Overwhelmed by Church Expectations

The story of the rich young ruler can help us understand that Church standards are not requirements from the Church, but rather encouragement from the Lord.

In young adulthood, many of us struggle to hold on to our faith. There are many things that people question when their faith falters, but many of us share a common struggle: the high standards imposed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We may relate to the story of the rich young ruler in the New Testament who has kept the commandments since his youth but now seems to lack direction. Elder S. Mark Palmer, a General Authority Seventy, discusses this familiar tale and how it applies to us in his general conference talk “Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him.”

The young ruler approaches Christ with a question: what must he do to inherit eternal life? We all know the Lord’s response: the young ruler must sell all he has and follow the Lord. This is where the young ruler, like many of us, falters. The Lord has already asked so much of us, and now he is asking more. 

But Elder Palmer points out a distinct phrase in Mark’s account of the story. Before relating that Christ asks more of the rich young ruler, Mark writes this: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him” (Mark 10:21). 

Elder Palmer observes that Christ “felt an overwhelming love and compassion for this good young man, and because of this love and with this love, Jesus asked even more of him.” It is because Christ loves us that he asks so much of us. As we keep this lesson in mind, our faith in Christ is strengthened and we feel encouraged as we strive anew to follow Christ’s standards and become all the Lord knows we can.

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Read “Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him” by Elder S. Mark Palmer to better understand God’s love and encouragement for you.

Source: General Conference 

—Kalene Gillespie, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Watch the Church’s live-action portrayal of  “Christ and the Young Ruler.”

Read President Dallin H. Oaks’ talk “The Challenge to Become” to learn more about why God invites us to follow him.

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