Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Necessity of Real Intent

6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such. (Moroni 7:6-9)
One of the things that strikes me in these scriptures is where the focus is in these scriptures. We are used to thinking that people who do good things are good. We are used to thinking that a person who prays is religious. These verses seem to point out that it is the real intent behind the acts that indicate whether we are good or evil.

Real intent is a very tricky thing. We can’t read each others’ minds so we can’t really say for sure what anyone intends. (That’s something that God has to judge.) How do we really know when someone is offering future help just to be polite or offering help because they sincerely hope that we will take them up on it? We don't. We often assume they are just being polite. And I think we sometimes try to put on a show for each other, pretending we have good intentions when we don’t really.

Why is having real intent so important? “[E]xcept he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing”. Having real intent is beneficial to us and does something for our own souls at the same time that our good acts help others. The Lord wants that benefit for us, because it brings us a little bit closer to Him.

I’m really glad that I ran across this scripture as the Christmas season starts. Christmas is certainly the season of giving, so I want to be able to give and have it be as good for me as it is for the people I gift.


S.Faux said...

Somehow "real intent" ties into grace. Real faith (the saving kind) is not necessarily associated with successful works; rather, it is associated with real intent. We all have different capabilities and aptitudes for success.

I love the word "desire" as it is used in the Book of Mormon. It is our desires for righteousness that are somehow equated with real intent. We are judged according to our works and OUR DESIRES.

Somehow it all works out and is beautiful. Ultimately, salvation is a great gift.

These are just some thoughts you provoked.