During the BYU-Idaho Devotional on March 21, 2017, Brother David R. Peck, a faculty member in the Department of Religious Education at BYU-Idaho, counseled students to know and understand the physical and spiritual health of their hearts.

He said the condition of our hearts matters because when the heart is physically not functioning properly, not much else can - and it's the same with the spiritual condition of our hearts.

"Elder Marvin J. Ashton once asked, ‘Why the heart?'" Peck said. "He then answered, ‘Because the heart is a synonym for one's entire makeup.'"

In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Peck said the heart is a topic he's thought about for many years.

"It's something I've worked with and wrestled with," Peck said. "Hearts are something that I've dealt with from a very young age, seeing some of my loved ones battle with physical heart problems, so it's always been interesting for me to look at the heart."

He said the measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance in this life.

"A question I suggest to you is this: How do you measure up?" Peck said. "Ultimately, you and I will be judged not only for our actions, but also for the desires of our hearts."

He reminded students the Lord looks on the heart to see our true desires and thoughts.

"As fallen men and women, we sometimes neglect matters of the heart - for much less weightier matters," Peck said. "The external observables can easily dominate our attention. The functioning of the heart is often quiet and subtle - not drawing much attention to itself - unless problems arise ... If or when problems surface, some do so gradually and almost without notice, and others will turn our world upside down in a moment."

During our interview, Peck said as he's watched people wrestle with the physical and spiritual challenges of life, he's realized it really can be difficult to continue with our daily lives.

"It's not an easy battle to win," he said. "When there are challenges with the heart, they manifest themselves in many, many aspects of our lives. I've noticed as people find answers in the heart and find softening and healing and mending of the heart ... some of those other symptoms that we focus on tend to find resolutions, so, it's been satisfying, in a spiritual sense, to work with people and help people find that peace of heart and a settled heart and a soft heart, and walk to the joy and peace that follows when that comes."

Peck said, when questioning the condition of our spiritual heart, we can answer a series of questions:

· What are the desires of my heart?

· How do I react to the unexpected events of life?

· What do I do and think about when I don't have to do or think about anything?

He said careful and regular heart monitoring can be difficult because often we do not life what we find when looking inward.

"Sometimes we resist going to the doctor, because we know if a problem is discovered, there may be some painful and expensive treatment required," Peck said. "So it is with our heart - there may be some tough medicine ahead. Elder [Neal A.] Maxwell taught, ‘The ‘might change' required by discipleship may seem roller-coaster-like, as soaring revelations bring the gravity of humbling perspective ... ‘Might' changing, however, is mighty hard work.'"

Peck counseled students to remember the Lord in their trials, no matter the challenges we're going through.

"Our lives are busy, life's a little crazy, and we live in a very competitive world, we're always measuring each other against numbers and stats and figures and scores," Peck said. "Just [remember] that the Lord really does care about what's going on inside where our heart lies, and maybe just [remember] to pause from time to time and ask ourselves ‘how am I doing?' - Not just ‘what am I doing,' but ‘how am I really doing? Is my heart in it, am I doing it because I'm feeling it, I want it?' I think that can be a meaningful journey to go on - meaningful introspection and a meaningful process to go through."

Click below to listen to David R. Peck's full devotional address.