Sunday, August 02, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: The Way of the Disciple

In his Sunday morning conference address, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf; Second Counselor in the First Presidency, describes the way of disciples of Jesus Christ.

Christ brought to us the pathway of discipleship -- the gospel. As we walk in that way, we can experience confidence and joy—even during times of peril, sorrow, and uncertainty.

Many in the world hunger for meaning and purpose to life. We struggle for a livelihood. The world offers all kinds of answers to life's problems, but few of them satisfy. The gospel is the divine formula for joy and happiness.

We become disciples by faith in the gospel. As we extend faith, we repent and receive the saving ordinances, and are accepted as members of the Lord's kingdom here on earth. We continue to gain in faith and testimony as the gift of the Holy Spirit whispers truths to our soul, and we are inspired to greater things. These are the first steps along the true way of life and fulfillment. This is the peaceable way of the follower of Jesus Christ.

This is a pathway of patience, requiring long application to win success.

Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.
It is not enough merely to speak of Jesus Christ or proclaim that we are His disciples. It is not enough to surround ourselves with symbols of our religion. Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping.
Ours is not a secondhand religion. We cannot receive the blessings of the gospel merely by observing the good that others do. We need to get off the sidelines and practice what we preach

We start here, take that first step. There is no requirement to be educated, eloquent, or intellectual. We do not have to be perfect or well-spoken or even well-mannered.
You and I can walk in the path of discipleship today. Let us be humble; let us pray to our Father in Heaven with all our heart and express our desire to draw close to Him and learn of Him.
Have faith.
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will be opened.

Serve the Lord by serving others.
Become an active participant in your ward or branch.
Strengthen your family by committing to live the principles of the gospel.
Be of one heart and of one mind in your marriage and in your family.
Have a temple recommend and use it.
Now is the time to have meaningful family home evenings.
Read the word of God.
Speak to our Heavenly Father in earnest prayer.
Express gratitude for the Restoration of His Church.
For living prophets, the Book of Mormon, and the priesthood power.
Embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, become His disciples, and walk in His way.
There are some who believe that because they have made mistakes, they can no longer fully partake of the blessings of the gospel. How little they understand the purposes of the Lord. One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent.
Our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.
“We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. . . .
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.”
To those who have left the path of discipleship for whatever reason, I invite you to start where you are and come to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Walk again in the way of the Lord. I testify that the Lord will bless your life, endow you with knowledge and joy beyond comprehension, and distill upon you the supernal gifts of the Spirit. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.
To those who feel inadequate because they have not been members of the Church all their lives, to those who feel that they can never make up for the time they have lost, I testify that the Lord needs your specific abilities, talents, and skills. The Church needs you; we need you. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.

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