Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the importance of the two great commandments during his March 22 devotional address — to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Elder Christofferson acknowledged the importance of the second commandment, but focused more on why the first commandment is the overarching priority.
“Putting the first commandment first does not diminish or limit our ability to keep the second commandment,” Elder Christofferson said.
Elder Christofferson taught students different ways they can put the first commandment first. This includes keeping the commandments, serving others, gathering God’s covenant people, calling upon Him in prayers, feasting upon His word and living with a sense of accountability to Him.
He shared President Ezra Taft Benson’s sentiments that putting God first causes all other things to either fall into their proper place, or drop out of people’s lives.
Elder Christofferson spoke about a conversation he had with a friend concerning a seemingly universal inclination to rationalize when it comes to God’s commandments.
Assuming the Lord wouldn’t care about relatively minor things is a convenient way to excuse almost anything, he said. Individuals should ask themselves, “What sign will I give to God regarding my love for Him?”
Elder Christofferson asked students, “Is it too much to ask that in return we center our lives in God and love Him as He has loved us, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?”
He said love of God transforms people and their 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.”
Elder Christofferson testified that God’s love is real and unending and is most powerfully manifested through the grace of Christ. He left students with a blessing that they will feel God’s love envelop them as they strive to serve Him.