- Of all the lessons we learn from the life of the Savior, none is more clear and powerful than the lesson of obedience.
- In the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan. Those who followed Lucifer ended their eternal progression—be careful who you follow!
- When we obey, we accept His sacrifice, for we believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments given in the gospel.
- Jesus taught us to obey in simple language that is easy to understand: “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and “Come, follow me.”
He speaks about things we can do to follow the example of the Savior. The greatest thing we can do is enter the waters of baptism and renew those covenants weekly.
- When we are baptized, we “take upon [us] the name of Christ” and enter “into the covenant with God that [we will] be obedient unto the end of [our] lives.” Each Sunday we renew that baptismal covenant by partaking of the sacrament and witnessing that we are willing to keep the commandments. We seek forgiveness for any thoughts, feelings, or actions that are not in harmony with our Heavenly Father’s will. As we repent by turning away from disobedience and by beginning to obey again, we show our love for Him.
Elder Hales categorizes obedience into three categories. Each shows our spiritual maturity and commitment to follow the Savior.
- As we live the gospel, we progress in our understanding of obedience. At times we may be tempted to practice what I call “natural man’s obedience,” in which we disobediently reject God’s law in favor of our wisdom or our desires or even popularity. Because this is widely practiced by so many, this perversion of obedience diminishes God’s standards in our culture and in our laws.
- At times members may participate in “selective obedience,” claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings—and the teachings and counsel of His prophets—they will fully follow.
- Spiritually mature obedience is “the Savior’s obedience.” It is motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His Son. When we willingly obey, as our Savior did, we cherish the words of our Heavenly Father: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we look forward to hearing, upon entering our Heavenly Father’s presence, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … enter … into the joy of thy lord.” Using our agency to obey means choosing to “do what is right [and letting] the consequence follow.” It requires self-mastery and brings confidence, eternal happiness, and a sense of fulfillment to us and, by example, to those around us; and it always includes a deep personal commitment to sustain priesthood leaders and follow their teachings and counsel.
To build this "Savior's obedience" that he refers to, we need to recognize that the source is found in our love for the Savior. Our relationship with Him has an impact on our commitment to follow His teachings.
- Our love of the Savior is the key to Savior-like obedience. As we strive to be obedient in today’s world, we declare our love and respect for all of Heavenly Father’s children. Yet it is impossible for this love for others to modify God’s commandments, which were given for our good!
- To rationalize disobedience does not change spiritual law or its consequences but leads to confusion, instability, wandering in strange paths, being lost, and grief. As disciples of Christ, we have a sacred obligation to uphold His laws and commandments and the covenants which we take upon ourselves.
Elder Hales concludes with some simple comments about the obedience.
- Obedience brings blessings, “and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
- Obedience is taught by example. By how we live, we teach our children, “Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.”
- Obedience makes us progressively stronger, capable of faithfully enduring tests and trials in the future. Obedience in Gethsemane prepared the Savior to obey and endure to the end on Golgotha.
Elder Hales in a previous talk that we reviewed discussed that the sacrament puts us under a covenant of obedience. I have pondered on that over the past couple weeks and have realized that obedience is a choice that we make. We will not be able to reach true discipleship status if we are now willing to hand the greatest gift God has given us, back to the Savior. Our agency is an eternal gift that we got to exercise in the premortal world, in our world today, and I assume in our next life as well. When we choose to be obedient to the Savior's teachings, we give our agency to choose wrong to Him and show our discipleship by our willingness to follow Him instead of the world. We are blessed by following the Savior and we will continue to be blessed as we make and keep our covenants with the Father. Choose this day to follow the Savior and work to find what sacrifices you can make to walk away from the world and become a true disciple of the Savior.