I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in the right paths.Proverbs 4:11
King Limhi lamented the fact that people are often unwilling to put forth the effort to gain wisdom. He further sorrowed that people often failed to follow the wisdom they had already received. “They will not seek wisdom,” he said, “neither do they desire that she should rule over them!” (Mosiah 8:20).
Nearly 500 years later, the prophet Mormon expressed the same sorrow:
How slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.Helaman 12:5-6
What causes us to reject or ignore guidance from God? Why do we so often fail to “walk in wisdom’s paths?” Both Limhi and Mormon explain it as an aversion to being “ruled over.” We naturally want to be independent; we want to be self-sufficient and self-directing. We don’t want to just follow orders; we want to make our own decisions. And so we sometimes act as though we were more independent than we really are, as though rules were an undue burden rather than a vital set of instructions to keep us safe and to help us grow.
A few years ago, Elder Von G. Keetch met a group of American surfers in Australia. They were angry about a barrier that had been constructed across the mouth of a bay, which was reducing the height of the waves. After hearing their complaints, a local man shared a pair of binoculars with them so that they could see what was really going on. Large sharks were feeding just outside the bay. “Don’t be too critical of the barrier,” he said. “It’s the only thing that’s keeping you from being devoured.”
Elder Keetch explained:
As you and I walk the paths of life and pursue our dreams, God’s commands and standards—like the barrier—can sometimes be difficult to understand. They may appear rigid and unyielding, blocking a path that looks fun and exciting and that is being followed by so many others….
But He who “comprehend[s] all things” knows exactly where those dangers lie. He gives us divine direction, through His commands and loving guidance, so that we may avoid the dangers—so that we may set a course in our lives that is protected from spiritual predators and the gaping jaws of sin.“Blessed and Happy Are Those Who Keep the Commandments of God,” General Conference, October 2015
Today I will strive to walk in “wisdom’s paths.” I will recognize that God has provided guidance to me in the form of commandments and instructions which can keep me safe and enable me to progress. I will submit my will to those instructions, and allow wisdom to “rule over” me.