Obedience is probably one of the most basic, most misunderstood, and most difficult concepts to grasp in our religion. Yet, Pres. Hinckley said it all when he said, “Simply Live the Gospel.”
The Gospel he refers to is Jesus Christ. He is Lord and Master over all things. He loves us so much He willingly volunteered to sacrifice His life for us, and die for us, that we might live eternally with the blessings we manage to be worthy of during this lifetime. The blessings we receive are according to our obedience.
Every time Sister Burton’s presidency spoke to us, they taught about covenant keeping. Do we really understand what covenants are? I encourage you to carefully read Genesis, chapter 17, which talks about the Abrahamic Covenant.
In a nutshell, Sarah is barren (unable to have a child). At nearly 100 years of age, the Lord tells Abraham he will “be a father of many nations.” This can only happen when the Lord gives Abraham and Sarah a child. That child (family) is the crux of the covenant. This is why marriage and family are so important.
The basis for the covenant (found in verses 7-8) is that God will give us children (“seed”) and we will teach the gospel to our children through the generations (“establish my covenant”). This covenant results in God giving us eternal life (“all the land of Canaan” which was the most fertile land).
It’s that simple. And as you can see, God pretty much gives us everything; all we have to do is obey by teaching the gospel to all the generations that come after us so we can prove our obedience to Him.
For an added note, see my post on Abraham and The Name of Christ, to see how both Abraham and Sarah literally take the Lord’s name upon them to always remember this covenant with their Savior.
Section 2, first paragraph (in the lesson), lists a lot of words we tend to use to justify our LACK of obedience. I find them interesting and revealing:
The accusations that are flying around our atmosphere these days come from all directions: those who are trying to be obedient, those who think they are obedient, those who refuse to be obedient, and those who would rather check other’s obedience than their own. When we covenant (at Baptism, the Sacrament, the Temple, even in prayer) we have to be willing to stand for the will of the Lord, even/especially when it is most difficult.
There is only one way to be truly obedient. By doing the will of the Lord and obeying all of His commandments. Jesus said, “I am he that gave the law. … I am the law. I have given unto you the commandments; therefore keep my commandments” (3 Ne. 15:5-10).
As we all experience, this is no easy task. We battle our abilities and desires daily. But the covenant is that Jesus Christ is there to help us every step of the way depending on how much we invite Him in. And when things don’t work out, that’s when we grab hold of our faith and hang on, but that’s another lesson ………..
One of the first things Joseph Smith taught the Relief Society in Nauvoo was,
“Repent, reform but do it in a way to not destroy all around you. I do not want to cloak iniquity–all things contrary to the will of God, should be cast from us, but don’t do more hurt than good with your tongues–be pure in heart–Jesus designs to save the people out of their sins. Said Jesus ye shall do the work which ye see me do– These are the grand key words for the Society to act upon.” (May 26, 1842, Female Relief Society Minutes found in The Joseph Smith Papers and The First Fifty Years of Relief Society).
By being obedient, we desire to do it only to be seen by God, to please Him. Our quiet example is what speaks for us. Not only will our children see our example, but we must guide and direct our children at all cost, for this is the covenant. What is the work of Jesus, you may ask? John, chapter 14 explains it clearly and in great detail. You’ll notice He even thwarts naysayers. This is the pattern we, the Relief Society, need to set forth.
Imagine with me if all members of the Relief Society stood tall with the power they receive from being absolutely obedient to Jesus Christ through His prophets on the earth today. Our knowledge of the gospel, the covenants we’ve made, and the work we perform can make us unstoppable. The puny voices of the adversary will be left mute. The glory of God will shine in our eyes. And our beloved households will be rendered safe.
President Hinckley bears his testimony with these words:
“I give you my testimony that the happiness of the Latter-day Saints, the peace of the Latter-day Saints, the progress of the Latter-day Saints, the prosperity of the Latter-day Saints, and the eternal salvation and exaltation of this people lie in walking in obedience to the counsels of the priesthood of God. … This great principle is keep the faith. …”
Challenge: Our world is full of wickedness. We are ridiculed for living the gospel. We are bombarded with mixed truth and lies. We tend to wander off the path that leads to the Tree of Life. Our challenge is to focus on being obedient. Read the scriptures to understand Jesus Christ. Listen to the prophets’ warnings and encouragement to stay true. Pray constantly to overcome temptation and control our shortcomings. Teach the gospel to our children diligently with the spirit of love. Do these things more each and every day.
This is not a game or an afterthought. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.