During the Sunday morning session of the conference, President Nelson taught about the gathering of Israel and how that is related to our willingness to let God be the most important influence in our lives.
“The only way to survive spiritually is to be determined to let God prevail in our lives, to learn to hear His voice and to use our energy to help gather Israel,” he said.
“With the help of two Hebrew scholars I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is “let God prevail. “ That the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concepts stirs my soul!
The world willing is crucial to this interpretation of Israel. We all have our agency. We can choose to be of Israel, or not. We can choose to let God prevail in our lives, or not. We can choose to let God be the most powerful influence in our lives, or not.” (President Russell M. Nelson)
While listening to President Nelson I thought of a talk given many years ago by another prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Ezra Taft Benson.
In 1988, President Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk titled, The Great Commandment—Love the Lord. In that talk, he said:
The great test of life is obedience to God. “We will prove them herewith,” said the Lord, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abr. 3:25).
The great task of life is to learn the will of the Lord and then do it.
The great commandment of life is to love the Lord.
“Come unto Christ,” exhorts Moroni in his closing testimony, “… and love God with all your might, mind and strength” (Moro. 10:32)…
To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord…
Why did God put the first commandment first? Because He knew that if we truly loved Him we would want to keep all of His other commandments. “For this is the love of God,” says John, “that we keep his commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3; see also 2 Jn. 1:6).
We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).
When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.”(President Ezra Taft Benson)
That talk had a great influence in my life, when I was a recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like the one given by President Nelson today is also having already a positive effect on me.
I find a connection between the principles taught in these two talks, because if we want to let “God prevail” surely we need to put God first in our lives, and in order to have a stronger desire and strength to do it, we need to increase our love for Him. It’s not always easy to actually put God first, and let Him prevail, but I believe that our capacity of doing it cannot ever be greater than our love for Him.