I have been thinking about the phrase, “follow the Son, with full purpose of heart.” One place that we can find this phrase is in 2 Nephi 31:13 where it outlines the way that we can endure to the end. It seems to be the first step in this process of enduring to the end, but what does it mean exactly?
To start with, we learn in Luke 16:13 that we can’t “serve two masters,” so therefore we must not have any hidden motives such as fame, fortune, vanity, etc. In this scripture I believe that Christ is telling us that every sin begins in the heart. When we are truly following Christ “with full purpose of heart,” there will not be any room (in our heart) for sin. If sins do not form in our hearts then they do not manifest in our lives. I need to check my heart everyday.
If our heart is not fully devoted to the Lord, then we will have a love for other things. This will open us up for hypocrisy. I can see why “come unto Christ with full purpose of heart” is the first step; really nothing else is possible without that. Without that you can not fully be on the path. So whether or not we are hypocritical is a way that we can tell if we are on the right track. If we are doing things to be noticed or to receive the “glory of men,” then we are not there yet. We can ask ourselves, “do I do as much or more worship in private?”
In Ezekiel 33:31 it says, “…and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Yes, actions do speak louder than words. A person who had nothing in their heart except to follow Christ would naturally be doing all that they could to serve and love others: the needy, the naked, the sick, the afflicted, and imparting of their substance to them, as mentioned in Alma 34:28. And in verse 29, “…if ye do not remember to be charitable, ye are as dross, which the refiners do cast out (it being of no worth).” To me this means that there is no way that a person who comes unto Christ with “full purpose of heart” can forget to be charitable because charitable would be who they are. The only way to be uncharitable is to be prideful and that begins in the heart.
In Luke 6:43 it says, “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Further on, in verse 45, the analogy is explained: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; …for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” So the things that we both do and say can give us clues as to where our hearts are centered.
In Matthew 7:20-21 we learn, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Through scripture, we recognize that having faith is not enough. To “come unto Christ with full purpose of heart” takes more than faith. We start with faith and then progress to the point where we are fully doing the Father’s will. I need to be continually checking my heart to make sure that it is centered on Christ and not on myself.