Heavenly Father, through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, has given us the laws and commandments essential for gaining eternal life. If kept, these commandments will help us achieve happiness here and in the hereafter (see Mosiah 2:41). We are to “…live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:44). The commandments have been established according to divine design, and when we fail to keep them, we break ourselves against them and suffer the consequences. When we truly love God, we will keep the commandments (see John 14:15; Moses 5:13). The test of mortality is about our willingness to keep the commandments (see Ecclesiastes 12:13; D&C 93:1; Abraham 3:25).
THE SCRIPTURES TEACH US
- • Deuteronomy 6:17 — "Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee." Diligently keeping the commandments is not congruent with a casual attitude or passive behavior. Obedience requires a mindset of valor and a lifestyle characterized by a careful and caring manner and by actions reflecting assiduity (zeal and constancy). Yes, we need to make keeping the commandments the highest priority in our lives.
- • Ecclesiastes 12:13 — "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Our divine and moral obligation is to obey God. When we come to understand and appreciate the importance of this transcending doctrine, we will be submissive and choose to obey. After all Heavenly Father and our Savior have done for us, it is the least we can do. Remember that it is for our good and our happiness that the commandments have been given.
- • Matthew 22:36-40—36 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Can there be any doubt that love is not only the great commandment but the motivating force behind all that is good (see John 3:16; 2 Nephi 26:24)? When we truly love Heavenly Father and our Savior, our concern for the Kingdom of God and our fellowmen will be without bounds. Because of this love, we will serve our fellowmen and seek righteousness.
- • Jarom 1:9 — "And thus being prepared to meet the Lamanites, they did not prosper against us. But the word of the Lord was verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." The Lord is bound if we keep his commandments (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). He wants to bless our lives, but He requires obedience to the commandments.
- • Doctrine and Covenants 29:35 — "Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual." Even though many blessings come to us here and now by keeping the commandments, we can never forget that they are spiritual in nature. In keeping the commandments, we yield our hearts to the Lord and to His Holy Spirit, thus choosing to obey. This process is spiritual in nature. It keeps us connected to our God because we choose to obey; we then are not separated due to disobedience.
MODERN PROPHETS SPEAK
- We are a people who have taken upon us a solemn covenant and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us strive a little harder to keep the commandments, to live as the Lord has asked us to live. We are His children. He delights in our good behavior and I think He grieves when we misbehave. (St. George Utah Pineview Stake Conference, January 14, 1996.)
- (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 146.)
- The Ten Commandments involve two major categories. The Decalogue or the ten laws were inscribed on two tablets of stone. Just how they were arranged is not known, but most students divide them into two sets. The first division consists of those laws which are concerned with man’s relation to God. These are: no other gods, no graven images, no blasphemy, and keep the Sabbath. Some have included honor thy parents, while others have put this in the category of the last five, which are the laws encompassing a system of moral duties to others—thou shalt not kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet.
- Apparently the Savior had these two groups of laws in mind, the first defining man’s duty to God and the second providing for a duty to neighbors
- (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 23.)
- Yes, it is “by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).
- What is meant by “after all we can do”? “After all we can do” includes extending our best effort. “After all we can do” includes living His commandments. “After all we can do” includes loving our fellowmen and praying for those who regard us as their adversary. “After all we can do” means clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and giving “succor [to] those who stand in need of [our] succor” (Mosiah 4:15)-remembering that what we do unto one of the least of God’s children, we do unto Him (see Matthew 25:34-40; D&C 42:38). “After all we can do” means leading chaste, clean, pure lives, being scrupulously honest in all our dealings and treating others the way we would want to be treated. ::(“After All We Can Do,” Christmas Devotional, Salt Lake City, Utah, 9 December 1982.)
- (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 354.)
IDEAS FOR DAILY LIVING
Here are six ideas to help us keep the commandments:
1. Gain a knowledge and understanding of the commandments. 2. Pray for strength. 3. Seek to be humble and submissive. 4. Live worthy of, and pray for, the Spirit. 5. Love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength (see John 14:15). 6. Practice the principle of remembering to keep the commandments.
- “Keep the Commandments”
- By Elder Robert D. Hales
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
- I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me (Mosiah 13:4).
I would like to tell you a true story [from the Book of Mormon] about a man named Abinadi. He was a prophet who preached repentance to a wicked people and a wicked king. He preached boldly and courageously.
- King Noah angrily ordered his priests to kill Abinadi. He said, “Away with this fellow, and slay him; … for he is mad.”
- But when the priests tried to lay their hands on Abinadi, he withstood them, saying: “Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver. … I must fulfil the commandments wherewith God has commanded me.”
- The people of King Noah were afraid to touch Abinadi because the Spirit of the Lord was with him. “His face shone with exceeding luster,” and he spoke “with power and authority from God.” Abinadi declared that he would finish the message that God had sent him to deliver—and then it wouldn’t matter what King Noah and the people did to him. (See Mosiah 13:1-9.)
- When Abinadi concluded his message, King Noah demanded that he deny the words he had spoken—or he would be put to death. But Abinadi refused.
- The firmness of Abinadi’s faith is found in this touching entry in the sacred record: “And now, when Abinadi had said these words, he fell, having suffered death by fire; yea, having been put to death because he would not deny the commandments of God, having sealed the truth of his words by his death” (Mosiah 17:20; emphasis added).
What a powerful example Abinadi should be to all of us! He courageously obeyed the Lord’s commandments—even though it cost him his life!
- The Lord rarely asks His children to give up their lives as He did Abinadi, but He does ask us to follow Him as Abinadi did. We, too, must learn to obey the Lord’s commandments—honor our mothers and fathers, keep the Sabbath day holy, not take the Lord’s name in vain, be chaste, not lie or steal, live the Word of Wisdom, and pay an honest tithing. If we faithfully obey these commandments and others, we are promised the blessings of eternal life, which means that we will be exalted and live with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ in eternity.
- (Adapted from an April 1996 general conference address. See Ensign, May 1996, pages 35-37.)
- (Robert D. Hales, “Keep the Commandments,” Friend, Oct. 1997, inside front cover.)
- This article has been adapted from What We Need to Know and Do, by Ed Pinegar and Richard J. Allen.