Obedience is the first law of heaven, and it is by obedience that we guarantee for ourselves any and all of the blessings promised to us.
When I was growing up in the church, I didn't understand why commandments and rules were so important. I felt that God was restricting me - not that I thought drugs or R-rated movies would make me happy, but I felt like I was living in a fenced in, grassy lot that kept me from learning for myself or possibly getting hurt or taking any kind of risks.
In essence, I thought we had commandments because God didn't trust us.
Brothers and sisters, that is not the case. God does trust us - that's why we have agency. He gives us commandments to show us the way He would like for us to live, and then allows us to choose for ourselves.
This next statement is not justification for sinning - let me be clear - but it is necessary for us to break commandments. If we never broke a commandment or transgressed in any way, we would not be exercising our agency, which would eliminate the need for our Savior, which would make the Atonement futile, which would void the Plan of Happiness and God's purpose for us.
That is the way Satan works - he has not varied from his original plan. Before the foundations of this world were laid, Lucifer told Heavenly Father that we did not need to choose to follow Him - who not just tell us where to go, and then all of God's children would make it home! God knew we would each need our agency in order to become like Him, and when Lucifer still opposed that eternal truth is when he was thrust from God's presence.
Satan wants us to believe that if we follow the commandments God gives us, we don't have any choices. Sound familiar? On the other hand, if we choose to fall into the pit of sin, Satan will convince us that we have no other choice than a perpetual downward spiral. Familiar?
When we break commandments and strive to overcome the results of sin, we are probably closer to God than we ever have been before. Now, why would we talk about repentance in an email about being obedient? Because obedience is the most important part of the repentance process:
1. realize we have sinned
2. stop sinning
3. confess our sins to the Lord (and serious sins to our preisthood leaders)
4. make restitution
5. FORSAKE our sins, or obey the commandment we previously broke.
If you have not broken a commandment yet, this process is not necessary to be exactly obedient, but everyone will eventually commit sins, and everyone has hope to overcome it.
Contrary to popular belief, though, asking forgiveness is not easier than asking permission.
As I have been obedient to the laws of God and the rules of my mission, I have come to see that the fence of commandments only restricts me from the danger of sinning - I have a whole countryside to explore under the loving eye of my Shepherd. It is the same for all of God's children.
My friends, let us be obedient so God can continue to bless us.
Love you all!