Duty is that which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral or legal obligation, to pay, do or perform. Obedience to magistrates and the laws is the duty of every citizen and subject; obedience, respect and kindness to parents are duties of children; fidelity to friends is a duty; reverence, obedience and prayer to God are indispensable duties; the government and religious instruction of children are duties of parents which they cannot neglect without guilt. Duty is forbearance of that which is forbid by morality, law, justice or propriety. It is our duty to refrain from lewdness, intemperance, profaneness and injustice; obedience; submission; act of reverence or respect.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Duty is an act or a course of action that is required of one by position, social custom, law, or religion: Required action or service: Moral or legal obligation: The compulsion felt to meet such obligation.American Heritage Dictionary
  Synonyms for duty include: responsibility, mission, project, function. Duty as in an obligation: responsibility, need, commitment, burden, promise, vow, office, requirement, pledge, imperative.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”—Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

  Duty is a law of doing. Your duties are dictated by the moral and ethical attitudes and actions required of you in discharging all the responsibilities of your various roles in life—mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, friend, coworker, supervisor, employee, etc.

Edna Lister on Duty

You must be obedient to all law to fulfill all your duties in the outer world until your faithfulness promotes you beyond them.—Edna Lister, November 4, 1934.

Declaration of Principles: We believe in the Motherhood and the Fatherhood of God. We believe in the Holy Trinity of the Father, Mother and Child. We believe that God created the world, and He is still here with us, watching us run it.
  We believe in the sacredness of the human body, this transient dwelling place of the soul, and so we deem it the duty of every man and woman to keep his or her body beautiful through right thinking and right living. We believe that the love of a man for a woman and the love of a woman for a man is holy, and that this love in all its prompting is an emanation of the Holy Spirit.
  We believe that the best way to prepare for a future life is to be kind, live one day at a time, and do the very best that you can do each day. We believe that there is no devil but fear. We believe that no one can harm us but ourselves. We believe that we are Sons and Daughters of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be.
  We believe in the purifying process of sorrow, and that death is but a manifestation of progress in our eternal life. We believe in sunshine, fresh air, mental freedom, pure friendship, and a world of beautiful thoughts.—Edna Lister, March 12, 1938.

Do each hour’s duty in full joy. Put all of yourself into each hour, whatever that hour brings. Fill it full of joy, expectant eagerness and let full Light move through you.—Edna Lister, December 10, 1938

The Power is released in its fullness now. Since the 12th of January, it has been coming through, heavier and heavier. And our duty is to see that it is distributed. Each day must see us with a little more love and little more Praise moving forth into our creations.—Edna Lister, January 23, 1939

If you have watched world news closely, you must have seen much to cause your faith in the Master’s work to grow and expand. The difficulty is in not allowing any darkness from any source to disturb your vision, your inner wisdom or to shake your surety of faith. Not an easy task when all seems dark—to your eyes, ears, and feelings! These alone will play anyone false. I know how you have grown, because the whole world has grown, some more, some less, but all have grown. Therefore, our duty is to grow more! Never less!—Edna Lister, December 11, 1940

We’ve a certain duty to perform—to lift darkness every moment of our hours. This is one of the ’greater works’ we must do now, believing that we can do the greater works by greater surrender of self.—Edna Lister, January 13, 1942

Duty demands that you pray more and stand firmer upon your Rock of Faith.—Edna Lister, January 13, 1943

It is your duty to take responsibility. Take full responsibility for your project or you set up a resistance in others.—Edna Lister, October 8, 1944

Every time a duty is unperformed or thoughtlessness is, a line breaks and we must patch it.—Edna Lister, July 8, 1945

Do your duty first at all times!—Edna Lister, July 16, 1945

You advance and ascend only upon fulfilled vows and earth duties well-performed in joy and in delight. Vows and duties done only from a sense of duty cannot ascend you. It is the joy and delight in law that does the ascending.—Edna Lister, July 25, 1945

The only thing to do at the time of a mistake or misdemeanor was to arise and go to your Father’s House now! Ascend into the Light, breathe deeply, look up, call on the Light and go to your next duty. This is all.—Edna Lister, August 6, 1945

You are sent into the world to take the Light. It is your duty.—Edna Lister, October 14, 1945

You must not allow yourself to become entangled in earthly duties to the exclusion of God-consciousness.—Edna Lister, March 9, 1947

Do you ask credits for your service? For doing what is considered to be a duty?—Edna Lister, March 28, 1947

The Elect’s way is one way: Attention to details, doing everything as if the Master were looking on, which he is! Love of every single hard assumed duty—love of it! Not one moment of lukewarmness, dawdling, indifference or lowered vibration can you afford. Your hours must be golden hours—plus. The Father gives you each day the Power for that day’s needed overcoming.—Edna Lister, July 3, 1947

Look up and praise the Father, serving Him through every duty. Accept your responsibilities. Don’t give up, no matter how tired you feel. Feeling tired is a "temptation in the wilderness." The appetitive soul wants to sleep, to shirk its responsibilities. Don’t be a toadstool, upright one day and rotten with self the next! Do your duties — or regress!—Edna Lister, December 1, 1948

A good man, who always does his duty, can still be selfish if what he does, the service he offers is for his own benefit. He may appear almost perfect in action, but work from a selfish motive.—Edna Lister, July 10, 1949

A Star of the Crown cannot go to Heaven over broken hearts, dead bodies or unfulfilled duties. You are responsible for all about you.—Edna Lister, August 3, 1950

It is your duty to plan to be used completely by all the Power on the night of a group meeting, whether you attend or not. Your private work is all clinical, and you make confessions pertaining to yourself, your friends, your families, your affairs or the outside world, from which you are to learn Law. Therefore, each day you must search your soul, your self for anything that is unlike God and bring it as a gift to the altar for lifting, or if having conquered it, place it on the altar in gratitude.—Edna Lister, August 17, 1950

Sometimes you are charged to hold a point or vibration at any price. This is a duty and must not be set aside. It is a fine point to know how and when to hold, and for how long. You must use wisdom even in doing the simplest of duties.—Edna Lister, October 9, 1950

The Father can hold the forces of evil in abeyance to their final conquering on earth only by the Elect’s loving adherence to duty—the duty of releasing love’s power.—Edna Lister, May 3, 1951

Do your duties and be success.—Edna Lister, May 3, 1951.

Ascension Vow of the Elect: "By the noble effort of the love I bear my God, by the perfection of my own release of the power of love, by the faithfulness of my heart and my mind to the laws of God, by the compassion of the Mother of Love through me upon my duties, my service and my lifting, by my fervor and my joy, so shall I aid in the fulfillment of all our so great desires. I am now vowed and obedient and re-consecrating my life ever to be used by the Father. So shall I look up for the strength to fulfill my vows. I accept right now and I weave it in where it belongs in my own pattern of life."—Edna Lister, January 31, 1952

Someone on earth must reach out and draw in the fallen lines of Light and responsibility, and this is the Elect’s duty today.—Edna Lister, July 11, 1954

There is no true love of God, no true expression of His greatness, no love for God because He is God until you can stand alone and forget that you have ever given or made a sacrifice, small, medium, or great. When you can open your eyes in the morning as an act of worship, your love of God will be great enough. To ask, Father, what greater sacrifice can I make to Thee this day of my love, time or effort, with Your strength supplying my energy?then you will have ascended to comprehension of Oneness with the Eternal.
  Your measuring rod of being this is, Did I give because I love God overmuch abundantly, did I give from a sense of duty, or because I must, because no one else would do it, or just to be self-satisfied? When you cannot forget what you did yesterday in sacrificial giving, you are still under self-exaltation in some form.—Edna Lister, October 5, 1954.

Ask for strength to fulfill your duties each day so you can enjoy your evenings instead of planning to sleep them away.—Edna Lister, November 21, 1955

Where do you find happiness? Where do you find joy on earth? Without God you are a broken-off fragment, a little nothing fussing around in a vacuum. The only way to go is up—forever. Every day is an ascension higher, with more praise in greater quality, and your duties well performed under close attention, observation and acceptance.—Edna Lister, September 2, 1956

Life is not made up solely of great sacrifices and duties, but of the smaller things in which smiles and kindness warm the heart and secure comfort.—Edna Lister, April 4, 1957

You are on the bottom when you want praise just for doing your duty.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1958

Refusal to discharge your responsibilities, procrastination, evasion of duty or an escape complex, running from life—all are causes of stomach trouble.—Edna Lister, March 17, 1958

The receiver of a promise has a duty, an obligation to accept the promise, and steadfastly expect its fulfillment, even when an unstable person makes it. Why? God is under solemn obligation to fulfill all promises believed in and thanked for, even when the repayment comes through another agent.—Edna Lister, May 4, 1958

Sentimental love will finally ride the soul with a whip and spurs. Its love-giving becomes a hated duty, and it falls in on itself in a "nervous breakdown."—Edna Lister, May 11, 1958

Your work with lifting people where you work is your service and does not win you sacrificial credits; it is a duty service. What you do for your family freely, lovingly, and knowingly gains you your own great place and freedom.—Edna Lister, May 30, 1958

If you dislike a household duty, just start praising God and you will forget that you are doing drudgery. This applies to any task you dislike.—Edna Lister, June 1, 1958

A time comes when the soul must assume full responsibility. The question is not whether you are joyous, happy, excited and thrilled about God and His Kingdom, but that you at least do the duties of your division service under high law. Someone, of course, must supply the harmonious joy vibration when you do grudgingly what you should be doing in the ecstatic joy and glory of making a gift to the Father and the Councils. The time has long since passed when you became able to distinguish between up and down. Remember, a down is credited to past rebellion that ignores duty and refuses to see, deliberately covering the self from view with sweet sophistries and saccharine statements.—Edna Lister, December 2, 1959

When you ascends under a high sacrifice of self, you have a choice. This is Law. You choose the way you will go. The first choice is to do your clear and only possible duty—to hold to that high point of contemplation, which is full illumination, and hold despite everything, the world, the flesh and the devil! The other choice is to want credit for this saintly sacrifice of self—to demand credit for it and so sink into the morass and quicksand of self-pity, frustration, and that hopeless attitude of What’s the use? It isn’t my fault. They can’t blame me for doing it. I’m hindered because…
  When you make such a high sacrifice, you are invited to choose and step onto the pathway of the creator gods. To forget self is the Path of Destiny. To deny it, even slightly, with even a tinge of self, you fall back into the abyss where the path of fate travels.—January 29, 1961

Your required duty is to look up with the mental eye and mind a thousand times an hour to make certain your contact with the Source remains unbroken.—Edna Lister, July 19, 1961

"Duty prayer" gets up at 6:00 a.m. every day, because "I must have my time of silence." This attitude creates a "ceiling bumper," who gets no farther than the room.—November 13, 1961

You receive no credit for doing your duty, and God cannot give credits to anyone who credits the self. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot boast and receive credits from God too. This is the Law.—Edna Lister, May 27, 1962.

Some souls become so duty-loving that they forget to Love God enough! The soul who is proud of "doing her duty" needs to be filled with the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ through her daily. That is how you can help, which is your duty for having noticed her need.—Edna Lister, September 12, 1962

Obedience is to be willing to do as you are bid, submission to law or authority, dutifulness, and surrender. —Edna Lister, November 15, 1962

Every small duty on earth is a gift to the Father, raising a portion of earth for your prayers to be materialized on earth. —Edna Lister, January 27, 1963

A grim sense of responsibility that thinks, I’ll do it if it kills me, shorn of all but duty, is lukewarm and inadequate.—Edna Lister, October 18, 1964

There is no excuse for wanting any personal credit in doing your duty. No credits are given for doing your duty. The role in which the Elect are cast gives no credits. It must be service beyond duty, just for the love of your service.—Edna Lister, June 10, 1965

I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.—Revelation 2:19. "Works" is mentioned twice, first in relation to the works of the self, second in reference to the soul. The works of self are duty-work, such as holding a job, raising a family, repairing the car, or the house.—Edna Lister, May 22, 1966

Forgiving a trespasser seven times in a day is difficult. His I’m sorry is usually blithely irresponsible and sincere only from the teeth out. Either he does not know it is an offense or he is doing it deliberately, enjoying your squirming attitude. So your first duty is forgiveness because you yourself desire perfection. Tend to your business, not his.—Edna Lister, June 26, 1966

Many Elect have faltered and fallen to lesser degrees, not lost but laggard in duty. They have allowed their share of service to become the responsibility of those who have stood in the breach. They have dropped their lines of Light, but have been held, lifted and saved from regression. For this, they are called laggard in duty, service, and responsibility.—Edna Lister, February 12, 1967

Every promise God has made to His Elect goes into action when you do your duty.—Edna Lister, November 16, 1969

Live your duty to do your best.—Edna Lister, May 11, 1970

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New Testament on Duty

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.—Matthew 4:4

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.—Matthew 7:12

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.Matthew 22:21

Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.—Matthew 28:18-20

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.—Romans 12:2

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.—Galatians 5:14

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Old Testament on Duty

Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.—Deuteronomy 10:12

if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.—Joshua 24:15

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?—Micah 6:8

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of duty: Anglo-French duete, from Old French deu "due, owed," hence "proper, just" (on the notion of "that which one is bound by natural, moral, or legal obligation to do or perform").

Duty is a law of doing under the great principle of responsibility.


If the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded.—Noah Webster


American Heritage Dictionary, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. ISBN 9780544454453.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. 2024

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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