Following Jesus Christ’s example of obedience increases our faith in Him. “Is it any wonder,” said Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “that Christ chooses first and foremost to define himself in relation to his father—that he loved him and obeyed him and submitted to him like the loyal son he was? … Obedience is the first law of heaven.”1
The scriptures teach “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:21). Our spiritual growth takes place as we draw close to God through obedience and invite the power of the Savior’s Atonement into our lives.
Supplement: Read the following excerpt from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk "Obedience through Our Faithfulness" from the April 2014 general conference.
One day I asked my grandfather how I would know if I was always doing the right thing, given that life presents so many choices. As my grandfather usually did, he answered me with an experience from farm life.
He taught me about breaking in a team of horses so that they would work together. He explained that a team of horses must always know who is in charge. One of the keys to asserting control and directing a horse is a harness and bit. If a member of the team ever believes that it does not need to obey the will of the driver, the team will never pull and work together to maximize their ability . . .
What was my grandfather likening to a harness and bit? I believed then, as I believe now, that my grandfather was teaching me to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In his mind’s eye, the harness and bit were spiritual. An obedient horse which is part of a well-trained team of horses needs little more than a gentle tug from the driver to do exactly what he wants it to do. This gentle tug is equivalent to the still, small voice with which the Lord speaks to us. Out of respect for our agency, it is never a strong, forceful tug.
Men and women who ignore the gentle promptings of the Spirit will often learn, as the prodigal son learned, through the natural consequences of disobedience and riotous living. It was only after natural consequences humbled the prodigal son that “he came to himself” and heard the whisperings of the Spirit telling him to return to his father’s house (see Luke 15:11–32).
So the lesson my grandfather taught me was always to be ready to receive the gentle tug of the Spirit. He taught me that I would always receive such a prompting if I ever veered off course. And I would never be guilty of more serious wrongdoings if I allowed the Spirit to guide me in my decisions.
As James 3:3 states, “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.”
We must be sensitive to our spiritual bits. Even with the slightest tug from the Master, we must be willing to completely alter our course. To succeed in life, we must teach our spirit and body to work together in obedience to God’s commandments. If we heed the gentle promptings of the Holy Ghost, it can unite our spirits and bodies in a purpose that will guide us back to our eternal home to live with our eternal Father in Heaven.