Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. He spoke on the two great commandments and the significance of their order.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt 22:37–39).
Following the correct order of the Savior’s commandments helps us focus on God — the purest, most perfect source of love. This focus, in turn, allows us to draw from His divine love as we respect, serve and love others, Elder Christofferson taught.
Though it is listed second, the altruistic instruction to love your neighbor after loving God does not diminish its importance.
“To the contrary, it amplifies and strengthens it. It means that we enhance our love by anchoring it in divine purpose and power. … Our love of God elevates our ability to love others more fully and perfectly because we, in essence, partner with God in the care of His children,” Elder Christofferson said.
Christ’s example also provides us with instructions on how to love God and serve others, he explained.
“In Christ then we find our pattern: loyalty to God above all else and above everyone else; a consciousness of our accountability to Him, at all times and in all things; and a yearning desire to know and do His will. Here is our guide in making decisions.”
Elder Christofferson also offered several examples of how we can put the first commandment first in our lives.
1. Keep God’s other commandments Obedience is a demonstration of respect, trust and love, Elder Chrisofferson taught. Instead of looking for loopholes or excuses to apply to the commandments, we should ask ourselves how much it it means to us to show God we are willing to do what we promised Him.
“What sign will I give to God regarding my love for Him? What does it mean to keep His commandments and covenants with exactness and honor?”
2. Feed the Lord’s sheep Through Peter’s example, we learn that if we love God, we will feed His sheep. Elder Christofferson defined “feeding” as providing for the temporal needs of others or offering them spiritual nourishment through missionary work.
“Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son are pleased with your individual kindnesses, however limited or insignificant they may seem in a vast world of need. Every act and every offering matters.”
3. Feast upon God's words When we love God, we want constant communication with Him — and that can be supplied through prayer and scripture study, which produce spiritual revelation.
“I know He is no respecter of persons and that He will give both you and me all that we will prepare ourselves to receive. Love God so thoroughly that you will pursue constant communication with Him by the means He has ordained.”
4. Be accountable to God Accountability to God can be intimidating. We know His knowledge of our flaws is perfect; we don’t want to feel overwhelmed by guilt or criticism. But accountability before God should not hold such a painful connotation, insisted Elder Christofferson, instead emphasizing the joy that comes from having a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
“This is not a burdensome, weigh-you-down kind of accountability. Rather it is the acknowledgment of a wise, interested and caring Father who knows the path to fulfillment and ultimate joy. It is a recognition that He has provided an opportunity for us that we are incapable of creating for ourselves, and one that we cannot achieve without His help.”
Next forum Amy Chua, professor at Yale Law School, will deliver the next forum address on Tuesday, March 29, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
Her remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143. Video, text and audio are archived on speeches.byu.edu.