Recently, I have been thinking a lot about obedience. I wish I could say that I related perfectly with Nephi and always had his "go and do" attitude. Unfortunately, I feel like I relate much better to Naaman.
Naaman was a General who contracted leprosy. I do not have leprosy, that's not what I relate to, you're jumping to conclusions! Naaman was told by his servants of a prophet in Israel, Elisha. Naaman went with his servants see Elisha to be healed.
Upon arriving, Elsiha would not come out to see Naaman. Elisha's servant instructed Naaman to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River and he would be healed. Naaman went away angry. He was expecting Elisha to come out to him and raise his voice to God and abbra-cadabbra, he would be healed.
Naaman complained by comparison of the mighty rivers of Damascus to the river Jordan. Verse 12 says that he turned away in a rage.
Luckily for Naaman, his servants calmly reasoned with him, "if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?how much rather then, wash and be clean?" (2 Kings 5:13)
In re-reading this story, I have thought about Naaman's real affliction: blindness. His inability to see that it had nothing to do with the location of the river or the purity of the water. It had everything to do with obedience.
Why are we even here?
We are here to learn to see with spiritual eyes, we are constantly hampered by this blindness. It is through obedience that the blinders are removed and we are able to see things "as they are, and as they were, and as they will be" (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24)
If we are truly seeking to be endowed with God's power, obedience must be the first step. The Lord does not ask us to trade our spiritual blindness for blind obedience. We are to seek learning and understanding that we may know for ourselves that these things are true (see Alma 5:46)
When we know these things through the Holy Ghost, we take full ownership of observance of that principle in our own lives. There will be no excuses, but there will be no perfection. It is with realization that we must accept Jesus Christ as more than a titular savior, but as the Savior. The Literal Savior of our individual souls.
Once the atonement becomes personal to us (it already is for Him), then we can take our discipleship to the next level. We will be honest with ourselves and become more vulnerable with God. That vulnerability leads to increased love and empowerment from our Heavenly Father.
We must remember though, that it is our Father in Heaven who sets the conditions. Neal A. Maxwell said, "The unconditional surrender does not allow for conditions". We are in a lost state, the atonement does not bring us to a negotiating table; but I hold on to my "pet sins". Those little things that I habitually do that I am unwilling to sacrifice for my discipleship.
When wefinally choose to "give away all [our] sins to know [him]" (Alma 22:18), then will his love dwell in our hearts, then will obedience be a true joy, then will we have "His image in [our] countenance[s]."(Alma 5:14)