Sunday, September 17, 2017

President James E. Faust on being disciples of Jesus Christ

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley from 1995 until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"The word for disciple and the word for discipline both come from the same Latin root—discipulus, which means pupil. It emphasizes practice or exercise. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus, as exemplified by Peter, James, and John, who indeed 'forsook all, and followed him' (Luke 5:1–11).
"What is discipleship? It is primarily obedience to the Savior. Discipleship includes many things. It is chastity. It is tithing. It is family home evening. It is keeping all the commandments. It is forsaking anything that is not good for us. Everything in life has a price. Considering the Savior’s great promise for peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come, discipleship is a price worth paying. It is a price we cannot afford not to pay. By measure, the requirements of discipleship are much, much less than the promised blessings....
"Discipleship does not come from positions of prominence, wealth, or advanced learning. The disciples of Jesus came from all walks of life. However, discipleship does require us to forsake evil transgression and enjoy what President Spencer W. Kimball has called 'the miracle of forgiveness.' This can come only through repentance, which means that we forsake sin and resolve each day to be followers of truth and righteousness. As Jesus taught, 'What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am' (3 Nephi 27:27).
"Many think that the price of discipleship is too costly and too burdensome. For some, it involves giving up too much. But the cross is not as heavy as it appears to be. Through obedience we acquire much greater strength to carry it....
"Our true claim as disciples comes when we can say with certainty that His ways have become our ways.
"The blessings of discipleship are readily available to all who are willing to pay the price. Discipleship brings purpose to our lives so that rather than wandering aimlessly, we walk steadily on that strait and narrow way that leads us back to our Heavenly Father. Discipleship brings us comfort in times of sorrow, peace of conscience, and joy in service—all of which help us to be more like Jesus."
- James E. Faust, "Discipleship," General Conference, October 2006
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This was a wonderful address by President Faust, whose life exemplified the principles he is describing. Discipleship, he teaches, is a form of discipline; it is self-control, obedience, the wise use of agency, and choosing to follow the precepts taught by the Savior. It is forsaking much that is in the world. but gaining much more that the Savior has promised to his faithful followers:

Is the cost of discipleship too great? Is the burden too much to bear? President Faust reminds us that among the blessings of discipleship, those who choose to "bear the cross" are given divine strength to enable them on that journey. But perhaps even greater blessings come as we continue in the path:
  • purpose to our lives
  • comfort in times of sorrow
  • peace of conscience
  • joy in service
  • becoming more like Jesus.

Perhaps only one who has begun to taste these blessings can fully understand that the price is truly a small one to pay!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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