It almost seems incredible that the adversary would be able to convince anyone, let alone so many of the people, that the incredible sign of Christ’s birth was some sort of trick not to be believed. How could that happen? Well, it took three years to whittle away at the peoples’ belief in the first place. Secondly, “the people began to wax strong in wickedness and abominations.” And third, remember those younger ones, who two years previously began to become “for themselves?”
Twelve years after the amazing sign of the Savior’s birth, the Gadianton robbers were such a threat to the believers that the people “were in a state of many afflictions, and the sword of destruction did hang over them, insomuch that they were about to be smitten down by it” (v. 19). It’s another formula for failure: 1) Disbelieve Christ, 2) Wax strong in wickedness and abominations, which leads us to 3) contentions and dissensions.
Unfortunately, while thus distracted, the Nephites were about to be taken over. While similarly distracted the adversary can take us over. The solution? Go for the first problem: strengthen our faith in Christ. With that kind of focus, we won’t be so distracted that the adversary can overtake us.