Yesterday we went to the LDS temple in Monticello. Many thoughts flooded into my mind as we drove there about the way in which we follow, or serve, the Lord our God.
So, why do we keep the commandments of the Lord, great or small?
Let’s use these questions as we evaluate the potential reasons why we keep, or don’t keep, the commandments of the Lord:
- Do we keep them because the Lord has commanded us to keep them?
- Do we keep them because we see some benefit, real or imagined, in keeping them?
- Do we NOT keep them because we DON’T see some immediate benefit in keeping them?
We must strive to be as Adam when, after being driven out of the Garden of Eden, offered sacrifices unto the Lord…
“…an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” (Moses 5:6)
As we drove I asked myself why I was going to the temple this week? I’d always been told to go to the temple with a reason or a question. What was my purpose? What blessing was I seeking? What area of my life did I want help in? What did I need?
Then it struck me. I was not going to the temple because of anything I needed or wanted in particular. I was going to the temple because God has asked me to. If, after everything God has given me, he asks that I come regularly into His house and worship Him what excuse could I possibly give that is of any worth?
Did he not command us to draw near unto Him?
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:63)
And how can I draw near unto Him, or seek Him diligently, without going into His house regularly?
“And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven.” (Doctrine & Covenants 127:4)
How often do we wait until the commandments of the Lord serve some personal need or desire before we honor them? Shouldn’t we be as Adam and honor the commandments of the Lord because of who He is? And not because we will receive some perceived blessing or benefit – now, or in the future?
Whom do we serve? The Lord our God? Or ourselves?
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
IF we only keep his commandments when life gets hard, or when we have a problem, or when we need his help, we do nothing but serve ourselves.
IF we TRULY serve God we will keep his commandments, living our lives according to His word, regardless of whether or not we understand, agree with, or find them in our best interest. We will do so because of who He is and because He so commands.
God sees all things as they are, as they were, and as they will be. He knows what we stand in need of before we even ask.
If we seek to draw nearer unto Him we must ask ourselves this question: Do we trust wisdom and knowledge of the Lord our God more than we trust our own skewed perspective of reality?
IF we keep his commandments only when we deem them worthy, or necessary, we do naught but serve ourselves.
IF, however, we keep them regardless of what we see and understand we walk in faith, nothing wavering… then, rest assured, we shall come to know, in time, why it is that God has asked, or commanded, us to do these things.
We say, “Tell us why and we will keep thy commandments.”
God says, “Keep my commandments and I will tell you why.”
“Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” (Doctrine & Covenants 8:2)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me. And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. (Doctrine & Covenants 39:5-6)
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
“But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” (Doctrine & Covenants 63.23)
The mysteries of the kingdom and the peaceable things of the kingdom are the whys we seek prior to keeping the commandments. Here we clearly see that IF we keep the commandments God will give us the whys. He will teach us why, show us why, and give us the experience of why.
We are told repeatedly in scripture to ask in faith, nothing waivering.
Well, what does it truly mean to ask in faith?
To ask in action.
Faith is the motivating force of all action. Without faith in what we are doing we never take any action. Faith is the precursor to any and all action.
Therefore if we truly have faith in Christ we will choose to act and keep His commandments. When the scriptures say we must ask in faith it is asking us to do more than merely say we believe and profess it in word only. To ask in faith is to ask in action, or in other words, to ACT in FAITH.
Action cannot be removed from any faithful petition we put before the Lord.
Go now my friends, act and move forward in faith, answering this question as you go:
Whom do you serve? And in whom have you placed your trust?
In yourself? Or in the Lord your God?