The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

By , on June 27, 2017

Bednar, Enabling Power

Brothers and sisters, for the past few minutes I have attempted to differentiate between obedience that is predominately complying and conforming in nature and a higher level of obedience that includes spiritual submission and enables us to receive “commandments not a few.” Obedience that is primarily complying and conforming is good and is truly obedience. But the higher level of obedience I am trying to describe—an obedience that stretches beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law—is both heartfelt and willing. And it brings an individualized gospel insight and a perspective and a power and a state of happiness that are precious beyond measure. As we read in section 64 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 34:

Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days (emphasis added).

Progressing from the level of complying obedience to the level and happiness associated with heartfelt and willing obedience does not occur quickly or all at once. Nor is it merely a matter of greater personal discipline; it is a change of disposition, a change of heart. And this gradual change of heart is one that the Lord accomplishes within us, through the power of his Spirit, in a line-upon-line fashion. For example, in Philippians 2:12, Paul encourages the Saints to “. . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But how are we to do that? Note the answer that follows in verse 13: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” That is, we give ourselves to the Lord and choose to be changed. He is working on us and in us.

Brothers and sisters, it is vitally important for all of us to remember that progressing to higher and more spiritually demanding levels of obedience is not simply a matter of more personal determination, more grit, and more willpower; rather, it is accomplished through the enabling power of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, true and lasting happiness is a function of progressing to and through “letter of the law” obedience to public and institutional commandments and toward the spirit of devoted discipleship and a private, personal, and individual change of heart.

Elder David A. Bednar

In a State of Happiness (Mormon 7:7)” Elder Bednar was President of Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional when he gave this address on January 6, 2004

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