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If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and have ever felt overwhelmed by all of God’s commandments– this video is for you. Today we’re going to talk about the #1 reason commandments aren’t an overwhelming to-do list and are actually huge blessings!
But to do that we have to go back thousands of years to before you and I came to this earth. We lived in the premortal world with Heavenly Father and our spirit brothers and sisters. During our time in the premortal world, we all gathered together for a great meeting where Heavenly Father told us about His plan to help us become like Him.
The plan was both exciting and scary. We must have been exhilarated that we’d have the experience of living in a mortal body and proving our willingness to follow our Heavenly Father. But we might have felt a bit hesitant about leaving our Heavenly Parents and coming to earth where we wouldn’t remember anything from our premortal life.
Our older Brother Jesus supported Heavenly Father’s plan by offering to be our Savior– the one who would provide a way for us to overcome both physical and spiritual death through His own suffering. But our brother Lucifer? Well, he had a different plan. And that plan proves why commandments are actually an amazing blessing.
You see Satan proposed to “redeem all mankind, that one soul [would] not be lost.” (Moses 4:1) And how would he do that? We don’t know exactly, but there are two likely options: either he would deny all of God’s children their agency and turn us into perfectly law-abiding robots, or he would remove the law entirely so it wouldn’t be possible to be disobedient and get in trouble. Either way, our agency would be destroyed and our ability to willingly keep the commandments gone.
Now maybe you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like such a bad deal. EVERYONE would get to return to Heavenly Father? We would all be guaranteed a spot in the Celestial Kingdom? Sign me up, right?
Well not so fast.
It turns out Satan’s plan had a major drawback. Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained it this way, “Satan’s proposal would have ensured perfect equality: It would ‘redeem all mankind, that not one soul would be lost.’ . . . There would be no test, no failure, and no success. There would be no growth to attain the purpose the Father desired for His children. It is opposition that enables choice, and it is the opportunity of making the right choices that leads to the growth that is the purpose of the Father’s plan.”
Did you catch that? In order to receive the GREATEST blessing of living forever with and like our Heavenly Parents we have to have TWO things:
Without those two things, it is impossible to grow and learn enough to be worthy to live in our Father’s presence eternally.
Still not convinced? Well, let’s imagine that you have been accused of a horrible crime. You need a great lawyer because the evidence is stacked against you and if you lose your case you’ll likely spend the rest of your life in prison.
Unfortunately for you there is only one lawyer available: Mr. I. M. Lawless. When you ask Mr. Lawless about his credentials he says you have no reason to worry– he went to law school and graduated top of his class. You are incredibly relieved to hear this and ask, “Was it hard?” He replies, “Oh no. It was a breeze! There were no tests , no rules, and no grades. I slept through all my classes and never even studied. All I had to do was show up!”
How confident would you be in Mr. I. M. Lawless’ ability to win your case and set you free? Not at all!
While your lawyer might have gone through the motions of law school, without the “opposition” of rules, tests, and expectations, he coasted right through without learning a thing! Even though law school is incredibly hard, it’s hard for a reason: because each session of class, each submitted paper, each test, and each mock trial prepares the students to become wise, powerful, and prepared lawyers.
Well, in the same way, we won’t be prepared to live like God if we don’t have the opposition of commandments, mortal tests, and high expectations. Like law school, it might feel incredibly hard. But with each commandment we keep, each test we pass, each expectation we meet, we are becoming more and more spiritually wise, powerful, and prepared– just like our Heavenly Parents– and that is the whole point of the plan.
As Dallin H. Oaks said, “Commandments are a blessing. . . because our Father in heaven has given them to us in order to help us grow and develop the qualities we must have if we are to obtain eternal life and dwell with him.”
So the next time you feel frustrated or overwhelmed by any of God’s commandments, remember that this is just one more opportunity to grow into the powerful, wise, and amazing person your Heavenly Parents know you can be!