Today I want to talk a little bit about commandments of God. This is a lesson that I have learned time and time again on my mission. I will use a story from this week to illustrate that lesson.
Right now we have an investigator whose name means "chicken" in Thai. He is getting interviewed for baptism this week. He is an eternal investigator. He has learned with the Elders for over a year. He understands everything perfectly. He understands all the doctrine. He is keeping the commandments. Yet there was something that was always missing. I think I figured out what that something is.
He doesn’t know why we have commandments. Why has God given us rules to follow? I asked him that question last week and his answer was, “Commandments are things that God forces us to do and if we don’t do them we will be kicked out of the church and not accepted by members.” I was obviously more than disappointed with his answer.
If you look in the Elder Brown dictionary under the word “commandment” you will find the definition as follows: a way to receive a blessing. God gives us commandments to bless us. Without a rule, without a measuring stick, we could not be entitled to a reward. Even if we could, the reward would be meaningless and without value.
God has never forced us to do anything. He never will. He will only invite us to be happy. He has had enough mercy to specifically outline the ways that we can receive blessings. We don’t even have to guess!
Often times the natural man views these rules and commandments as a cage; holding us in, taking away our freedom, not giving us the ability to be free. This is a terrible comparison. Something that is caged does not have the freedom to leave; however, someone who is keeping the commandments always has the ability to stop, they have the ability to sin.
A better comparison is commandments are like a wall, a fence. We are restricted to a confined area, but that is because we are inside the umbrella of protection that the wall is providing. We have the ability to climb the fence and leave at any time; however, once we leave… it will be difficult to return and we have no guarantee that we will have safety outside of the protection of the loving arms of God’s grace.
It is important to keep the commandments. But it is more important that we keep the commandments because we recognize that that is what will make us happy. That is what will make God happy. Blind obedience never benefited anyone; God does not want blind obedience from us.
I hope that our investigator will be able to understand this message and be able to be ready for baptism in two weeks.