Monday, October 23, 2017

President Ezra Taft Benson on how Christ changes men

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature....
"Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Like Paul they will be asking, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' (Acts 9:6.) Peter stated they will 'follow his steps.' (1 Pet. 2:21.) John said they will 'walk, even as he walked.' (1 Jn. 2:6.)
"Finally, men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. To paraphrase President Harold B. Lee, they set fire in others because they are on fire. (See Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 192.)
"Their will is swallowed up in his will. (See John 5:30.) They do always those things that please the Lord. (See John 8:29.) Not only would they die for the Lord, but, more important, they want to live for Him."
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Born of God," Ensign, July 1989, 2
Click here to read the full article

This is a classic excerpt from President Benson, frequently quoted because of the importance of the insight it offers:

It truly is insightful to compare the approaches the world takes, compared to how the Jesus Christ works in our lives to cause change and growth. The fundamental difference between attempts to change behavior and to change basic nature are the essence of this difference.

A true disciple is eager to be "captained by Christ" and to have their will "swallowed up in his will." This is not mindless following; it is a conscious choice to follow One who is believed to provide ultimate happiness. It is true discipleship.

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

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