Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obedience Can Bring Us Peace and Comfort: Part 2

originally posted at Modern Molly Mormon

So what does the word "obedience" mean to you? The connotation of the word "obedience" varies by person. For some, being obedient is synonymous with blind following. For some, it is doing what is asked. For others, it is joyful to be obedient. And some of us see obedience as being forced to do something.

We have been taught that being obedient to God's commandments is the way to show Him our love and respect for Him. Being obedient is difficult. Sometimes extremely so. But the peace and love we will receive at the end of our journey is worth more than the pain and obstacles we will experience in reaching the end.

The following excerpts are from a talk by Conrad Schultz, called "Faith Obedience," published in the May 2002 Ensign.

"One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that 'blindly' following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures."

"Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord's commandments is not blind obedience. President Boyd K. Packer in the April conference of 1983 taught us about this: 'Latter-Day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God....We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.'"

"We might call this 'faith obedience.' With faith, Abraham was obedient in preparing Isaac for sacrifice; with faith, Nephi was obedient in obtaining the brass plates; with faith, a little child obediently jumps from a height into the strong arms of his father. 'Faith Obedience' is a matter of trust. The question is simple: Do we trust our Heavenly Father?"

I find it very interesting that as children we are so trusting, and as adults we are quick to be cautious and distrustful. Even more so for those of us who have been through something traumatic, like abuse. If our trust is breached in such a horrific way, it can be difficult to trust anyone, including the Lord. So just like Brother Schultz asked, do we trust our Heavenly Father? Do we trust what He has said to us through the scriptures, through our prophets, and through our own personal revelation? We have been given agency, one of the greatest gifts we could receive. We need to use our agency, our intelligence, our ability to make choices for ourselves, to decide to be obedient to the Lord's commandments.

We may not always know why the Lord asks us to do something. Abraham, for example, did not know why the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. He did not want to do it. But he had faith in the Lord. He trusted the Lord. And he was blessed beyond measure. We can also be blessed beyond measure, if we trust in the Lord and do as he asks. These blessings will include healing. These blessings will include peace. These blessings will include comfort, increased knowledge, increased faith, the ability to learn and grow as a person.

The Lord loves us, and He is constantly with us. He will guide us and love us every day of our lives--and beyond. He loves us, because we are His children.

I have expressed my love for this scripture before, but I want to share it with you again. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord."

I long for the day that I will hear that. I long for the day, after doing my best to be obedient, that I will be allowed to enter into the joy of the Lord.

I know that we all have the opportunity to reach this beautiful end. We are all given the opportunity to be obedient. The rewards of obedience will far surpass anything we can even begin to imagine.


Blog Stalker said...

What a great post! And one of my favorite scriptures. One thing I try and remember is to put everything through the perspective of the Light of Christ and then you find the answers you seek.

So true we trust wholly when we are young and 'get' it but tend to become more skeptical and questioning, 'rationalizing' when we need to just be obedient.

Again, what a great post, more should read it.

Have a great day!

Ethereal Highway said...

"I long for the day, after doing my best to be obedient, that I will be allowed to enter into the joy of the Lord."

You are not in the joy of the Lord, now? Why not? I used to be a Christian. I say "used to be" because I don't think I fit the 'accepted' definition anymore. The only thing I can offer on this post comes only from my own experience, and like anything else, consider that which you deem fit to consider, and discard the rest, okay? When I found myself faithful and obedient, I also found myself more miserable than ever, but there was good reason for that in my particular life. We are all different, so I will just say that it was time for me to examine my entire belief system in excruciating detail. It took years, but it was very important to me, so I did it. I still have a long way to go in my healing, but doing my due diligence in that department changed my life for the better in astounding ways. I am more able to understand myself and my real feelings and I can see other people and the world around me more clearly than ever before. I don't believe that people need absolutely to just accept everything they are taught. If you would like to examine, I started with studying translations with the help of (but not the opinions or teachings of!) a researcher. First, the Aramaic to Greek, Greek to English. My most revealing study came from comparing the words of Christ to the Acts of The Apostles. The comparison of the life, words, and actions of the person of Jesus to the teachings of the Apostle Paul were the biggest piece here. It was an astounding experience. The entire journey was the most enlightening and freeing experience I have ever had. Oddly, the information took years to settle in, even after the bulk of the study was more or less complete. Once I was freed up (by an act of disobedience!) to put my own real beliefs into practice, it was years later. I'm glad I did it, though. Like I said, I have a way to go, but this is the best off I've ever been.

Best of luck to you, whatever your path.