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Elder Christofferson: Five Ways to Love God

The Apostle teaches why the first commandment is first

The two great commandments outlined by Jesus are that we love God and love our neighbor — in that order.

In a Brigham Young University devotional address on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught why that order matters. And he listed five ways to keep the first commandment.

Elder Christofferson said the first commandment is first because it is foundational for the spiritual life, it checks against our tendency to corrupt virtues and it helps us avoid harming those we try to help.

“The first and great commandment provides the true paradigm for life,” Elder Christofferson said.

How do we put God first? The Apostle offered five possibilities.

1. Keep God’s Commandments. “As the Savior said it, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments,’” Elder Christofferson said. “Jesus was fixed upon keeping each and all of His Father’s commandments and showed us what obedience to God means in real life.” This includes keeping the second great commandment to love our neighbor, he added.

2. Serve Others. “I am confident that 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,” the Church leader said. “Every act and every offering matters. I am also confident that They are pleased with what we are doing collectively as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in association with others. As but one example, the aid to alleviate suffering arising in the current war targeting Ukraine is truly Christlike. We consistently try to focus on the need at hand and not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing, but I hope that as a Church we can provide more comprehensive accounts going forward so that you will know more about what you are doing as part of the body of Christ to feed His sheep.”

3. Share the Gospel Through Missionary Service. “Keeping the first commandment also means promoting the Lord’s cause in the earth, helping bring to pass the eternal life of our Father’s children,” Elder Christofferson told students. “I can think of no better example than the missionary service that many of you have given or will yet render.”

4. Pray and Study Scripture. “We want to know and do what [God] wants. We want to know what He knows. We want to learn all that He will teach us as His disciples. We want personal revelation,” Elder Christofferson said. “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.”

5. Live With a Sense of Accountability to God. This means “resisting and overcoming temptation, repenting and forgiving, combating selfishness, taking upon us the name of Christ and developing the character of Christ,” he said. “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.”

God commands us to love Him, Elder Christofferson concluded, because “of what He knows it will do for us. He commands us to love one another for the same reason. Love of God transforms us. Love of God transforms our love for each other. This love is requisite for our coming to know Him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. It is the key to our becoming like Him.”

Watch Elder Christofferson’s devotional address on demand at BYUtv.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says goodbye after speaking at a BYU devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.Photo Courtesy of BYU
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