Quotes on Discipleship

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. — President James E. Faust, “Discipleship,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 22

The costs of discipleship cannot be paid at wholesale rates nor in one lump sum. — Elder Neal Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ, p. 24

The more we become like Jesus, the more useful we are to Him. — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, July 1993, p. 74

God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability! — Elder Neal Maxwell, Ensign, July 1975, p. 7

That man is greatest and most blessed and joyful whose life most closely approaches the pattern of the Christ.  This has nothing to do with earthly wealth, power, or prestige.  The only true test of greatness, blessedness, joyfulness is how close a life can come to being like the Master, Jesus Christ.  He is the right way, the full truth, and the abundant life. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, December 1988, p. 2

The disciple is expected to give appreciation always and to be thankful, but he is forewarned against requiring reciprocity as a condition of friendship.  He is further told to pay little heed to ingratitude toward him.  We can’t dwell upon another’s ingratitude without using up our time and talents unprofitably. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, p. 56

Disciples, like diamonds, are developed in a process of time and heavy pressures, and both the disciple and the diamond reflect and magnify the light that comes through them. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward, p. 125

I am going to preach a hard doctrine to you now.  The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar.  It is a hard doctrine, but it is true.  The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us.  But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him.  And that hard doctrine lies at the center of discipleship. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, p. 9

“. . . whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.”  (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 53)  Hence it is so vital for us to be submissive because we’ll be puzzled when He gives us what we need in order to become more like Him and the Son, unless we are submissive in mind. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, August 2000, p. 10

We are at a time in the history of the world and the growth of the Church when we must think more of holy things and act more like the Savior would expect his disciples to act.  We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” and then act more courageously upon the answer.  We must be about his work as he was about his Father’s.  We should make every effort to become like Christ, the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen. — President Howard W. Hunter, “Follow the Son of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 87

It is not enough to simply be known as a member of this Church.  A solemn obligation rests upon us.  Let us face it and work at it.

We must live as true followers of the Christ, with charity toward all, returning good for evil, teaching by example the ways of the Lord, and accomplishing the vast service He has outlined for us. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A beautiful light,” Church News, Apr. 10, 2004, p. 10

God is in the details of our lives.  He knows us perfectly, just as Jesus knew the woman of Samaria whom He quizzed as to her belief in the Messiah.  She said, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things” (John 4:25).  And Jesus said, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:26).  She went back to her village all excited and said she’d found the Messiah, and then, significantly, she said to the villagers, “He told me all that ever I did” (John 4:39).

God knows us perfectly.  He loves us perfectly.  His only begotten son, Jesus, has invited us to “come, follow me.”  In a real and majestic sense, each of us has been called to serve in His holy discipleship.  May we all renew our desires and efforts to do so. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, June 1996

Through the years we learn that challenges to our faith are not new, and they aren’t likely to disappear soon. But true disciples of Christ see opportunity in the midst of opposition. . . .

As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter.  And in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord. . . .

As true disciples, our primary concern must be others’ welfare, not personal vindication.  Questions and criticisms give us an opportunity to reach out to others and demonstrate that they matter to our Heavenly Father and to us.  Our aim should be to help them understand the truth, not defend our egos or score points in a theological debate.  Our heartfelt testimonies are the most powerful answer we can give our accusers.

Without guile, true disciples avoid being unduly judgmental of others’ views.   As the Savior demonstrated with Herod, sometimes true disciples must show Christian courage by saying nothing at all. . . .

We too have a great work to do, which will not be accomplished if we allow ourselves to stop and argue and be distracted. Instead we should muster Christian courage and move on.  As we read in Psalms, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers” (Psalm 37:1). . . .

I testify that with the mantle of His peace upon us, the First Presidency’s promise will be fulfilled:  “The opposition which may seem hard to bear will be a blessing to the kingdom of God upon the earth.” — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign, November 2008, pp. 72-75

What is the cost of discipleship?  It is primarily obedience.  It is the forsaking of many things.  But since everything in life has a price, it is a price worth paying, considering that the great promise of the Savior is for peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come.  It is a price we cannot afford not to pay. — President James E. Faust, Ensign, April 1999

Let me emphasize that the noblest aim in life is to strive to live to make lives better and happier.  The most worthy calling in life is that in which man can serve best his fellowman. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1961, p. 131

My testimony to you is that the safety, peace, joy, and security we seek are found only in accepting and sincerely believing in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God.  As we embrace His teachings, we give up all of our sins, we repent, and we do all that is in our power to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do. And as we give ourselves to Christ, fully and completely, we find safety, peace, joy, and security in Him.

Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems, sickness, family challenges, or employment difficulties? . . . Not at all.  But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever challenge or adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner.  If we keep our lives focused on Christ, we will gain a broader view, an eternal perspective.  With that we can understand adversity and what is the right thing for us to do . . . within the context of Heavenly Father’s eternal plan for all of His children.  And we can find comfort in this life in the eternal safety, peace and security that He promises. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Safety, Peace, Joy, and Security in Christ,” Ensign, June 2001, p. 74

We can also tell that we are making progress by the attention we get from the adversary.  Do not falter nor be distressed when others misrepresent us, sometimes deliberately and sometimes in ignorance.  This has been the lot of the Lord’s people from the beginning, and it will be no different in our time.

Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies.  Keep the faith. . . . This work, which Satan seeks in vain to tear down, is that which God has placed on earth to lift mankind up! — President Spencer W. Kimball, “No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work,” Ensign, May 1980, pp. 5-6

If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those very things which are most difficult for us to do. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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. — President James E. Faust, “Discipleship,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, p. 22

The disciples of Christ receive a call to not only forsake the pursuit of worldly things but to carry the cross daily.  To carry the cross means to follow His commandments and to build up His Church on the earth.  It also means self-mastery (Alma 39:9, footnote b).  As Jesus of Nazareth instructed us, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).  “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:27) — President James E. Faust, “Discipleship,” Ensign, November 2006, p. 20

. . . we must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope.  Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible.  The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant. . . . But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples.  Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule.  For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible.  Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life.  They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment.  They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20) — President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, October 1989, p. 2

I believe it was George Macdonald who reminded us that the only door out of the dungeon of self is the love of one’s neighbor.  How proud we ought to be, in a quiet way, that we are members of the church of the most selfless being who ever lived.  How proud we ought to be to belong to a church that makes specific demands of us and gives us specific things to do and marks the strait and narrow way, lest we fall off one side of the precipice or the other.  I am so grateful that God loves us enough to teach us specifically.  Had secularists written the Ten Commandments, they might have said, “Thou shalt not be a bad person.”  Note what the Ten Commandments say:  “Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, thou shalt not commit adultery,” and so on.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is specific because God cares specifically for each of us and, caring for us, will mark the way carefully lest we fall out of happiness.

A vague creed is fitted only for a vague God.  We have a Father who loves us specifically and gives us things to do and, because he loves us, will cause us, at times, to have our souls stretched and to be fitted for a better world by coping with life in this world.

May God bless us with that kind of commitment, with the capacity to be serious disciples and to accept both the agendum that he has prepared for each of us because he loves us and the curriculum, prepared for each of us, which he has customized to teach us the things we most need to know, because he loves us. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974

Lesson number one for the establishment of Zion in the 21st century:  You never “check your religion at the door.”  Not ever.  My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be – it isn’t discipleship at all. — Elder Jeffery R. Holland, CES Devotional 2012

What is the cost of discipleship?  It is primarily obedience.  It is the forsaking of many things.  But since everything in life has a price, it is a price worth paying, considering that the great promise of the Savior is for peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come.  It is a price we cannot afford not to pay. — President James E. Faust, “The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign, April 1999, p. 2

Most of us think that the price of discipleship is too costly and too burdensome.  For many it involves the giving up of too much.  But the cross is not as heavy as it appears to be because we acquire through obedience a much greater strength to carry it:

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30). — President James E. Faust, “The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign, April 1999

From Gethsemane and Calvary there are many lessons we need to apply to our own lives.  We, too, at times may wonder if we have been forgotten and forsaken.  Hopefully, we will do as the Master did and acknowledge that God is still there and never doubt that sublime reality – even though we may wonder and might desire to avoid some of life’s experiences.  We may at times, if we are not careful, try to pray away pain or what seems like an impending tragedy, but which is, in reality, an opportunity.  We must do as Jesus did in that respect – also preface our prayers by saying, “If it be possible,” let the trial pass from us – by saying, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt,” and bowing in a sense of serenity to our Father in heaven’s wisdom, because at times God will not be able to let us pass by a trial or a challenge.  If we were allowed to bypass certain trials, everything that had gone on up to that moment in our lives would be wiped out.  It is because he loves us that at times he will not intercede as we may wish him to.  That, too, we learn from Gethsemane and from Calvary.

It is interesting to me, brothers and sisters, to note that among the qualities of a saint is the capacity to develop patience and to cope with the things that life inflicts upon us.  That capacity brings together two prime attributes – patience and endurance.  These are qualities, in the process of giving service to mankind that most people reject or undervalue.  Most people would gladly serve mankind if somehow they could get it over with once, preferably with applause and recognition.  But, for the sake of righteousness, to endure, to be patient in the midst of affliction, in the midst of being misunderstood, and in the midst of suffering – that is sainthood! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “But For a Small Moment,” BYU Fireside, September 1, 1974

True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives – that is, our time and choices – to God’s purposes.  In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” General Conference, October 2010

Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better.  Wishing to be more faithful to our covenants is good; actually being faithful to sacred covenants – including living a virtuous life, paying our tithes and offerings, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and serving those in need – is much better. Announcing that we will dedicate more time for family prayer, scripture study, and wholesome family activities is good; but actually doing all these things steadily will bring heavenly blessings to our lives.

Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness.  It is the path to our best and happiest self.

Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become.  Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  As we do so, Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves.  He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to see our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents.

The more we devote ourselves to the pursuit of holiness and happiness, the less likely we will be on a path to regrets.  The more we rely on the Savior’s grace, the more we will feel that we are on the track our Father in Heaven has intended for us. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign, November 2012