3 Behold, it is expedient that much should be done among this people, because of the hardness of their hearts, and the deafness of their ears, and the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks; nevertheless, God is exceedingly merciful unto them, and has not as yet swept them off from the face of the land.4 And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.5 And now, behold, two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land. They observed to keep the law of Moses and the sabbath day holy unto the Lord. And they profaned not; neither did they blaspheme. And the laws of the land were exceedingly strict. (Jarom 1:3-5)
These verses strike me as rather peculiar. Jarom tells us how hard-hearted and stiff-necked his people are, and how much has to be done among them, yet two verses later he also says that they observed the Law of Moses, kept the Sabbath, and avoided profanity and blasphemy, and kept strict civil laws.
Those conditions seem almost diametrically opposed to each other.
It seems that the people must have felt that keeping the laws was enough and did not allow the performance of their duty to change their hearts.
Sometimes when you are so focused on keeping the commandments, you can develop a belief that everything is fine with you and you have no more improvement to make, when really there is a lot of refinement to do in our souls which can only be brought out through interpersonal relationships.
Sometimes it happens that I’ll be in the middle of doing something relating to one of my callings or keeping a commandment and I realize that I’m doing it with a spirit of apathy or impatience and annoyance. When I notice that, I have to take a little time and ponder what my obedience means if done in the wrong spirit. (Hint: It means the same as if I had been disobedient.) But it is enough to at least give me the desire to do it in the right spirit. And prayer is a good beginning for inviting a attitude adjustment. I want to have the right spirit in my obedience. I want to be joyful when I obey. I want to find meaning in it and feel the Lord’s pleasure in it.
What do you do when you find yourself stuck in apathy or annoyance while obeying commandments?