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Why Obedience Sets You Free

By Mormon.org
Meme: Obedience is a choice. It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God's unlimited wisdom and omnipotence. L. Tom Perry

Rules, especially those we don’t understand or agree with, can be difficult to obey. Following the commandments can be equally challenging.

Some commandments are obvious and straightforward, like “thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). It’s easy to understand why we should follow these, but others, like “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8) and “honour thy father and thy mother” (Exodus 20:12), are a little more ambiguous. Keeping these commandments can be a little more challenging, firstly because it’s difficult to know what God means and secondly because six days aren’t always enough and we may not always agree with our parents.

However, as we try to live these commandments given by a loving Heavenly Father, we will find that they enable us to enjoy greater freedom both in the short term and in the long run.

Obedience Brings Safety

Since we were very young, we’ve been given rules. Following them helps us avoid dangers. However, many of us learn by our own experience that obedience brings safety.

When President Thomas S. Monson was eight, he and his friend Danny Larsen set fire to a small plot of ground, hoping to quickly clear the weeds so they could have a campfire later that evening. When it became apparent that their fire had gotten out of control, they were forced to run for help.

President Monson’s parents had asked him not to use matches unsupervised—not to prevent him from gaining experience or having fun, but to keep him physically safe. In like manner, our loving Heavenly Father has given us commandments to ensure our spiritual safety and happiness in this world and the world to come.

Obedience Brings Freedom

When we follow the Lord’s counsel, we bypass many of the pitfalls of our modern world.

Robert D. Hales, an Apostle, said: “Think of it: If you choose not to take a drink of alcohol, you will not become an alcoholic! If you never choose to go into debt, you will avoid the possibility of bankruptcy!” 

As we align our lives with the Lord’s laws, we can avoid and overcome poor habits and debilitating addictions that would otherwise enslave us.

Obedience Brings Trust

When we are honest and authentic with our peers, we earn their respect. When we do this regularly, we earn their trust.

After Joseph was sold by his brothers into Egypt, he gained favor in Pharaoh’s eyes and was made overseer over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself (see Genesis 41:38–41).

Building a relationship of trust with the Lord works similarly. When we consistently keep His commandments, we become someone He can trust. That trust is rewarded with increased freedom and additional responsibility.

Obedience Brings Understanding

Being obedient to God’s laws can be challenging, particularly when we don’t see the immediate effects of our choices. But understanding will come as we practice obedience.

Christ said, “If ye continue in my word, … ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32).

Our Heavenly Father knows the challenges we will face in this life, and He has given us the guidelines to overcome each of them, but it’s up to us to decide if we are willing to follow His counsel.