What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Cross posted at Blogger of Jared.
photo credit: Munzerr
Love changes people.
My cousin returned home from his LDS mission to Portland, Oregon, on Friday. This cousin of mine was somewhat of a “lost” soul a few years ago—a “prodigal son” type of person. He was definitely wandering into dark paths and messing up his life.
And then he met a girl.
He fell in love with this girl—a good LDS girl who had expectations for who she would marry. Because he loved her, he wanted to live up to what she expected of him. He changed, repented, got rid of the evil influences in his life, and ended up preparing for a mission. You must understand that nobody saw this coming. This was as much of a 180 degree shift as can be possible.
While thinking about my cousin this morning, I had a spiritual epiphany. This same pattern applies to us and the Lord.
If we truly love Jesus Christ, we obey Him. We do what He has asked of us, because of that love we feel. He himself has instructed us:
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15, see also verses 21 and 23.)
Those who do not keep the commandments do not love God. They are those of whom the Lord spoke when he said:
Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isaiah 29:13)
We as the Church are Christ’s bride. Just as a loving spouse is faithful to her husband, so too we should be faithful to Christ if we truly love him. Stephen Robinson explains this:
In the Old Testament, the words for faith, faithful, and faithfulness all come from the Hebrew ‘aman (to be firm or reliable) and imply primarily qualities of loyalty and determination rather than qualities of belief …Thus being faithful does not have as much to do with our belief or even our activity in the Church as it does with whether we can be trusted to do our duty in the earthly kingdom of God. (Following Christ, p. 24)
If we have faith in and are faithful to Christ, we are loyal to Him and He trusts us. If we love Him, we keep the commandments He has given us. We change our lives to conform to His will, thus living up to the expectations that have been set.
The power of love is the power of the Atonement. It changes lives like no other program or philosophy can. The first and great (and all-encompassing) commandment is to love God. Contained within that simple commandment is the inherent understanding that all other commandments will be obeyed, because if we truly love the Lord, we will obey and comply with anything He asks us.
I guess Huey put it best:
They say that all in love is fair
Yeah, but you dont care
But you know what to do
When it gets hold of you
And with a little help from above
You feel the power of love