01 May 2014

"Awaken You to a Sense of Your Duty to God," Alma 7:22-27

Alma 7:22-27

This is a powerful conclusion to a discourse given to a righteous people. In verse 22, Alma expresses his desire for the people is that "ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received." This is a fascinating observation and desire, that one may walk blameless before God. With such desires, we see that we are not set up to fail, but to succeed.

Verses 23 and 24 contain the outline of discipleship:
  • Humility
  • Submissiveness
  • Gentle
  • Easily entreated
  • Patient
  • Long-suffering
  • Temperate 
  • Diligent in obedience to God's commandments
  • Praying for all needs both temporal and spiritual
  • Always giving thanks
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Charity
Each of these topics is worthy of extended personal study, so that I might better understand and cultivate these principles in my life.

The final three verses of this chapter seem to be about as close to "happily ever after" as you might find in the scriptures. Alma is hopeful that they will remain spotless before God, he observes that they do give diligent head to the Word of God, and he blesses them that the peace of God may rest upon them forever. And yet this isn't the end of a story, but rather simply a progress report. The story never really ends.

What we get then from this momentary snap shot is a reality that the higher realms and loftier aspirations of discipleship can in fact be realized. This is so true! We need not spend our lives waiting vainly for the days when things will get better, when those better days are ours to be had here and now if we choose to act upon them. The account of the people of Gideon is evidence of that. They hadn't waited for the prophet to come -- they were already in the pathway of discipleship, so their lot was improved upon, reinforced, and strengthened because they were already where they were suppose to be.

Here's the thing, it's not that life stops happening when we get to this point of grace perfected (if we could call it that?). It's not that people stop dying and babies stop being born, challenges cease to be challenging, and life becomes as smooth as a placid lake. Life becomes richly meaningful. Nothing happens without purpose. The plan of God is expedited in profound ways.

All this given us then, Alma's call to "awaken to our duty to God" suggest to me the need to return in gratitude for all that God has already given us.

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Addendum: As I went back and did a search for the phrase "Duty to God" on lds.org, of course I was brought to several talks that address the "Duty to God" program for young men, but the talks also discussed principles related to the topic of our responsibility to God. I am writing as a parent of youth, and am coming to realize that it is part of my duty to teach my children their duty to God. Ironic as it may be, if we want to keep our children on the covenant path, then they must understand the duty and obligation that is theirs as members of the Church of Christ.

Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation
Fulfilling Our Duty to God