The Heart of a Believer
3 Nephi 6:16 - 3 Nephi 9:22
I found a lesson in the reading of the beginning of 3 Nephi that I haven't noticed before.
It's the lessening of the gray.
The splitting into two distinct groups ––the believers, and those whose hearts were led away by Satan.
This time I read looking for understanding, how was Satan able to lead their hearts? But I also wanted to know more about the believers, what enabled them to be believing?
It was on that search that I discovered the important lesson..."all this iniquity had come upon them because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan." (3 Nephi 7:5)
I stopped to consider this yielding. How can a heart that is fixed begin to yield? What is the process? I want to know this process, I want to understand it, because I don't want it to happen to mine.
A sobering example of how Satan led away the hearts can be found in 3 Nephi 2: 1-2 and in 3 Nephi 6:15-16. Look for the words that are familiar in our day:
"...and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve, all which they had heart and seen ––imagining up some vain thing in their hearts...and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again." (3 Nephi 2:1-2)
"...Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world. And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people...therefore they had enjoyed peace but a few years." (3 Nephi 6:15-16)
I see words that are familiar. Words that make sense to me. I know what it is to forget. I ask myself how many times I have let a sign or wonder from heaven pass by without my recognition. I can understand what might lead to a heart hardening, to walking blindly. I recognize that we live in a world that is vain. I feel the stirring that is taking place. I see the iniquity ––all manner of iniquity that surrounds us. I have felt the pride in place of humility, the longing for power and authority and riches.
I realize this same stirring is taking place today.
What was it that helped the believers hold on to their beliefs?
As I read I marked verses that testified of what defined a believer. I found phrases such as these:
"...the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments." (Helaman 15:5)
"...they are striving with unwearied diligence." (Helaman 15:6)
"...they are brought to a knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them––therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith." (Helaman 15:7-8)
I ask myself a list of questions, Am I in the path of my duty? Do I walk circumspectly before God? Do I observe to keep His commandments? Do I strive to learn the truth? Have I let go of traditions that keep me from Christ? How do I increase my belief in the Holy Scriptures? Do I understand the Sacrament and experience the repentance process weekly? Have I experienced a change of heart? Am I striving with unwearied diligence?
Have I come to this?
Because I want to become the type of believer that has come to this...
But there was another important trait that defined the believers. It is found in 3 Nephi 3. In this chapter we read of Gidgiddoni, who was a great prophet among them. He helped them prepare. To gather together. To fortify themselves. To repent and to pray. "And he did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction." (3 Nephi 3:19-26)
The believers were a group of people who followed the prophet. Who listened to Him. Through his words and his counsel they became prepared. Made strong. Protected.
Because of the manner of his instruction.
I see the parallel of this example in our day. I feel the stirring and then I remember...a prophet has given me counsel that will strengthen me, fortify my family, help us to prepare ourselves against this stirring.
He has given instruction.
Do I have the heart of a believer? Will I listen?