Alma, one of the great prophets of the Book of Mormon asked centuries ago, "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"
What do people see when they see you? Do they see you as a disciple of Christ? C.S. Lewis said, "Don't shine so others see you, shine so that through you others can see Him." Are we too worried about how others see us that we forget who we are really representing?
Another word for being born of God or having a mighty change wrought in our hearts is the word conversion. The people of King Benjamin tell us what true conversion means. " Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."
I like to think of conversion not as a singular event but as a process. Bruce R McConkie said, "It (conversion) does not occur instantaneously. It comes to pass by degrees. Repentant persons become alive to one spiritual reality after another, until they are wholly alive in Christ and are qualified to dwell in his presence forever.”
Alma then asks a series of question to help his people examine their lives and their depth of conversion. He asks:
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
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.
29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
31 Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
If any of these questions made you wince or hurt, you are not alone, but that doesn't mean it's ok. When I read these questions they motivate me to try harder, to become better, to rise above my natural tendencies and to change my heart and become converted once again. None of us know when our life will end or when the Savior will come to the earth again. Let us be ready for Him. It would be a very terrible feeling to be called up to the judgment seat and be filled with guilt and terror. I hope at that day that we will not shrink before Him, but that we can confidently look at Him, having received His image in our countenance.