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KEEPING the commandments
By derek
12/6/2006 7:52:00 AM
Alma 37:35 — O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
I remember dutifully memorizing this verse during high school seminary as part of scripture mastery. Unfortunately, like so many other things with the gospel, I didn't truly learn it. Maybe I understood this verse as "learn in thy youth ABOUT the commandments of God". Because I had lots of knowledge about doctrine and commandments. And much of it I learned while in my youth. However, I never learned to KEEP the commandments. How sad. Like most of us, those youth years were where my addiction really took hold on me, though I didn't realize it at the time. Perhaps if I'd made even 2 or 3 decisions differently in my youth, it would have made an enormous difference down the road. I think of the metaphor of a compass and how being a degree off course when you start out doesn't really make that big a difference. You're still BASICALLY going the right way. But 20 years later that 1 degree has put you thousands of miles off course (this metaphor was yet another thing that I "knew" when I was a youth, but obviously didn't LEARN). Oh, how I wish I had learned in my youth to keep the commandments of God!

Something else that just occurred to me as I was writing was the significance of the term "KEEP the commandments". Keep means to make something yours, retain ownership of it. So keeping the commandments means that I make them MINE,or they become PART of me. It's a little like a funny interchange between Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston on a movie (I think it was "The Breakup" or something like that? I didn't see it, this interchange comes from the previews) where he grudgingly says "OK, I'll help do the dishes". She replies "I want you to WANT to help do the dishes" and he replies "Why would I WANT to do the dishes?" Not to compare keeping the commandments and the wonderful blessings that come from it to doing dishes, but really that's what keeping the commandments is like for our "natural" man sometimes. "Why would I WANT to keep the commandments? It's too hard!" KEEPING the commandments, though, means they become MINE, that I do them because I want to. Keeping the commandments means making HIS standards MY standards, HIS will MY will.

Comments:

keepsakes    
"Our Stake President has a whole philosophy about "keeping the commandments". There are hundreds of commandments to keep. We need to keep as many as we can. Kind of like what Derek said the word "keep" is very important. Our Stake President talked about the game of marbles and playing for keeps. - (oh I am not good at relaying stories at all) but basically we need the commandments to be something we keep sacred and close to our hearts. "keeping the commandment so they become like special keepsakes handed down to us from generations.

I think of the hymn "Keep the Commandments"
Keep the commandments in this there is safety, in this there is peace. He will send blessings. He will send blessings.

How true those words are!"
posted at 09:21:56 on December 6, 2006 by julieann


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"Jesus rejected temptation. When confronted by the great tempter himself, Jesus "[yielded] not to the temptation‚ÄĚ. He countered with scripture. Gospel commandments and standards are our protection also, and like the Savior, we may draw strength from the scriptures to resist temptation."

— D. Todd Christofferson

General Conference October 2006