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God’s Commandments

Perhaps the most well-known commandments in the Bible are the Ten Commandments, but God has given other commandments to help guide and protect His children and to help them find greater happiness in their lives.

As you keep the commandments, you demonstrate your obedience and show faith, and then God fulfills His promise to pour out His blessings upon you.

What are God’s commandments?

Commandments are laws

More than mere suggestions for living, commandments are laws given by God. Just as there are penalties for not obeying municipal laws, there are also consequences for not following God’s commandments. 

God has identified the great commandments

Many religions look to the Ten Commandments as God’s fundamental laws—and for good reason. These commandments address eternal principles and provide a moral compass for guiding behavior. During His ministry, Jesus reiterated these commandments and even condensed them into two overarching principles: love God and love your neighbor. “The first and great commandment,” He said, is to “love the Lord thy God” (Matthew 22:37–38). Loving God encapsulates the first four of the Ten Commandments. The second commandment is to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Loving your neighbor captures the essence of the remaining six of the Ten Commandments.

Keeping the commandments brings blessings

God has promised to bless you when you keep His commandments. Some commandments are associated with a specific blessing. For example, the commandment to honor your parents comes with the promise that your “days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12). When you pay tithing, God promises to “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). God shows mercy to those who keep His commandments (see Exodus 20:6), and Jesus Himself said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10). In our day, the Lord has similarly taught, “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:21).

Why does God give commandments?

Commandments show God’s love for you

You are a literal child of God. As your Heavenly Father, God loves you and wants you to find joy, success, and peace in this life. He also wants you to become like Him. He gives you commandments to help guide your choices and to help you find the happiness He desires for you.

Some people assert that the commandments are too restrictive or limit their freedom to act as they choose. But God’s commandments actually benefit those who keep them—they not only protect us from the unfortunate and sometimes even devastating consequences of sin but they also can lead to greater success in life. Stories in the scriptures repeatedly confirm that people who keep the commandments prosper while those who do not suffer.

Commandments are an anchor

Life is filled with uncertainty, but God’s commandments act as an anchor—something unmovable to hold to as you make choices in life. You might think that making up your own rules sounds appealing, but you will find that you can accomplish more and experience greater joy by following the instructions given by your loving Heavenly Father. He knows your needs, He knows your path, He knows your eternal potential and the blessings that await you, and He knows how the commandments can help you in your life.

Commandments are a protection

Some commandments act as warning signs and, if heeded, will help you avoid pitfalls. God is a loving parent who desires to protect you from the dangers that He can see better than you can. By living His commandments, you are kept from dangerous environments and spared from destructive habits that could damage your body or spirit. When you avoid these dangers, you are better able to pursue happiness in your life. 

How can keeping the commandments bring happiness?

God’s commandments are recorded in the scriptures and have been repeated often as different prophets have shared God’s will with others. Have you ever wondered why these commandments are repeated frequently? Commandments are given to guide, protect, and bless you—in other words, to help you be happy. While you may not feel the effects of obedience immediately, the scriptures are clear: God’s commandments are constant standards for a happy life.

You can know right from wrong

God has given you commandments to direct your choices. He has also given you the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. The Book of Mormon explains, “He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil” (Helaman 14:31). Isaiah adds, “Thine ears shall hear a word . . . saying, This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21). You have the natural capacity to recognize and choose the right.

Good choices help lead us to happiness

When you do what God commands and what you know to be right, you are blessed. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). Conversely, the scriptures remind us, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).

Poor choices can be remedied

Even with His commandments to guide you, God knows that you will sometimes make wrong choices. Because He loves you, He has made it possible for you to overcome sin—to repent through the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement. This means that you don’t have to suffer for your sins because Jesus already did on your behalf. His sacrifice makes it possible for you to erase any sin. The Bible teaches, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). You may experience some lingering consequences from poor choices, but the guilt, sorrow, anger, or depression that accompanies sin can be forgotten by you—and by God—when you repent. 

Repentance is a commandment

The word repent denotes a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about yourself, and about the world. Often the word repentant is used to describe a person who is turning from sin and toward God. Repentance requires you to identify things in your life that are inconsistent with God’s will, pray for the help needed to change them, and then do your best to stay on the right path. Yes, repentance can be hard, but your reward will be worth the effort. As one prophet affirmed, “There can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as [will be your] joy” (Alma 36:21).

Have you ever wondered why God gives us commandments? It can feel restricting, but is that the reality? 

Do you have questions about God’s commandments? Chat with a missionary now. 

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