An Honest Heart
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Role of humility in keeping zeal from taking one in a scary path in the name of God. Jan. 2, 1997 essay posted Dec. 10, 2004.
An Honest Heart
by Sterling D. Allan
2 January 1997
One of the most subtle and powerful bondages that we get into is when we think what we are doing is what God wants us to do, and that to think or act otherwise might offend God and cause us to dwindle in his sight -- to lose the seat we have so earnestly sought. Are we not told that those who look back once they have set their hand to the plow are not fit for the kingdom of God? So what does one do when he becomes wary about the plow to which he has set his hand? Where are the provisions for a course correction? How many atrocities in history have been done in the name of religion based on this sort of fervor rooted in a zeal to follow God?
I cannot believe that compulsive zealotry originates with God. His holy order calls for us to be humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of patience and long-suffering, temperate in all things. (Alma 7 23.) Somehow these tender attributes (though they are based in steadfastness in Christ) do not seem compatible with a stern adherence to a particular path one claims to be of God. Too often such zealousness, though attributed to adherence to God, is anything but submissive, can be very far from gentle, cannot be entreated, is filled with impatience, and certainly is not temperate. The irony then, it would seem, is that true steadfastness in Christ is very soft.
It seems to me that honesty of heart, a companion of humility, is the necessary and sufficient check on overzealousness.
An honest heart is submissive, for it allows for truth to penetrate and work its healing art, transforming false perceptions into true vision.
The honest heart is gentle, for it aches in being otherwise.
An honest heart is easy to entreat, for being in a mode of constant supplication, it hearkens to entreaty intuitively.
The honest heart resonates with patience, for it trusts Gods judgment in timing growth and chastisement, based on agency and eternal laws.
An honest heart is long-suffering, for it does not allow unrealistic expectations to cloud the necessity of allowing things to unfold m their proper time and sequence.
The honest heart is temperate, glorying in what is proper and wise while recognizing the joy of variety and the limitations of ability.
The honest heart is, therefore, a changed heart, one which has been touched by the power and love of God, transformed from its carnal nature.
With these attributes in place, then, as a foundation, the honest heart strives to obey Gods commands, for it knows the voice of God and rejoices in His bidding. The honest heart seeks unto God for whatsoever thing it stands in need, both spiritually and temporally, for it knows that God knows best, and it remembers the folly experienced when it sought elsewhere for guidance while in its carnal state.
The honest heart always returns thanks unto God for whatsoever thing it receives, whether for joy or for toil of growth, for it recognizes the Source of all that is good, it knows that God can turn all things for the good of those who love Him and who worship Him continually.
The honest heart has faith in Christ; hope, because of this foundation; and is filled with charity, for it is characterized by charity.
Therefore, the honest heart will always abound in good works, for God works through the honest in heart and the works of God are always good.
May God grant that I may have an honest heart.