What is firmness of mind? There are several places in the scriptures where people’s minds are described as being firm:
- Helaman praised his stripling warriors after their second battle: “Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:27) There is a relationship between firmness of mind and faith or trust in God.
- Mormon taught his people that angels appear “unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness” (Moroni 7:30).
- Jacob tells us in this passage that we can feast upon God’s love forever if our minds are firm.
I think firmness of mind means steadiness of purpose and consistency in working toward a worthy goal. Our Heavenly Father exemplifies this attribute: “There is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it” (Abraham 3:17). We can trust Him because we know that He will always keep His word and follow through on His promises. Likewise, we can earn His trust and the trust of those around us by fulfilling our promises consistently. Perhaps that is one reason the Lord invites us to make covenants with Him: so that we have the opportunity to earn His trust by keeping promises we have made to Him over a period of time.
So is a firm mind the same thing as a rigid mind? What if circumstances change or we gain new understanding and legitimately need to change course? There are plenty of scriptures where the Lord commands us to have a “willing mind” or an “open mind” (D&C 64:34, 2 Corinthians 8:12, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Mosiah 2:9). There are also many examples in the scriptures of people who had to adapt to new commandments from the Lord. But being adaptable is not the same thing as being fickle. We should be open to new commandments, but once we know God’s will, we ought to be “steadfast and immovable” in fulfilling it (Mosiah 5:15, 1 Nephi 2:10, Alma 1:25, 3 Nephi 6:14). We want the Lord to eventually affirm that, because of our pattern of consistent righteousness, we have proven that we will choose righteously in the future (see Helaman 10:4-5). Besides, constantly changing course is not a satisfying way to live (see Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6).
Today, I will “look unto God with firmness of mind.” I will be true and faithful to the covenants I have made. I will make decisions which are in harmony with God’s will, and when I have made a decision, I will follow through until the task is complete.
I love these scriptures that talk about firmness of mind. I tend to think of it as consistency in focus and direction. Our purpose on earth is to become like our Heavenly Father. Consistently seeking to do His will changes our natures to become more like Him. That firmness of mind blesses us to gradually and consistently become the people that He desires.
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