Obey and Be Happy!

Well, I have to admit, I haven’t been compltely focused lately. In about two weeks I’ll be flying back home, back to my family and friends, back to work, back to “normal” life. Naturally, this fact consumes much of my thought process. As a result, I haven’t been super diligent with my blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a missionary. It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life so far, and it will probably be forever the most unique thing I’ll do with my life. I’m sad to see it slipping away, but I’m excited to see my post-mission life fast approaching.

I wanted to make a post for today. It didn’t matter if it was profound and detailed… or not. I just want to say something about the gospel. So… this is what came to mind. I truly feel that it is inspired. The message is simple: happiness. It’s a fun word that holds a lot of meaning, and can be subjected to many different interpretations. Here’s a great verse from the Book of Mormon on happiness. It’s from a sermon given by a wise King Benjamin. Notice what this man says is the key to happiness.

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Mosiah 2:41)

I absolutely love this verse. It’s so straight forward. It’s just awesome. What does King Benjamin say is the key to happiness? Keeping the commandments of God. This is so simple, yet so often we forget it. From first-hand experience, and from the experiences of others, I know this to be a true principle. Through the phases of my own life, I can look back and see that the happiest times were when I was in closest communion with my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ, and when I could most strongly feel the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Now, this is easier said than done. I know that. Obedience, like happiness, is a big word that means a lot. This post isn’t meant to be about obedience though, so you can look back through my earlier posts, or study on your own, to find out what obedience means. What I’m simply trying to say is that… if you’re missing something in life… if you feel like happiness and joy are always just out of reach… look at yourself, examine yourself, and ask yourself if you’re living in a way that is truly in harmony with God. If not, find ways to change.

I promise that as you seek for obedience to God’s commandments, happiness will come. You will feel the love of your Father in Heaven, the love of your Savior, and the influence of the Spirit more strongly in your life. We are God’s children, and we instinctively feel after His love and His approval. It’s built within us. To disobey God is to go against what we were divinely designed to do. So seek God, and seek happiness. That’s it. It’s that simple.

 

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You Are Free

Free agency. It’s a phrase that most do not hear or read about and many do not understand. Yet it’s one of, if not the most important gift that God has given us. It is our freedom to choose, to act and not be acted upon. So when something goes wrong… and we get ticked off… who is to blame?

We can only blame ourselves, because we’ve been given the ability to choose how we feel and act. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi tells us this about agency,

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

We are free to choose. We can choose happiness or misery, life or death, God or Satan. Satan wants us to be miserable and unhappy just like he is. God and Jesus Christ want us to be filled with joy, just as They have. And God has given us the ability to decide what we want.

So choose to be happy! There is nothing stopping us from being positive except ourselves. God has given us everything we need to see the good from the evil, as daylight is contrasted against the night. Remember that you can choose to be miserable… or you can choose to be happy. Remember that you are free.

Happiness and the Fall

There is a lot of misconception about the Fall of Adam and Eve. Many are under the impression that it was a mistake. That it wasn’t supposed to happen. That life would be better if it never happened. Well, I’m here to tell you that such ideas aren’t correct. The Fall was in fact part of God’s plan, and because of it we can be happy. Allow me to explain. I’ll start off with some verses from the Book of Mormon. The prophet Nephi explained the necessity of the Fall as such,

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. (2 Nephi 2:22)

If Adam and Eve had not eaten the fruit they would’ve remained in the Garden of Eden. Nothing would have changed. Makes sense, right? Nephi continues…

And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:23-25)

Adam and Eve’s state in the Garden was that of pure innocence. They did not know what evil was. But because of this, they could not progress. If we don’t know bitter we cannot enjoy sweet. If we know no sin we cannot know goodness. There must be opposition in all things, and in order for mankind to progress, opposition had to be introduced, and therefore the Fall was needed.

With the Fall came sickness, death, and sin. But because of this we can enjoy health, life, and righteousness. Because of the misery we can know the joy. I know that the Fall was part of God’s plan for us. Adam and Eve fell that we might be happy and progress to everlasting life with God and our families.

The Story of Our Salvation

In this life, each of us has a role to fulfill. We were sent here on Earth to gain a physical body, be tested, and eventually return to live with our Heavenly Father, with our families, through reliance upon the Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. Our individual roles all play a part in God’s eternal plan, the Plan of Salvation.

These roles in our lives are a lot like characters’ roles in a story. Let’s take one of my favorite movies as an example, Lady in the Water. This movie is about a handyman at an apartment complex, Cleveland, who finds a water nymph, Story, in the courtyard pool. Story came from the “blue world” to deliver a message to a writer in the apartments. After she completes her mission, she needs to return home, back to the blue world. In order for this to happen, there need to be certain people present, each with a specific role. Cleveland does his best to find the people to fulfill the roles, all of which live within the apartment building.

Coming here to Earth, we each have duties to perform. There are tasks that only you can do, and people that only you can affect. Thankfully, God did not send us here blind. Through His love, he has given us prophets and apostles and His word through the scriptures. In this way, we can learn who we are and what our role is in life.

In the end of the movie, the roles are fulfilled and Story is able to return home. When we fulfill our roles, we are helping each other to return home to God.

We are here for a reason! To learn more about where you came from, why you’re here, and where you’re going, click on the link in the first paragraph.

We Had A Hard Time

I’m going to be a little lazy today and just post a video. 🙂 It’s a good one though. If you’re unfamiliar with these videos, I strongly encourage you to visit the MormonMessages channel on youtube and watch some of the videos. This is one of my favorites.

Just as Elder Cook says, this life isn’t always easy. More often than not, it’s pretty difficult. But it’s supposed to be. It’s a test after all, so why should it be a free ride? This is why we have the Savior Jesus Christ. In every situation, He suffered the greater burden. Our sins, sorrows, and pains have been placed on His shoulders. All He asks is that we do our best to carry what we can, and He’ll carry the rest.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I’m grateful to know that through Him my burdens can be made light. I’m grateful to know that through every trial I face, there is One who understands the feeling completely.

I know that I can do a better job of putting the Savior first in my life. I invite you to do the same. Take His yoke upon you, learn of Him, and share His love with others. We will find peace. We will find comfort. We will find rest.

Happiness

My mind feels a bit fuzzy at the moment. I must honestly admit that I cannot think of anything clever, or terribly thought-provoking. Perhaps this just means that something simple and plain is more in order. Thankfully, my thoughts were drawn to the words of a very well-spoken man known in the Book of Mormon as King Benjamin.

Mosiah chapter 2

41  And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

I have witnessed this truth countless times in my life. Those that keep the commandments of God are truly blessed. Oftentimes, however, this verse is misconstrued. Obeying the commandments does not result in a perfect, pain-free life. It does not mean that everything will work out just how we want. Life is full of sadness, pain, and trials. They are to be expected.

But obeying the commandments will always bring us happiness and true joy. When we are in line with God’s will, our souls can rest and know that He loves us and is watching over us. We will receive the strength we require for our obstacles. We will be granted comfort by the Spirit to deal with the problems that aren’t solved in the way we had hoped. In this way are we blessed both temporally and spiritually.

Doctrine and Covenants section 130

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21  And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

When we obey, God will bless us. I know that through obedience to God’s commandments we can experience true joy that cannot be trampled by the world. It is only when I know I am following God’s will that I receive a peace unlike any other, and it is when I am only thinking of myself and my own desires over God’s that I am buried with grief and remorse.

If you have taken of your time to read this, I testify to you that obedience to God’s commandments brings blessings. It brings strength. It brings peace and comfort. It brings happiness, happiness that can last for eternity.