My life’s experiences with emotional turmoil have led me to study, love and be INlightened by scripture references that have to do with the heart. When we regard our heart symbolically as the center of our emotions, feelings and devotions, we can see teachings about the heart all throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
Although written over two thousand years ago, I think you’ll see that these words have application, even today. Here are the words of Helaman as he laments because he has seen the goodness of God in his life, and he knows and remembers the goodness of God in the life of his ancestors-through their written records and stories–yet his people have faced much war and pestilence because they continue to turn away from God after they prosper.
1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
Why is it important that we remember God? Among many other reasons, one reason that motivates me is that someday, we can all return to live in His presence.
On earth, we find ourselves forever longing for peace and happiness. We may involve ourselves in temporary pleasures only to return to feelings of emptiness. Our thoughts may wander into paths of self-doubt or hopelessness. We may not realize that feeding our spirit and getting our “homing beacon” for heaven working again is part of the solution to our longing.
Building on the secure foundation of centering our hope in Jesus Christ and following, as best we can, His teachings will position us to return, after death, to our heavenly home. Yet, to live in the very presence of God again, where we can find the feelings of true, unpolluted, joy, love and happiness, we must claim the gift of repentance that Christ offered. It is only by that means that we can allow our heart’s to be purified and worthy to be in God’s presence. It is a TURNing of the heart toward God and an acceptance of Christ’s grace and mercy toward us that allows this to take place. We can receive joy instead of misery. It is a beautiful experience that allows us to feel astounding peace, and it’s not something to criticize.
So today, let us reflect upon any unsteadiness found within our own hearts. Let us be true to our our real selves and to God by TURNing our heart to Him. By doing so, we turn our heart toward our heavenly home, and toward the great hope we have in Jesus Christ, who made possible the WAY for us to repent and eventually find everlasting joy.