What does your heart desire?

28 May

I got completely sidetracked the other day when I was reading 1 Nephi 11 in the Book of Mormon. This chapter tells about a glorious vision Nephi has: there’s a tree and a rod of iron and a path and multitudes of people following the path to get to the tree. And it all symbolizes eternal life and the path of righteousness and the scriptures.

But I didn’t get to any of that.

 I got stuck when the Spirit of the Lord in this vision asks Nephi, “what desirest thou?”

What a powerful question! I can imagine Nephi, a young man, finding himself at a lofty mountain height and faced with such a query. I imagine him looking out over a beautiful, fertile valley and remembering the covenant of the Lord that he and his family would inherit a promised land. Perhaps he longed to settle there and end their wanderings. And maybe he remembered the Lord’s other promise–that he would be a ruler over his brethren as long as he was faithful. He may have buckled under the desire to have that power. Or it could be that he only hoped that one day his brothers would be faithful to the Lord.

I imagine the struggle in his mind as Nephi weighs these desires. “What desirest thou?” Prosperity? Power? Family peace?

The next verse shows us the righteousness of Nephi’s heart. “And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.” The deepest, most pressing wish of this young man’s heart was for a stronger testimony. More than the comforts of a stable home, more than the freedom of being in charge, more than the ease of a faithful family, Nephi desired to have the conviction that would enable him to face any challenge in faith.

In the last General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an address about desire. He taught:

Readjusting our desires to give highest priority to the things of eternity is not easy. We are all tempted to desire that worldly quartet of property, prominence, pride, and power. We might desire these, but we should not fix them as our highest priorities.

There are more important things to desire than the things of this world. My testimony is the greatest treasure that I own. I’m grateful for the example of Nephi who understood that to know is greater than to have.

“Therefore, what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity.”  –Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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2 Responses to “What does your heart desire?”

  1. Jeff Muir May 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    What a wonderful testimony Sister Meaders! Thank you so much for sharing that. It is funny how the more worldly desires I have, especially the Four P’s, the more disappointment I have and the more chances I give the adversary to contend with my spirit over these longings. I want to start asking the Lord to open my mind and heart to His reality and to what He would have me see and feel, rather than what the world or my “natural heart” tells me I should be focused on. Sister your posts are so helpful to me and I am sure many others! God Bless! Bro. Muir

  2. zo-ma-rah May 30, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    All I can say is, Amen. I pray that the Lord will help me increase my desire for righteousness. I’m not perfect so I need all the help I can get! Great post Sister Meaders.

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