Sunday, March 24, 2013

Droppin Some Knowlege About Obedience

So...This is basically what I said for my farewell talk. Thought I would share with whoever stumbles upon this blog.

     I want you all to imagine you have a friend. This friend goes around telling everyone that they love you, but they never tell you directly. When you text, call, or email this friend, they never answer you and sometimes don’t even read your messages. This friend comes to your house every weekend, eats your food, and then ignores you the rest of the time they are at your house. They talk badly about people they know you love. They will ask you for advice like they care what you think, and never follow the advice you give them. Is this friend really a friend at all? Do you believe them when they tell everyone that they love you? Of course not.

     But don’t we sometimes, as the imperfect human beings that we are, do this to our Heavenly Father? It is really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that love is something you say and not something you do. Love is an action. The Savior told us exactly how we can prove our love to him in John 14:15 when he said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

     President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Should there be any who offend or fail to keep the commandments of the Lord, then it is evidence that they do not love him. We must obey them. We show by our works that we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, with all our might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ we serve him and love our neighbor as ourself.”

     Elder Holland put this principle in simple, direct terms last conference when he said, “The defining characteristic of love is always loyalty.”

     The scriptures and modern prophets have made it abundantly clear that there is one way to show our love to our Heavenly Father, and that is through obedience to His commandments. We can say how much we love God every day all day for eternity, but until we show it, He won’t know it. And He won’t know it because if you aren’t showing your love through obedience, then that love isn’t really there in the first place, even if you’ve fooled yourself into believing it is.

     Obedience is not only the way to show our love to the Lord, but it is the only way to return to Him. In Mormon Doctrine, Elder Bruce R McConkie said, “Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest. It consists in compliance with divine law, in conformity to the mind and will of Deity, in complete subjection to God and his commands.”

     We often make the mistake of thinking, “I’ll be ok by breaking this one little commandment, it’s not like I’m breaking one of the big ones.” But how do we expect to be able to keep the big commandments if we can’t even keep the little ones? God won’t give us bigger commandments, which will lead to bigger blessings, if we can’t prove ourselves with the “lesser laws.” And after a while, those little sins will build up, and you will continue to give yourself more and more leeway until eventually you are justifying yourself in committing big sins.

     Elder James E Faust said, “The price of discipleship is obedience. In many languages, the word disciple has the same root as the word discipline. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus…Most of us think that the price of discipleship is too costly and too burdensome. For many it involves the giving up of too much. But the cross is not as heavy as it appears to be because we acquire through obedience a much greater strength to carry it.”

     Obedience to God’s commandments sometimes seems like a difficult thing. But I believe it only seems hard to obey when we are trying to keep one foot on the gospel path and the other foot in the world. As we’ve seen in recent years, the morals of the world and the laws of God continue to grow farther and farther apart. Of course it will be hard to obey when we are trying to split ourselves between those two paths.

     The gospel is not a “To Do” checklist of commandments we HAVE to keep. It isn’t some burden that we have to bear. The gospel and commandments of Jesus Christ are great blessings that help us daily to become more like Christ and return to God.

     Because God loves us, when we show our love to Him through our obedience, He ALWAYS blesses us. Doctrine and Covenants 130:21 says, “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

     One great blessing that comes from obedience is faith. It may seem like faith should come before obedience, but in John 7:17, the Savior teaches that if you want to know for yourself that a commandment is from God, you should follow that commandment, and then you will receive a witness of its origins.

     Again in Mormon Doctrine, Elder McConkie says, “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws, the greater will be the endowment of faith.”

     When we are obedient to a commandment and receive the blessings for that obedience, it naturally follows that our faith will grow as a result of those blessings. It is kind of an endless cycle that when you are obedient, you will get blessings which will increase your faith, which will give you a greater desire to obey and so on. When we put obedience first, everything else will follow. The only thing we need to concern ourselves with is striving to be exactly obedient to all of God’s commandments, which will allow the Spirit to be with us, which will guide us to do the things the Lord needs us to do to be instruments in His hands for building up His kingdom.

     When we disobey, we hurt ourselves more than anyone. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are breaking a commandment. God’s laws are unbreakable and unchangeable. When you disobey, you are breaking yourself. The good news is that the Savior is always there with open arms to fix what you have broken through his Atonement. 

      The words of the Primary song “I Feel My Savior’s Love” say, “He knows I will follow Him, give all my life to Him.” Does He know? Does the Savior know by the way you live your life that you will follow Him? Make sure He knows, by setting a pattern of obedience now, that you will follow Him always.

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