doing the will of the Lord
Our commandments are nothing more than our attempts to provide very basic statements that represent the will of the Lord for ALL - but our own scriptures are replete with examples of instances when individuals understood the Lord's will for them at that moment to be different than a commandment that applied to all. I believe exceptions must by exceptions, and I believe that the person claiming the exception must be convinced it is from the Lord (and I believe many "exceptions" really are not of God but merely justifications and rationalizations of the natural man), but I believe strongly in exceptions that are approved by the Lord in unique or even merely individual circumstances.
There are multiple ways doing the will of the Lord can be pursued, and it is important to consider what works best for you as an individual.
I am going to present two extremes, with the understanding that they are not the only options for true and sincere attempts to do the will of the Lord. This is a thought exercise, not a prescription - since I believe each of us must consider our own abilities, capacities and circumstances to determine exactly what approach we must take to be obedient, especially since it is next to impossible to be obedient to every "rule" that has arisen through the culture of the church.
Jesus said that all the law and the prophets hang on love. Thus, all the other commandments, rules, customs and social norms are supplemental guidelines that, hopefully, lead us to or are expressions of that love. The following, again, are examples of the extremes in how we might show our love and attempt to do the will of the Lord - but there are as many individual ways as there are individual children of God.
When we see someone who needs help, two extremes might show our love and desire to help:
1) Lord, I will help anyone you tell me to help.
2) Lord, I will help anyone I see who needs help, unless you tell me not to do so.
When we see someone who does not understand the Gospel:
1) Lord, I will share with anyone with whom you tell me to share.
2) Lord, I will share with everyone, unless you tell me not to do so.
When we hear something that we believe to be incorrect or misleading:
1) Lord, I will correct anything you tell me to correct.
2) Lord, I will correct anything that I believe is incorrect, unless you tell me not to do so.
Again, I am NOT claiming that one of these approaches is good and the other is bad - or even that one always is better than the other. I am not saying that one constitutes doing the will of the Lord and the other does not. I have been in situations where, in that moment or time in my life, the first was better for me - but I also have been in situations where, in that moment or time of my life, the second was better for me. I believe that determination must be made at the personal level, but I also believe it must be a conscious decision or the default position will be the first approach - and I believe that position, while good, is not ideal as the default for all situations. I believe there must be areas where we are willing to be the Lord's hands (as Pres. Uchtdorf said in a recent talk) and not just our own hands that He directs.
That is a subtle distinction, but it is an important one to me.
I believe it is much more about our attitude with regard to love and service than it is about the specific, exact service we render, and I believe our attitude is FAR more important than the quantitative amount of service we provide - or the dollar value that might be attached to it. I believe we need to be willing to give our all for others - to "be the Lord" for them. I believe that is important as an ideal, even if we never are sure exactly how much of what we do actually is directed by Him or merely constitutes our own intuition and best attempts. After all, the ideal is that we become like Him - doing what He would do (with our own limitations upon Him) were He there to do it.
That parenthetical (with our own limitations upon Him) is easy to forget, but it is vital, I believe, to happiness, joy and peace as we serve and strive to be His hands.