The Cost -and Blessings- of Discipleship
by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
The definition of Disciple is "one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another. With this definition, a Disciple of Christ would be one who embraces and assists Christ in spreading and helping others to follow His teachings.
"Those of us who have entered into the waters of baptism and received the gift of the Holy Ghost have covenanted that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, or in other words, we declare ourselves to be disciples of the Lord. We renew that covenant each week as we partake of the sacrament, and we demonstrate that discipleship by the way that we live. . . Making the covenant to of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and the path is not always easy. "
"If you haven't already, you will one day find yourself called upon to defend your faith or perhaps even endure some personal abuse simply because you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such moments will require courage and courtesy on your part."
In the last year:
I have been taunted and teased numerous times by friends and acquaintances who claim to share my beliefs because I will not lower my personal standard and watch PG13 movies.
"What? You think you're too good?"
or because I won't try a sip of coffee or tea offered to me by a friend who is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Come on! Just try it. Know one's going to know."
I find saying No is the easy part. Testifying to them why it's wrong, and why I won't partake is the hard part.
"So here we have the burden of those called to bear the messianic message. In addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on (that is the pleasant part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon to worry, to warn, and sometimes just to weep (that is the painful part of discipleship)."
Sometimes it is hard for me to speak up. I don't want to hurt someones feelings or make them feel inferior. And I especially am scared that they'll be mad at me and not want to be my friend anymore, or misjudge my intentions.
During these times I feel like Abinadi when he said to King Noah:
"Because I have told you the truth ye are angry with me. . . .Because I have spoken the word of God ye have judged me that I am mad" (Mosiah 13:4). to the end of that scripture Elder Holland adds: "Provincial, patriarchal, bigoted, unkind, narrow, outmoded, and elderly."
I should not let my fears stop me. After all, "Disciples, like diamonds, are developed in a process of time and heavy pressures, and both the disciple and the diamond reflect and magnify the light that comes through them. " (Neil A. Maxwell -Wherefore ye Must Press Forward, p. 125)
IS IT WORTH IT?
"You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand . . .to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it. . . "
Yes it is worth it! While it is right and good to take a stand, we must remember to do it with love.
"Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. . .we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others."
". . .There is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).
Remember: "Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world."
If we will share our beliefs with others in a loving, non-criticizing way, we can and will create change for good in others.
"Be Strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don't live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them."
Next Week's Talk:
by Elder Neil L. Andersen