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"What Shall I Do?" Alma 22:15-16

Alma 22:15-16


After the king had the plan of redemption explained to him by Aaron, the missionary, the king had only one question on his mind: "What shall I do...?" There is actually more to his question than this, but this is so profoundly similar to Peter's interactions with those at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:37)

What the king said in its entirety was this:
...What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? (vs. 15, emphasis added)
The verse continues with the king making one final statement, which emphasizes the urgency of his inquiry, "Behold... I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom..." Is the grass really greener on the other side? By that, I mean, is having all of this world's goods, wealth, and power; is it really better, happier, more joyful, more (~fill in the blank~), than the peace, joy, and happiness that the Gospel of Christ affords? Here is a man who had all that this would could give him. It would seem that the king felt it was not "greener" on the other side. So here is a king, longing for eternal joy and asking how to find it.

It's even more important that the king was asking questions. I'd venture to add that these are inspired questions at that. By that I mean the Spirit of the Lord was probably responsible for planting these questions in his heart. The king acted on these questions and in the asking of questions, he is at the same time expressing the pure desires of his heart.

Aaron's response in the next verse is pivotal. Allowing the king to confirm his motives, Aaron states: "If thou desirest this thing..." and then he goes on to give detailed instruction on what the king needed to do:
  1. "Bow down before God"
  2. "Repent of all thy sins" 
  3. "Call on his name in faith" 
  4. "[Believe] that ye shall receive"
Four simple steps to explain in word; yet, how hard to embrace. In fact, the king's ability to readily act on these simple instructions seems to be entirely proportional to the urgency of his desire. By that I mean, our ability to act on the plan of happiness (or the plan of redemption that brings lasting peace and happiness) is completely predicated upon how important we feel this to be  It's utterly dependent upon the desires of our heart as to whether or not we are able to accomplish the requirements of happiness. Happiness does have a price, and its name is Faith on the Lord Jesus Christ and Repentance.

Then, after Aaron's succinct explanation, there was one final statement of assurance: "then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest." Aaron speaks from testimony in this statement when he promises the king that it will work. These are the same steps that he had already experienced for himself. They are the same steps that anyone who honestly seeks for a better life must pass through. So it's not just  a vain, empty wish. No, the promise is sure.

He (or she) who humbles himself before God, walks the thorny road of repentance, and calls out to the name of Jesus Christ in faith, believing it will happen, the hope of joy will come! I know this as well as Aaron did when he declared it to the king. It's been good to be reminded of this again.

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