nephi 12:12, 2 Nephi 26:9, Alma 45:10-12, 3 Nephi 27:32.) But at other times in their history, the Nephites had experienced a rapid descent from peace and happiness to contention and wickedness. (See Helaman 3:1-3, 32-36, Helaman 4:1.)
After the first generation of Israelites to inherit the promised land had died, “there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). How could they not know that their grandparents had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and that their parents had similarly crossed the Jordan River? How could they not be aware of the miraculous defeat of Jericho (Joshua 6) or the battle against the Amorites, when the Lord sent giant hailstones and caused the sun and the moon to stand still (Joshua 10:11-14)?
Of course they were aware of these events, but that awareness did not bind them to God as it had their parents and grandparents. They were like the small children who heard King Benjamin’s speech but were too young to understand it. (See Mosiah 26:1-3.) They may have been aware that something significant had happened, but they were personally unchanged by those events and unable to convert that awareness into faith.
Commenting on this generation of Israelites, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
Despite the astonishing heavenly interventions, visitations, rescues, and miraculous victories the children of Israel witnessed during the lifetimes of Moses and Joshua, within a generation the people had abandoned the Way and began walking according to their own desires….
Sometimes this falling away takes generations. Sometimes it happens in a matter of years or even months. But we are all susceptible. No matter how strong our spiritual experiences have been in the past, as human beings we tend to wander.“Daily Restoration,” General Conference, October 2021
President Russell M. Nelson has cautioned us to maintain our spiritual connection with God:
With frightening speed, a testimony that is not nourished daily “by the good word of God” can crumble. Thus, the antidote to Satan’s scheme is clear: we need daily experiences worshipping the Lord and studying His gospel.“The Power of Spiritual Momentum,” General Conference, April 2022
Today, I will recommit to daily personal worship. I will remember that my connection with God must be nourished through regular activities that bring me closer to Him.