Wisdom to Obey
June 1997

“Wisdom to Obey,” Ensign, June 1997, 70

The Visiting Teacher:

Wisdom to Obey

“To some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom” (D&C 46:17).

As a young boy, the Savior “grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).

Like the Savior, we too can grow in wisdom as we use good judgment in our daily experiences. Faithful obedience to gospel principles will help us obtain the gift of wisdom and maintain it throughout our lives.

Obedience Is the Beginning of Wisdom

Wisdom consists of knowing our Heavenly Father’s commandments and living them. Knowing this, Alma counseled his son Helaman to obtain wisdom: “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God” (Alma 37:35). Gaining wisdom in all things is a lifelong process.

As we continually strive to obey the commandments given to us, we are promised that we will increase in wisdom “line upon line, precept upon precept, … for unto him that receiveth I will give more” (2 Ne. 28:30).

One family gained wisdom as they obeyed the counsel of President Ezra Taft Benson to study the Book of Mormon. Because the parents had four young children, at first they were able to read only one column in the Book of Mormon each day. At that pace, it took them six months to read 1 Nephi. However, five years later, the family members sat outside the Alberta Temple and read the last chapter of the book as they waited for the rededication of the temple to begin. Through their slow but continual study of the scriptures they had increased their knowledge of the commandments as well as their ability to live them. The father remembers: “We didn’t see any angels or hear voices, but we did feel the calm, peaceful, loving presence of the Holy Ghost.” They gave thanks for the blessings they had received through their study, “blessings of increased faith, strength in the face of adversity, and greater love and tranquility in [their] home” (James R. Prince, “Proving the Prophet’s Promise,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 65).

Wisdom Comes to the Humble

The gift of wisdom comes to those who seek it with humility. “Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God … ;

“For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite” (D&C 136:32–33).

One young woman received understanding of a significant gospel principle as she attended an institute of religion class. The lesson that day helped her realize she had not fully repented of past transgressions. She felt the influence of the Holy Ghost and knew she must be obedient and confess her transgressions, but she was too frightened to talk to her bishop about it.

As she humbly prayed, the words of a hymn filled her mind: “Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid” (“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85). Enlightened and assured, she went to the bishop and began the process of repentance.

It is significant that the Restoration began when, at age 14, Joseph Smith read the promise that wisdom is granted to those who “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (James 1:6). Trusting the promise, he humbly sought wisdom—and learned, as we all can, that a person “who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided” (JS—H 1:26).

  • What is the difference between God’s wisdom and the wisdom of the world?

  • How does a person obtain the gift of wisdom?

Illustrated by Dikayl Dunkley