Tuesday, May 24, 2016

D&C 130:20-21 -- On Effort and Obedience

"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."
Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21

This is a good thing to remember.  Often in this life we want something for nothing.  We want our parents, or the government, or our employers, or our spouses to do more for us, and take care of us in a more luxurious way, while requiring minimal effort... preferably none. ;)  And we want the same thing from God.  I mean, why not just have someone drop a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk in front of us?  A new house or a new car or free LEGOs.  You know, whatever it takes. :)  He's all-powerful, right?

We forget sometimes that instead of being an IOU, a game, or an all-you-can-indulge cornucopia of plenty, this life is actually a school, or testing ground.  And we get out of it in direct relation to what we put into it... magnified by the Lord, of course, but it still requires effort to learn.  We can't sit back and learn everything by osmosis.  We have to actively engage, overcome roadblocks, search our hearts, develop relationships, and--kind of the point of these verses--learn to obey.  That doesn't mean that we're dogs, or that the Lord is teaching us to beg on command.  What it does mean is that many lessons and almost all success requires disciplined effort.  We don't just slouch into the Olympics, or wander into a PhD.

Obedience to God's laws is like practicing.  Over time, as we get better and better, we'll be able to do more amazing things, seemingly effortlessly, because of that investment over time.  Being able to think of scriptures and know the scripture story applicable to the situation doesn't just happen.  It's that reading and studying every day that gets us there, and helps us to know God's word.  As we pray each day, we slowly get to know God better, and that relationship becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, and we learn faith and hope and trust that we can rely on that spirit and relationship in times of need.

Today, let's remember that in order to receive blessings, we need to start putting some effort into our lives.  As we do better, and live better, God will magnify our efforts, and help us succeed.  But if we're just sitting there (literally or figuratively), it's pretty hard to magnify that into anything.  Let's commit to whatever good change in our lives that we've been thinking about.  Let's do something about it.  And let's turn to the Lord, to learn from, and to get assistance in our efforts.

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