Being a disciple isn’t just what we do; it’s who we are.
When I’d hear the word disciple, I used to imagine the ancient apostles Mark, Peter, and John literally following in the Savior’s footsteps. Since two millennia separated me from when Christ lived on the earth, I felt that I couldn’t personally be a disciple.
That perspective changed when I heard Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk “Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ” during the April 2017 general conference. Elder Hales tells us that discipleship doesn’t just mean being a follower; rather, “genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry.”
What exactly are the characteristics that we need to weave into our spiritual tapestry? Elder Hales details five characteristics from 2 Peter 1 that will help us become better disciples.
- Faith. Faith is the foundation of our discipleship, since it leads us to be obedient. The Lord promises us that “if ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33).
- Virtue. Elder Hales teaches that virtue is powerful. Virtue coupled with faith enables us to feel the Holy Ghost and to live the way Christ lived.
- Knowledge. Through faith and worthiness we can receive personal revelation, empowering us to make the right decisions.
- Temperance. Elder Hales suggests that we follow the gospel in a “balanced and steady way.” It is important to not wear ourselves out.
- Patience. We must be patient with ourselves, others, and the Lord’s timing.
These characteristics help us to be strong and serve others in our daily lives; they make becoming a disciple more accessible. Elder Hales says that the “constellation of characteristics that result from faith in Christ—including the ones we have talked about today—are all necessary to our standing strong in these last days.” As we build upon each of these characteristics, we will become stronger disciples of Christ, enriching and beautifying our spiritual tapestry.
Read Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk: “Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Source: LDS General Conference
—Bethany Patterson, Mormon Insights
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