Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dale G. Renlund on the spiritual stability of obedience

Elder Dale G. Renlund (b. November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"Obedience to God’s laws preserves our freedom, flexibility, and ability to achieve our potential. The commandments are not intended to restrict us. Rather, obedience leads to increased spiritual stability and long-term happiness.
"Imagine fighting life’s crosscurrents and crosswinds without spiritual stability. There is a reason obedience is the first law of heaven. Obedience is our choice. The Savior made this clear. As stated in the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 14:28, Jesus directed, 'Wherefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.'
"It is that simple. Settle it. Decide now to be exactly obedient. As we do so, our spiritual stability will be greatly enhanced. We will avoid squandering God-given resources and making unproductive and destructive detours in our lives....
"We can look at each commandment separately and decide whether to obey or not, rationalize disobedience or not, or we can simply settle it in our hearts that we will do the things that the Lord teaches and commands. Nothing will increase spiritual stability more. Nothing will give us greater freedom to accomplish our life’s mission. 'Faithfulness and obedience' are not only 'the marks of true discipleship'; they are 'the requisites of true freedom.' (Frederic W. Farrar, The Life of Christ, 416; see also John 8:31–32.)"
- Dale G. Renlund, "Constructing Spiritual Stability," BYU Devotional, September 16, 2014
Click here to read the full talk

I'm not sure who first said, "Obedience is the first law of heaven." But it's a statement that rings true and feels right. It agrees with such other foundational statements as "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

And the concept of deciding, choosing, resolving to obey early so you don't have to remake that choice over and over has also been taught by others, including Spencer W. Kimball.

I appreciated the opening statement of this excerpt: "Obedience to God’s laws preserves our freedom, flexibility, and ability to achieve our potential." Rather than be restrictive and limiting, obedience is grandly enabling by providing "spiritual stability and long-term happiness." I have found that to be true as I've viewed many examples and counter-examples.

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