Monday, April 7, 2014

week 34 - Suffering for Him

Aloha everyone.
I hope you all had the opportunity to watch conference this past weekend, because it was amazing! It seemed like every talk gave an answer to something I've been facing, or a question that I've had. But the one talk that I wanted to focus on, was Elder Holland's talk in the saturday morning session.
He began with the story of a sister missionary who had a bad encounter with a man in the town square. He threw food at them, spit at them, and then proceeded to swear at them. She said she wanted to grab this man and do something to him, but she didn't. Elder Holland went on to say that she had joined a circle who, with others, have experienced Christ's suffering and borne His cross.
As a missionary I don't claim the privilege of knowing exactly how Christ felt and suffering all that He did, but I feel I can at least say I've walked a couple of steps with the cross on my back. Experienced a few moments in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We, as members of the church are asked to do exactly this. As Elder Holland said, Live the gospel. Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.
As members of this church in the world today, it's seldom easy to do what we are asked to do. The world becomes a place that is less and less respectful of someone devoted to living a religious life. But in the end it's always worth it.
He spoke of how many churches look only for a God who will speak smooth, soothing, and easy things unto them. They don't want a prophet or God who "binds them down" and cricitized their wrong doings. He said "talk about man creating God in his own image".
I can personally testify how important it is to live gospel standards. Being here in Hawaii it is especially tough for the youth where morals are loose and temptations abound. Many of the youth can't stand up to the pressure, and fall. But those who stay true to what they believe and take a stand are the same ones who find true happiness.
You can't find happiness outside the plan of happiness. It's easy sometimes to say the grass looks greener on the other side. It seems more fun to not obey. But it is only through obeying all of our Father's commandments that we can find happiness and eventually, eternal life.
Our job, or duty, as members of this church is to be disciples of Christ. A disciple is simply someone who exemplifies Christ, who lives His teachings. Being a discple means you are willing to "stand as a witness of Him at all times, and in all things, and in all places, even unto death". Now Christ rarely requires us to offer our lives in His service, but he does ask us to make some sacrifices. And as long as we are willing, the reward will far outweigh that which we give.
I know that living the gospel will always be worth it. And that if we are willing to suffer for Him, we can lay up our treasures in heaven. So stand.
kon iakwe,
Elder Merrill

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