He That Will Not Harden His Heart – Alma 12:9-11

9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 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.
11 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.

Yesterday, I wrote about God’s promise to bless us with the power of the Holy Ghost if we diligently seek Him. By that power, we can know His mysteries.
Today, I’m pondering another requirement for receiving revelation: we must not harden our hearts. As Alma teaches above, if we harden our hearts, we will receive “the lesser portion of the word,” and if we choose not to harden our hearts, we will receive “the greater portion of the word.” This is not merely a description of our current quantity of knowledge, but also of our trajectory: those who receive the greater portion know more and more of His mysteries until they “know them in full.” Likewise, those who receive the lesser portion know less and less “until they know nothing concerning his mysteries.”
I can’t precisely define what it means to harden your heart, but I think I know what it feels like. I am familiar with the feeling of being unwilling to accept advice or even admit that I may be wrong. I recognize that such an emotional state is not conducive to learning or growth. I also recognize that my challenge is to avoid that state of mind and heart.
It is interesting to me that this requirement is phrased in negative terms: if you can avoid hardening your heart, then you will receive the promised blessing. We become hardened automatically by the experiences of life. But if we can resist that process and remain humble and malleable, then God can teach us and can mold us into the kind of people who can dwell with Him again.
Today, I will avoid hardening my heart, so that I can receive “the greater portion of the word.”
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