Of Unity & Faith
How Obedience to the Commandments Brings Us Joy
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
As we start our discussion today, I would like for you to keep the following questions in the forefront:
Why should I be obedient to God’s commandments?
Why will being obedient to God’s commandments bring me joy?
Heavenly Father sent us to earth to learn from our experiences. Our mortal lives have specific purposes, one of which is for us to be tried and tested to see if we “will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command [us]” (Abraham 3:25). Obedience is an eternal principle. It is a principle that Jesus Christ exemplified throughout His earthly ministry. Jesus Christ invites us to follow in His footsteps. We can learn to be obedient in all things, if we will set aside our will and instead submit to the will of the Father, just like the Savior demonstrated.
Heavenly Father knows what things will protect us and keep us safe from Satan’s attacks. He also knows what things will help us become more like Him. Therefore, He gave us commandments. You might recall the question that a lawyer posed to Jesus Christ:
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 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.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Seems simple enough, right? Loving the Lord might be easy for you, but loving others? Why wasn’t it worded as love SOME neighbors, like the ones that are kind and easy to get along with? We all know individuals or types of personalities that test our patience. Those can be the hardest individuals for us to love. For mortals like us, it is difficult. For Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, it’s not hard at all. They both love us, more than we can imagine. However, they know that we can overcome our difficulties and become just like them! They are cheering us on! When you mess up, the Savior’s got your back! All you need to do is repent and keep trying! Heavenly Father hears your prayers and answers them in His own due time.
If you put all the other commandments into the perspective of the two the Savior emphasized, then you begin to see the heavenly pattern instituted for mortal beings to be tried and tested and with much effort reach the level of spirituality that will one day bring us into the presence of God. Now, let’s turn our focus over to obedience to the commandments. When we choose to be obedient, we are demonstrating our love for our Heavenly Father. And isn’t that exactly what Jesus told the lawyer was the most important commandment, loving God? If we truly love God, then we will do everything in our power to do what He asks of us, no matter how hard it may seem to us at the time. It is certainly not easy to do, but as you begin to develop Christlike attributes, it CAN become easier. Like with everything else, practice is necessary in order for us to improve.
You know what’s so beautiful about obedience? The joy that can permeate our souls as we gain divine approval from the giver of the commandments—Heavenly Father. When you do what is right, you feel good inside. It’s like when you help someone in need, and you see how the aid you provided made their life a little easier and their burden a little lighter. That experience alone can fill your soul with happiness. Now multiply that experience times every instance you keep a commandment. It doesn’t matter how big or small the commandment may seem in your eyes because Heavenly Father approves of your efforts and willingness to obey equally. You know who brings that confirmation of approval to you? The Holy Ghost! If you want to learn more about the Holy Ghost’s roles in filling our souls with joy, click here to read that blog post.
Every time we keep a commandment, we receive blessings.
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
The timing of the blessings are not for us to decide. Some blessings will be immediate, others will unfold as we grow spiritually, and others may not come until we move on from our mortal experience. But, Heavenly Father promises us blessings, and He always keeps His promises.
I want to leave you with one final scripture. As you read this scripture, please think of individuals that you consider to be happy. You might even want to evaluate your life and recall how happy you were when you were being obedient to the commandments.
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Do you want to live with God in a state of never-ending happiness? What do you need to change today so that you can realign your life with its true purpose? What are you willing to give up so that you can become the individual Heavenly Father knows you can become? I encourage you to pray and ask God for forgiveness. Christ’s Atonement will cleanse you. As you lay it out all on the altar at the Savior’s feet and begin to make the necessary changes in your life to follow after Him as a true disciple of Christ, you will feel the gradual changes begin to happen as you become a new creature in Christ. One day, you will look back at that moment and be grateful for your decision to leave behind a life of sin and follow after a life of obedience to the commandments of God.
That They Might Have Joy Series
The Purpose of Life: To Have Joy
How the Holy Ghost Fills our Souls with Joy