Monday, April 22, 2013

Obeying the Commandments

Self-assessment plays a valuable role in our journey of becoming more diligent disciples of Christ. In such an assessment, we may find areas where we need to change, make course corrections, or even just stretch ourselves a little more. We can then set goals and make plans to incorporate the changes into our lives. In a talk by Elder L. Tom Perry entitled "Obedience to Law Is Liberty", he provided a way to evaluate ourselves as we strive to be more diligent disciples. The following is a thought provoking excerpt from his talk:

One way to measure ourselves... is by one of the oldest standards known to man—the Ten Commandments. For much of the civilized world, particularly the Judeo-Christian world, the Ten Commandments have been the most accepted and enduring delineation between good and evil.
In my judgment, four of the Ten Commandments are taken as seriously today as ever. As a culture, we disdain and condemn murder, stealing, and lying, and we still believe in the responsibility of children to their parents.

But as a larger society, we routinely dismiss the other six commandments:

If worldly priorities are any indication, we certainly have “other gods” we put before the true God.

We make idols of celebrities, of lifestyles, of wealth, and yes, sometimes of graven images or objects.

We use the name of God in all kinds of profane ways, including our exclamations and our swearing.

We use the Sabbath day for our biggest games, our most serious recreation, our heaviest shopping, and virtually everything else but worship.

We treat sexual relations outside marriage as recreation and entertainment.

And coveting has become a far too common way of life. (See Exodus 20:3–17.)...

A useful way to think about the commandments is they are loving counsel from a wise, all-knowing Heavenly Father. His goal is our eternal happiness, and His commandments are the road map He has given us to return to Him, which is the only way we will be eternally happy...

God reveals to His prophets that there are moral absolutes. Sin will always be sin. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. The world changes constantly and dramatically, but God, His commandments, and promised blessings do not change. They are immutable and unchanging. Men and women receive their agency as a gift from God, but their liberty and, in turn, their eternal happiness come from obedience to His laws. As Alma counseled his errant 
son Corianton, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10)...

The Lord...revealed...the blessings promised...for being obedient to His commandments.
In Doctrine and Covenants 130 we read:

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

“And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21).

Surely there could not be any doctrine more strongly expressed in the scriptures than the Lord’s unchanging commandments and their connection to our happiness and well-being as individuals, as families, and as a society. There are moral absolutes. Disobedience to the Lord’s commandments will always deprive us of His blessings. These things do not change...

May we ever be a light on the hill, an example in keeping the commandments, which have never changed and will never change.  (

We can all do a little better in keeping these commandments. Jesus was the only person who perfectly kept all of the commandments. Each of us has room for improvement. As I think about Elder Perry's invitation to measure ourselves, the questions for me become:

·         How am I doing in keeping ALL the commandments of God not just the convenient ones?

·         Where can I do better?

·         What am I going to change to keep the commandments more diligently?

1 comment:

  1. I always enjoy reading your posts--always inspirational and uplifting and challenging! We used to play a sort of game with our kids about the 10 commandments: When we'd watch a TV show or movie we'd note which commandments were not kept and then talk about the results. The 10 commandments apply to all God's children on this earth, whether or not they acknowledge it, and the consequences of not living them ALWAYS lead to unhappiness and pain.