Visiting Teaching Message January 2015: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Obedient Son

Guest post by Hope
This is Hope’s first guest post at the Exponent. She is an Alaskan girl who loves the adventure of living in New England. In her spare time, she likes to go on adventures, eat good food, and read good books. She is currently on a quest to organize her whole apartment before her next semester begins.

 


The formal Visiting Teaching Message for January 2015 can be found here.

 

“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” (Moses 5:6)Praying woman handsI have always loved this story. It is simple in the way I wish obedience really were. A few years ago, I realized that in the depths of this highly independent, warrior-feminist heart, lived a very obedient soul. I was even more surprised to find that I didn’t know what that meant.We talk about obedience as the first law of heaven. Our scriptures are littered with examples of staunch, unwavering, seemingly senseless obedience. We pose impossible situations to ourselves and one another, routinely testing the theoretical limits of our own convictions. Would I, like Abraham, sacrifice my son? Would I share my husband? Would I build a boat? Would I kill Laban?

 
As with most things at church that make me uncomfortable, I find that there just isn’t enough Jesus in this conversation.

 

Jesus was a perfectly obedient son. He did everything that his Father in Heaven asked him to do. That courtesy did not extend to any other person, organization, or association; it belonged to God alone.

 

Jesus was not one to let tradition or social order dictate how he spent his days or conducted his life. He picked grain on the sabbath, cracked his whip at people in the temple, talked to Samaritans, healed Romans, ran away from home, was friendly with women and tax collectors, and referred to the most respected members of his community as “children of hell”. He defended the woman taken in adultery, healed the sick, raised the dead, preached the gospel, organized the church, and atoned for the sins of the world.

 

Surely Jesus was not commanded in every circumstance. His obedience is evidenced by the things he did which were hard, and which were necessary.

 

Obedience, then, is a very simple thing. It is the act of responding to light or darkness with both wisdom and faith. God provides the wisdom, we provide the faith.

 

When the earth was being created, God said, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God should command them.” (Abraham 3:25) Obedience is neither the purpose nor the test of our lives – it is the indicator that we have learned and grown as we needed to. It is the evidence of our knowledge and faith, of light we have received. It is proof of the condition of our hearts.

 

 

Message de Janvier 2015 : Les qualités de Jésus-Christ : Un fils obéissant

« Et après de nombreux jours, un ange du Seigneur apparut à Adam, et lui dit: Pourquoi offres-tu des sacrifices au Seigneur? Et Adam lui dit: Je ne le sais, si ce n’est que le Seigneur me l’a commandé. » (Moïse 5 :6)

J’ai toujours aimé cette histoire pour sa simplicité. J’aimerais que l’obéissance soit toujours aussi simple.

Il y a quelques années, je me suis rendue compte que dans les profondeurs de ce cœur indépendante et féministe vivait une âme très obéissante. J’étais très surprise que finalement je ne savais pas ce que cela voulait dire.

Nous disons que l’obéissance est la première loi des cieux. Nos Ecritures sont remplies d’exemples d’obéissance si automatique qu’elle semble aveugle et insensée. Nous nous posons des questions impossibles pour tester les limites de nos convictions : Pourrais-je sacrifier mon fils comme Abraham ? Pourrais-je partager mon mari ? Pourrais-je constuire un bateau ? Pourrais-je tuer Laban?

Comme la plupart des choses qui me rendent mal à l’aise à l’Eglise, je trouve qu’il n’y a pas assez de Jésus dans cette conversation.

Jésus était un fils parfaitement obéissant. Il a fait tout ce que son Père Céleste lui a demandé de faire. Ceci ne s’appliquait pas à toute autre personne, organisation ou association, son obéissance était à Dieu seul..

Jésus ne laissait pas la tradition ou l’ordre social dicter comment il passait ses journées ou la direction que prenait sa vie. Il ramassait du maïs le jour du Sabbat, il a levé son fouet dans le temple, il a parlé aux Samaritains, il a guéri des Romains, il a côtoyé des femmes et a appelé les personnes les plus respectées de sa communauté des « enfants d’enfer. » Il a défendu la femmes prise en adultère, a guéri le malade, prêchait l’Evangile, a organisé l’Eglise, a racheté les péchés du monde.

Jésus n’avait pas besoin d’être commandé en toute circonstance. Son obéissance était évidente par les choses difficiles qu’il a faites.

L’obéissance est donc très simple : l’acte de répondre à la lumière ou à l’obscurité avec de la sagesse et la foi. Dieu nous donne la sagesse, et nous faisons preuve de foi.

Lors de la création de la Terre, Dieu a dit, « Nous les mettrons ainsi à l’épreuve, pour voir s’ils feront tout ce que le Seigneur, leur Dieu, leur commandera. » (Abraham 3:25) L’obéissance n’est ni le but ni le test de notre vie; elle indique que nous avons appris et grandi de la façon dont nous avions besoin. Elle est le résultat de notre connaissance et de notre foi, et de la lumière que nous avons reçue. Elle est la preuve de la condition de notre cœur.

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8 Responses

  1. Spunky says:

    This is lovely, Hope!

    I agree with you that so much of Christ’s life and teachings are overlooked or absent from church materials. I personally think obedience to all things *is* hard– if I did all of the Mormon things I am “supposed” to do, I wouldn’t sleep or eat or bathe based on the never-ending list of to-do items. I think that is where Christ set such a good example– if nothing else, He prioritized what was right and did that first, even when it meant breaking the law of the sabbath (perform no miracles) and arriving late (wasn’t “on time” to save Lazarus before Lazarus died- but that still all worked out and for the better, because then we learn that it is righteous to mourn).

    Thank you so much for this imperative reminder that we need more Jesus. This is the perfect thought for me to start the New Year!

  2. Caroline says:

    Hope, thank you so much for your thoughts on this topic. I’m excited to have you post on Exponent! I hope you post again.

    I personally have a tortured relationship to the concept of obedience. I dislike it when it is applied to obeying people (husbands, church leaders, prophets, etc.), but I like it when it applied to obeying godly principles (love, compassion, mercy, etc.) Perhaps the difference is that there is so much more room for creativity and personal insight and one’s own connection to God when we are obeying godly principles, in comparison to when we are obeying the dictates of men who are situated in particular times and places. This puts me in an uncomfortable position as a Mormon, as you might guess, given our common emphasis on obeying church leaders.

  3. Jenny says:

    Great message! I love this definition of obedience: “Obedience, then, is a very simple thing. It is the act of responding to light or darkness with both wisdom and faith. God provides the wisdom, we provide the faith.” I love your emphasis on Jesus’ example. too. We talk in Mormonism about following Jesus’ example, but in teaching blind obedience to our leaders and superiors, we don’t follow His example. The rebuttal I always hear to that is that Jesus had authority and we don’t. But I think Jesus was teaching us that the authority is within each of us. The authority to do what you described here, to discover God’s wisdom and to have faith in that.

  4. EmilyCC says:

    Beautiful, Hope! I have been thinking a lot about obedience lately. I, too, feel like a feminist warrior with an obedient heart. Thank you for giving me more to think about. I hope you will write more for The Exponent soon.

  5. Chris says:

    Thank you, Hope, for such an insightful post. It is the perfect thought to share with the women on my route. I especially love the last paragraph…..and the last sentence “It is proof of the condition of our hearts.” I hope to read more from you in the future.

  6. Hope says:

    Thank you, ladies, for your encouragement and thoughtful responses 🙂 I look forward to posting again.

  7. ChrisS says:

    I was hoping, Hope, that you would comment for the February message as well. You are my favorite cheat for sharing VT messages.

  1. July 3, 2015

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