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Why God Gives Us Commandments

God has given us a lot of rules.  There’s the basic 10, of course, but there’s way more than just those 10 in the Bible.  Then you get to the New Testament, in which Christ taught we should love our neighbors as ourselves, which encompasses a whole host of commandments.

All these rules can seem a bit overwhelming.

Too often, commandments are taught or portrayed as being oppressive.  “If you do such-and-such, you will go to Hell!”  Commandments can seem pretty arbitrary.  It makes God sound like a fascist dictator or a power tripping older sibling.

But that’s absolutely not the case.  God gives us commandments because He loves us.  If we follow His commandments, we will be happy.

Parents often give their children rules.  The kids don’t always like or understand the reason behind the rules.  For example, parents teach their children to look both ways before crossing the street, to eat their vegetables, and to not stay out too late.  These rules, and many others like them, are to keep the children healthy and happy, and to teach them correct principles by which to live their lives.  These rules are given out of love and wisdom.

God, who knows all things and loves us unconditionally, gives us rules to follow, like any loving parent does.  He also has the advantage of being infallible, so we know His rules are always good ones.

Here are a few examples of how I have been blessed by following God’s rules:

  • I haven’t killed anyone, so I have the blessing of not being in jail.  (Okay, I was being flippant on that one.  Now I’m going to get serious.)
  • I try to honor my father and my mother, so I am blessed to have a warm, and loving relationship with them.  That relationship sustains me through hard times.
  • For being honest with others, I am blessed with being trusted by friends and family and those I work with.
  • I try (well, mostly) to act in a kind and loving way toward others.  When I’m successful, it results in strong friendships with loved ones and good working relationships with supervisors and coworkers.
  • When I read and study the scriptures, I am blessed with greater knowledge of the gospel and greater peace in my life.
  • When I pray, I receive God’s guidance for what I should do.
  • When I serve others, I learn to love them as God loves each of us.
  • Chastity is part of the strong foundation of my relationship with my husband.  We are able to love and trust one another completely and unreservedly.  So many relationships are undermined or outright destroyed because of infidelity and promiscuity.
  • By taking care of my body by eating wholesome foods and not partaking of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol, I am blessed with good health.  (Seriously.  Everyone who meets my parents think they are much younger than they really are.  It comes from clean living.)
  • Because I don’t drink coffee, (a Mormon commandment, part of what we call the Word of Wisdom), I don’t have a problem waking up in the mornings.  I am secretly amused by people who can’t function until they’ve had their first cup of coffee.  (Okay, that’s a little judgmental of me, but really I’m grateful for this commandment.)
  • When I refrain from coveting and always wanting more, I feel grateful for what I have.

There’s a lot more I could share, too, but I think you get the idea.

To people who don’t believe, commandments often appear as “you can’t do this” and “you can’t do that.”  A friend of mine recently shared with me her response to that kind of comment: “I can do whatever I want to do.  I choose not to do it.”

God isn’t forcing us to keep the commandments; we choose to follow them.  When we choose to keep the commandments, we are blessed with happiness.

How had God blessed you through your obedience?  Share in the comments below!

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1 Comment

  1. Miley Gee says:

    I don’t think there is any disagreement on this one (though I’d put the food and drink stuff down as a good idea rather than a commandment especially since 1 Corinthians lays out principles of freedom using meat as the example).

    One additional (and I feel most important) purpose of the Law (as described in Romans) is that the Law exists to show us that our ways are not naturally God’s ways and that we need (need) a savior. It is right and fitting that we should try our best to obey God in big and little things but it is just a fact no matter how hard we try we end up messing up a lot of the time.

    It is not for nothing that the OT Law has a lot of instructions if sacrifices to make if a person (or the people) fall into sin… Because God knew it would happen. This failure (though undesirable) is useful because it humbles us and teaches us to rely on Christ’s goodness instead of our own.

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