Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Serve God with All Your Heart

Jesus taught us that we should love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36). He also taught: "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day" (Doctrine & Covenants 4:2). Heavenly Father isn't one to waste words, so as I pondered these verses, I realized these must be separate and distinct ways to love and serve God. I found that Christlike attributes are linked with them.

So, for the last year I have been topic-studying the Book of Mormon with each of these individual ways. Since VALENTINE'S DAY is tomorrow, I thought it appropriate to share about serving God with all your Heart, arguably the most important of them all. 

In the first 160 pages I have already tallied 40 references to the hardness/softness of our hearts (the wicked are hardhearted, Nephi could not soften the hearts of his brethren, etc). I have learned that God really cares about how soft our heart is; i.e. how teachable we are. The Lord requires our hearts so the Atonement can truly work on our behalf. (2 Nephi 2:7).

In the New Testament Paul teaches us that Charity comes from a pure heart (1 Timothy 1:5). We can serve God with all our heart by having Charity. My Dad described it well in his last letter to me: "I think ofttimes charity is just glossed over when studying the Gospel. Many seem to focus on the Savior's atonement or perhaps his teaching of love for one's brother without looking deeper. They think of charity as just giving of your stuff to those who don't have much. But charity is much more than that."

It is more than that.

Without charity, we are nothing, and we cannot be saved without it. In Lehi's dream, the Tree of Life, which represents the love of God, is the most joyous to the soul (1 Nephi 11:21-23). We overcome the natural man by becoming full of love (Mosiah 3:19). Charity is more than doing good deeds; it is the pure love of Christ, it is loving others the way that Jesus Christ loves us. So how do we get this charity? We pray for it. We go out and serve, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Another Christlike Attribute associated with serving God with all your heart is Humility. Those who are humble recognize that their gifts and strengths come from God (1 Nephi 4:31, 9:5-6,17:50-51, Alma 26). They are willing to trust God's servants (1 Nephi 1:1, 2:16, 4:6-7, 5:5, 5:8). They express gratitude and do not go about their day without constantly praying for help (2 Nephi 32:8-9 , 1 Nephi 18:16).

Christ's baptism was an act of humble submission (2 Nephi 31:7). The Savior was the greatest example of charity and humility and yielding his heart to God (Helaman 3:35). It is so important that we give God our heart (see the second comment about this). I know that if I am righteous, Satan has no power over my heart (1 Nephi 22:26).

I love the Book of Mormon! I never grow tired of studying it and learning from it. It IS the word of God! It is another Testament of Jesus Christ! As we study the scriptures, we can learn how to serve God with all of our Heart.

In the song, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, there's a certain line I love the most:

"Here's my HEART, Oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."

What are some other ways we serve God with all our heart?

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