People who have problems living the moral code of the church, whether it be the Law of Chastity, the Word of Wisdom, or a decision by a Stake President that all men and boys helping with the Sacrament wear white shirts and ties, have a problem that is more basic than self discipline. They haven’t made the decision to put their lives in the hands of God. They are still living the law of “I”, the law of “me”, and not the law of God.
We all live the law of “I”, the law of “me”, but the time must come when we live the law of God if we are ever to become like Him. Once we make the decision to live the law of God, once we really make that decision and not just lip decisions, we begin to move away from the need for self-discipline and begin to have self-conviction. Most of us probably (I know I do) ripple between the law of “I” and the law of God throughout our lives. We still need self-discipline, but that discipline should be to live the law of God and not to just live a particular moral code because our Priesthood leaders have said we should do that. Moral codes are but stepping stones to our living all of the law of God and becoming more like him.
I assume that in our pre-earth life, we chose to follow Christ as he followed our Father -in-Heaven, because we wanted to become like our Father-in-Heaven and live with Him in Eternal Glory. That was our goal then, to become like God, and it must be our goal now if we are to succeed in becoming like Him. Our obedience to God must be because we love God not because we are obedient to Him. Obedience is a stepping stone to self-discipline, self-discipline is a stepping stone to love, and love is a stepping stone to becoming like God.
Let us have obedience and discipline, but let us remember those are but stepping stones to a greater law. Let us keep our eyes centered on God. Let us serve in the Church, let us serve God’s children, because we love God and His children, not because we are commanded to give service. Let us always remember and live righteously because we truly love God and want to become like Him. We read in the Book of Mormon that the Nephites for about 170 years lived the law of God and became like God as much as mortals can be like God “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Nephi 1:15) The Nephites became like God, because of their love of Him, and we can become that way too.