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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Many Imperfections Do I Have?

“Is it possible to develop discipleship when one has no initial, inner desires for discipleship? I don't know. Can we plant inner "desires" in someone against their will? External exhortation of such individuals won't usually produce much change. For most of us, however, even when the inner desire is there, it requires periodic sharpening of some outward circumstances to quicken any existing inner desires and to get us to act upon these. It was so with Abraham. Abraham desired a better life, more happiness, and the blessings of the holy priesthood (see Abraham 1:1-2). Outward circumstances were a spur to Abraham's yearnings, but clearly he had firm and basic desires of discipleship.

It's different in the case of prodigals, in the sense that turning away from the world and toward God, toward home, requires of them to make what I call the Great Pivot. This Great Pivot begins slowly and tentatively when the mind perceives what is in comparison with what might be. This represents the first tentative steps in the process of beginning to develop "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).

…So, the lingering question should not be "How many imperfections do I have?" but, rather, "Is my discipleship sufficiently serious that I am working patiently and steadily to overcome those weaknesses, perhaps even changing some of them into strengths?" (See Ether 12:27.)”

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Brigham Young University on 27 March 1994.

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