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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The First Law of Heaven

One thing I enjoy doing for scripture study is to pull up scriptures.byu.edu go to the right column and select where I am in my reading.  Then next to each individual verse it will show in small parentheses the number of talks given in General Conference that have referenced that particular scripture.  It's like using backwards footnotes and is a wonderful way to elevate my studies and tie them into what the modern prophets have said.

This morning I'm in the final verses of the first book of Nephi.  Here we read about the great need to be obedient to God.  Nephi states, "I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true; and they testify that a man must be obedient to the commandments of God... if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day.  And thus it is.  Amen." - 1 Nephi 22:30,31 
Through the process of study I mentioned, I found a great talk in 1997 by Elder Ballard called "Stand for Truth and Right."

I've been pondering on the principle of obedience and why it is so essential.  As a mother, it is greatly satisfying to me when my children obey by their own free will...  Especially when I see my children take care of a chore, a task, a responsibility without me having to ask them.  We all know this feeling as a parent, right?  It's high-fives and hugs all around as I shout, "You did it!  You did it and I didn't even have to ask!!  Wow, thank you, this makes me so happy!!"  When I react like this, my kids look at me like I'm weird or something because my excitement meter resembles a person who just won the lottery.  Maybe it's because this type of obedience from them feels that rare sometimes.

When Christ was on the earth He said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."  Isn't that the same desire we have for our children?  "Please be responsible and just take care of what I've asked you to do."

From the experiences I've had as a mom, I can clearly see the deep connection between love and obedience.  The major difference in such compliance is that God is perfect and we can trust that whatever He commands of us is always right.  I'm not a perfect mom and I'm certain that my requests aren't always the best, that there are probably infinitely better ways of handling things.  Nevertheless, these kids are in my care and I must do my best to teach them.  What keeps coming back to me is how much of this "teaching" must be done by my own example.

Yesterday, I randomly selected to listen to a conference session from the past.  I sorted through piles of laundry prepared them for washing, and took care of other chores, while the talks from April 2010's Saturday Morning Session played in the background.  It was a great session and I felt compelled to go back and repeat two of the talks, Sister Beck's and Elder Ballard's.  Both of these speak volumes to me about the example of obedience we set for our children.

Sister Beck speaks of how our obedience "with exactness" is directly correlated with the ability to receive personal revelation.  Elder Ballard spoke boldly of our influence as mothers.  He gave some very clear and strong counsel about standards we choose to uphold and how our children will follow our example more than our words.

"If the mothers are thrifty, so are their daughters. If the mothers are modest, so are the girls. If the mothers wear flip-flops and other casual clothing to sacrament meeting, so do their daughters. Mothers, your example is extremely important to your daughters—even if they don’t acknowledge it.

Throughout the history of the world, women have always been teachers of moral values. That instruction begins in the cradle and continues throughout the lives of their children. Today our society is bombarded with messages about womanhood and motherhood that are dangerously and wickedly wrong. Following these messages can put your daughters on the path to sin and self-destruction. Your daughters may not understand that unless you tell them or, better, unless you show them how to make good choices. As mothers in Israel, you are your daughters’ first line of defense against the wiles of the world.... 

...Let me assure you that even when you think your daughter is not listening to a thing you say, she is still learning from you as she watches you to see if your actions match your words. As Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, 'What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say' (see Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier [2006], 56)." - M. Russell Ballard

Are the things I am doing matching up with what I preach?
Can my children see that my obedience to God is sincere and done with the right intent?
I know I can and I must do better.

There are two things I want my children to know without a shadow of a doubt: One, that I love God and two, that I love them! But they won't believe what I say until they see what I do.

-Alicia

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