Lesson 14: Obedience to God

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 48–51


Objective

Each young man will understand that we obey the Lord because we love him and that obedience brings us happiness and freedom.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    You may wish to assign the four case studies in the lesson to different young men. Have each assigned person relate his case study and lead the discussion.

Note

Explain that we live in a world where obedience to God is often mocked. However, Latter-day Saints understand that only as we learn God’s laws and obey them can we achieve true happiness and freedom. Although we may obey out of respect or a sense of duty, we should obey the Lord because we love him. The more we love our Father in Heaven, the more we will follow his counsel and example. As the adviser, your role is one of reassuring the young men that only by obedience to the great laws of God can they receive the happiness they seek.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Story and discussion

Read or relate the following story:

Lawrence sat fishing on the banks of the river near the family farm. It had been a good day. He thought about the past three years since his family had moved to the farm. He loved the peaceful surroundings, the good times with his family, and the animals. And most of the time he even enjoyed the hard work.

This afternoon he was especially excited. His father, who had gone to the city for several days, would be returning. Suddenly he stood up. He had almost forgotten—his father had asked him to repair the old shed for a new calf he would be bringing home. As quickly as he could, Lawrence raced for home. Two hours later he sat down wearily. He had finished what his father had asked him to do. Now he could relax.

  • Why do you think Lawrence immediately stopped fishing to complete the assignment given him by his father?

  • How would Lawrence’s past experiences with his father determine the reason for his wanting to complete the assignment?

We Should Obey the Lord Because We Love Him

Chalkboard and discussion

Write the following words on the chalkboard: Duty makes us do things; love makes us do them well.

  • Why does a person’s obedience depend on his love?

  • When have you obeyed out of duty or fear?

  • When have you obeyed out of love?

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read John 14:15. Discuss its meaning. Suggest that each young man mark this verse.

  • How sincere are those people who claim to love the Lord but make little effort to obey his commandments?

Scripture case studies

Explain that there are many examples in the scriptures of people who obeyed the Lord because they loved him. If you previously made the assignments, have the young men present the following case studies; otherwise present them yourself.

Case study 1

The prophet Elijah’s life had been threatened by Queen Jezebel. The Lord told Elijah to hide himself by the brook Chereth. The scriptures record a simple, beautiful truth: “So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 17:5). Suggest that the young men mark this phrase in their scriptures. Write on the chalkboard Elijah—went and did. Explain that Elijah did not argue; he gave no excuses; he simply “went and did.”

Case study 2

Lehi, a prophet and a father, gave his sons instructions as revealed by the Lord. Laman and Lemuel argued and refused, responding that it was a hard thing they were asked to do (see 1 Nephi 3:5). Nephi, wanting to know his Father in Heaven and having great love for both Heavenly Father and his earthly father, responded, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Nephi 3:7). Suggest that the young men mark this phrase in their scriptures. Write on the chalkboard Nephi—I will go and do.

Case study 3

Young Joseph Smith had spent the night listening to the angel Moroni. The next morning, weak from the night’s experience, Joseph was commanded to go back and tell his father about his experiences. Listen to young Joseph’s words: “I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him” (Joseph Smith—History 1:50). Suggest that the young men mark this scripture, then write on the chalkboard Joseph Smith—obeyed.

Case study 4

When Jesus Christ suffered agony in the Garden of Gethsemane for the sins of all mankind, he prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Suggest that the young men mark this verse, then write on the chalkboard Jesus—as thou (Heavenly Father) wilt.

Testimony

Testify that if we love our Heavenly Father we will want to obey him. If we find it hard to obey, we should strengthen our love for the Lord.

  • How can you strengthen your love for Heavenly Father?

Obedience Brings Freedom and Happiness

Hymn, scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

Have a young man read the first verse of the hymn “Know This, That Every Soul Is Free” (Hymns, no. 240).

  • What does it mean when it says “that God will force no man to heaven”?

Have the young men read John 8:31.

  • How can you “continue in” the Savior’s word?

  • What can you do to become a disciple?

Have the young men read John 8:32.

  • What effect will truth have on us if we ignore it and do not put it into practice in our lives?

Write the following words on the chalkboard:

The truth can make us free from—

The truth can make us free to—

Have the young men list as many things as they can under each of the statements. Some examples are—

Free from sin.

Free from guilt.

Free from confusion.

Free from worry.

Free from doubt.

Free from ignorance.

Free to make intelligent choices.

Free to be advanced in the priesthood.

Free to go on a mission.

Free to marry in the temple.

Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.

  • What are the results of obedience? (Blessings.)

Chalkboard illustration

Put the following illustration on the chalkboard:

obedience cycle
  • When we receive blessings and are made happy, why do we then have an even greater desire to be obedient?

  • What happens as our obedience increases? (Our blessings increase.)

  • How do we feel as we receive more blessings?

Add the following words to the chalkboard illustration as follows:

obedience cycle increased
  • With what attitude should we obey?

Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 58:29.

  • What reward does Heavenly Father give to those who keep the commandments with doubtful hearts?

Conclusion

Quotation

Read the following statement: “Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest. It consists in compliance with divine law, in conformity to the mind and will of [God]” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 539).

Testimony and challenge

Testify that every commandment, if obeyed, brings long-lasting happiness. Ask each young man to identify one commandment he finds difficult to obey because he does not fully understand it. Challenge each young man to obey that commandment fully for one month as he prays and studies for an understanding and conviction of it.