35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
I like the pattern in verse 35:
then you will grow…
- stronger and stronger in humility
- firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ
and as a result…
- your soul will be filled with joy and consolation
- your heart will be purified and sanctified
That final blessing—
for our hearts to be completely purified (cleansed) and sanctified (made holy)—
is the ultimate goal of gospel living and is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 10:32-33
). As Mormon points out, in the end, this blessing comes specifically because we yield our hearts unto God. Sounds simple enough, but on a daily basis it is incredibly hard to get our own desires out of the way, to put the desires of other people in perspective, and to base our decisions on the desires of our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29
). What can we do to follow His perfect example? It sounds like a good starting point is to “fast and pray oft.” Like daily exercise, the practice of stretching ourselves spiritually on a consistent basis enables us to develop the spiritual strength (humility and faith) to turn our hearts to God so that He can make us pure and holy.
What happens if we don’t stretch ourselves in this way? We become spiritually flabby. Mormon tells us in following verse about the pride that entered the hearts of the people when they became prosperous, “and it did grow upon them from day to day” (Helaman 3:36
). We have to work at being humble, but we don’t have to do anything to become more proud and more distant from God. The law of entropy applies to spiritual things just as it does to physical things.
Today, I will recommit to fast and pray often. I will remember that consistent and intentional participation in personal worship is the key to receiving the transformational blessings that Heavenly Father offers to His children.