“And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” Alma 12:10-11
Consider a dry sponge. It has the potential to soak up and absorb water, but it is not prepared to do so. Pour a drop of water on it and it will just sit upon the surface. Try to wipe up a spill with it and it will just push the water around on the counter. However, plunge it into a bucket of water or hold it under a faucet and squeeze out the excess and the sponge is prepared to soak up any water it touches. Allowed to dry out completely again, it returns to its unprepared state: dry, hard and even brittle; containing little or no water and unable to absorb any.
My heart is like the sponge. If I allow my heart to dry out completely – squeezing out the last drop of living water and not replenishing it – then, when a drop comes my way, I cannot even absorb it. I just push it around dully, not able to drink it in and be nurtured by it. I receive “the lesser portion of the word until [I] know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then [I can be] taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction.” How does this happen? It happens when I give until I have no more to give, trying to please everyone, and fail to take care of myself by taking time to do the things that keep me close to the Lord. It also happens when I refuse to allow others to nurture me. When I allow self-will and self-sufficiency (thinking I can do it all, by myself) to replace love and humility in my heart, it can become dry, hard, and brittle.
When I find myself in this state I must find a bucket of living water or a faucet and plunge myself in – immerse myself in the love of God and the gospel. Where can I find this bucket, this faucet of living water? At Church, in the temple, in 12-Step meetings, in program literature, in the love of my family, in the scriptures, in prayer and meditation, in General Conference – anywhere the Spirit dwells. Then, I need to “squeeze out the excess” by sharing what I have learned with others.
I never want to become totally dry again. Where do I get the daily “misting” that will keep me prepared to receive; that will keep my heart soft and humble? By daily use of the tools of the program; especially literature and music (including scriptures), meetings, prayer and meditation, sponsoring, telephone calls, writing and yes, even service.
- Are there spiritual areas of your life in which you have potential but are not prepared?
- What could you do to become prepared so that you can receive a “greater portion?”
- What will you do today to start down that path?
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