At some time in life, and to varying degrees throughout life, all of us seek to know if God is real and if he is mindful of us. The history of man is filled with accounts of men and women from every continent, ethnic group and generation seeking communion with an all-powerful, all-knowing deity. Something about it just feels natural.
Nephi shared what he learned by the Spirit: "The love of God... sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore it is the most desirable above all things... and the most joyous to the soul" (1 Nephi 11:22-23). Using the superlative "most" in both cases should capture our attention. Our souls, regardless of our conscious thought, most want to feel the love of God. This is what would bring us the most joy-- more than any other thing we could do or say or think or feel.
So how do we obtain the love of God?
First, we must understand how God extends his love to us. John wrote that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Elder Maxwell expounded:
God extends his love to us through the Creation, the Atonement, the Resurrection and thousands of tender mercies, answered prayers and whispered directions in between. In short, we are safe to conclude that God extends his love to us through Christ, our Mediator, Creator, Savior and King.
So we may improve our question: "How do we access the love of God through Christ?"
The iron rod is symbolic of the world of God. So we know that the word of God leads to the love of God; or, that scripture points the way to Christ. Yet, knowing how to get there is not the same as being there. Holding fast to the iron rod, we must also walk along the narrow path. We must act upon what we know to be true. Several scripture passages emphasize that walking along the path especially includes having faith, repenting of our sins, being baptized by immersion for the remission of sins and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Just as knowledge without actions is static, if we act without knowledge we can become lost in the fog and confusion of the world. If we are to experience the most joy our soul can possibly experience, we must combine the pursuit of knowledge through regular scripture study with a willingness to continually improve our ability to obey the commandments of God we find in scripture.
This is what brings the greatest possible joy to our souls. Putting forth the required effort, we become as He is-- granting us the same blessings that he now enjoys. Justified and sanctified by the power of the Atonement, we may recognize and feel the love of God.
Our incomprehensible potential should affect how we see the world. In the stars or the flowers or the smiles of small children we catch a glimpse of God's love-- reminders of what could be. In the commandments of God, we find the keys to our success and the map to our desired destination. In obedient and righteous action we bring ourselves nearer to the goal and expand our capacity for love and joy through frequent application.
What a joy it truly is, then, to be as involved as we possibly can in the learning and living of gospel principles! A work with so great a reward could never be a burden. With cheerful hearts and scriptures in hand, we can grab hold of the iron rod and take another step or two toward the greatest joy for our souls. We can do it today. We can start now.
May God bless each of us in our journey to become as He is.