When Jesus was on the earth, a lawyer asked Him a question: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36–40 in the Bible).
The Importance of Love
From these scriptures we learn how important it is for us to love the Lord and our neighbors. But how do we show our love for the Lord? Jesus answered this question when He said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father” (John 14:21in the Bible).
Reasons for Obedience to the Commandments of God
Why should we keep God’s commandments? Is it because we fear punishment? Is it because we desire the rewards for living a good life? Is it because we love God and Jesus Christ and want to serve Them? It is better to obey the commandments because we fear punishment than not to obey them at all. But we will be much happier if we obey God because we love Him and want to obey Him.
When we obey Him freely, He can bless us freely. He said, “I, the Lord, … delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end” (Doctrine & Covenants 76: 5 p. 137). Obedience also helps us progress and become more like our Heavenly Father. Some of God’s commandments are hard to keep and require sacrifice on our part.
For example, forgive others their trespasses against us, pay tithes and offerings, overcome selfishness, love others that do not love us, be honest, serve others when it is not convenient, be patient in suffering, repent of our sins to name a few.
Our Lord will help us keep His commandments if we are willing to try, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7 p. 6 in the Book of Mormon).
Keep Both the Easy and the Difficult Commandments
The scriptures tell of a man named Naaman. Naaman had a dreadful disease and traveled from Syria to Israel to ask the prophet Elisha to heal him. Naaman was an important man in his own country, so he was offended when Elisha did not greet him in person but sent his servant instead.
Naaman was even more offended when he received Elisha’s message: wash seven times in the river Jordan. “Are not [the] rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?” he demanded.
He went away in a rage. But his servants asked him: “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
Naaman was wise enough to understand that it was important to obey the prophet of God, even if it seemed a small matter. So he washed in the Jordan and was healed. (See 2 Kings 5:1–14 in the Bible)
Jesus Set the Perfect Example of Obedience
Jesus Christ was the sublime example of obedience to our Heavenly Father. He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38 in the Bible).
His whole life was devoted to obeying His Father; yet it was not always easy for him. He was tempted in all ways as other mortals (see Hebrews 4:15 in the Bible).
In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39 in the Bible). Because Jesus obeyed the Father’s will in all things, He made salvation possible for all of us.
Benefits of Obedience
We grow closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior. (see Jeremiah 7:23–24 in the Bible).
The Lord counsels us, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine & Covenants 14:7 p. 25).
The apostle Paul declared “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2: 9 in the Bible)
“Gospel Principles” p. 201 was used as a reference for some of the article.
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