Elder Robert D. Hales: 'Being a More Christian Christian'
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"What kind of Christians are we?" questioned Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve. "In other words, how are we doing in our quest to follow Christ?"
Speaking during the Sunday afternoon session, Elder Hales said as Christians today, Church members have the opportunity to go "straightway, and act immediately and decisively" to follow Jesus Christ.
"We too are called upon to leave our nets, to reject worldly habits, customs and traditions," he said, speaking of Peter and Andrew who cast their nets aside and followed the Savior. "We are also called to forsake our sins."
This change, called conversion, is possible only through the Savior, he said. "As we are made new in Christ, our very natures change and we no longer want to go back to our old ways."
Even so, he added, faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties and disappointments. "When those refining challenges come, we may be tempted to return to our old ways."
He spoke of Peter, who — after the Savior's crucifixion — returned to Galilee and fished until he heard the Savior's voice, instantly casting himself into the water and swimming to the shore and to Jesus."To Christians who have returned to their old, less faithful ways, consider the faithful example of Peter," Elder Hales said. "Do not delay. Come hear and recognize the Master's voice calling. Then straightway return to Him and receive His abundant blessings once again."
When Peter returned, the Savior implored him, "Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep," said Elder Hales.
"This is the call of Christ to every Christian today: 'Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep' — share my gospel with young and old, lifting, blessing, comforting, encouraging and building them, especially those who think and believe differently than we do," he said. "We feed His lambs in our homes by how we live the gospel — keeping the commandments, praying, studying the scriptures and emulating His love. We feed His sheep in the Church as we serve in priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations. And we feed His sheep throughout the world by being good Christian neighbors, practicing the pure religion of visiting and serving the widows, the fatherless, the poor and all who are in need."
Elder Hales said for many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming. "But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate. The Savior has promised that He will make us equal to His work. 'Follow me,' He said, 'And I will make you fishers of men.'"
Elder Hales said as Latter-day Saints follow the Savior, they will be blessed with gifts, talents and the strength to do His will.
"This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, serving a full-time mission, working in the temple, raising a child with special needs, loving the prodigal, serving an ailing companion, enduring misunderstandings or suffering affliction."
Latter-day Saints follow Jesus Christ to be who Heavenly Father wants them to be, Elder Hales said.
"I testify that He is continually calling us to follow Him. If we are just learning about the Christian commitment of Latter-day Saints, or if we have not been fully participating in the Church and want to follow Him again — fear not. The Lord's first disciples were all new members of the Church, newly converted to His gospel. Jesus patiently taught each one. He helped them fulfill their responsibilities. He called them His friends and laid down His life for them. And He has already done the same for you and for me.
"I testify that through His infinite love and grace, we can become more Christian Christians."