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BYU devotional: Discipleship is not a spectator sport

To become a dedicated disciple individuals must do more than just "watch the race," said Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, during a campus devotional held in the Marriott Center at BYU on Jan. 15.

"To those who listen carefully, the Lord regularly prompts us to act," she said. "Never before has this been more so than now. I believe the Lord is calling to each of us to become dedicated disciples."

Drawing from the movie "Chariots of Fire" — a life story of runner Eric Liddell — Sister Dalton spoke of how people can learn from his determination and power "from within" that helped him become a gold medal winner in the 1924 Olympics.

Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo.
Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo. Photo: Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News

"We must do more than watch the race. You must take part in it. Believe. Have faith. Discipleship is not a spectator sport," she said. "And where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within.' I think the Lord is saying 'Let's move forward. Let's build the kingdom. Hasten My work.'"

In order to do that, individuals must become dedicated disciples who act and make prophetic priorities their priorities, she said. Some of those prophetic priorities include missionary work, teaching and learning for youth, and temple and family history work.

Marriott Center as Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president  speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo.
Marriott Center as Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo. Photo: Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News

Missionary work

"Many here today are contemplating serving a mission," she said. "Many of you have already served missions. For the young men, this is a priesthood responsibility for which you should be and are preparing. For young women this is a wonderful opportunity but not an obligation."

Missionary work goes beyond a formal call, Sister Dalton said. All can be missionaries through talking about the things they believe and the gospel to anyone with whom they may come in contact everyday.

Teaching and learning for youth

Prior to last general conference, the First Presidency issued a letter to priesthood leaders announcing new teaching and learning resources for youth. The focus of the new resource is to build faith, testimony and conversion in the Savior, and hastening the personal spiritual progress of those who participate.

President Cecil O. Samuelson introduces  Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, who spoke at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo.
President Cecil O. Samuelson introduces Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, who spoke at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo. Photo: Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News

"What you and I will observe in the coming days will be a wave of articulate advocates of the gospel of Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit and deeply converted, going forth into all the world," she said. "This is not just for youth but for you."

Sister Dalton encouraged listeners to visit lds.org online and become familiar with the new youth curriculum recently released by the Church.

"Practice these same principles; apply the doctrine in your daily decisions and work to become a dedicated disciple of our Savior," she said.

Temple and family history work

Recently, many Church leaders have encouraged youth and adults to do their own family history work and take those names to the temple. Living Church standards allows individuals to be worthy to enter and participate in the temple.

BYU Women's Choir sings at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo.
BYU Women's Choir sings at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo. Photo: Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News

"It is so vitally important that each of us determines now to make the necessary adjustments and changes in our lives to be worthy always of a temple recommend," Sister Dalton said. "As you take your own family names to the temple, the Lord will amplify your ability to learn and to focus on the things that matter most. You will come forth from the temple armed with power, and 'His angels will be round about you to bear you up.' Always with prophetic priorities come prophetic promises."

Counsel for dedicated disciples

"As you witness these prophetic priorities unfolding and as you participate in many of them, I would like to give you a little bit of counsel, similar to the counsel Paul gave to his young friend Timothy," she said. "Paul said, 'Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.'"

Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo.
Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president speaks at a Brigham Young University campus devotional service Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Provo. Photo: Photo by Tom Smart, Deseret News

Sister Dalton shared four examples of how to be "an example of the believers."

1. "Don't let anyone tell you that you are too young."

"Buying into that worldly philosophy denies the knowledge you already have that you are not ordinary and that you have come here to go forward with faith and with the power of your youth and unique perspective," she said. "Don't let old paradigms become your parameters."

2. "Neglect not the gift that is in thee."

Being worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost is critical to success in this life, she said. "We must qualify to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost," she said. "This is very difficult sometimes in a very noisy and polluted world, so that is precisely why the sacrament is so vitally important for each of us to become unspotted from the world. What blessings are available to us and what power to be able to renew our covenants on a weekly basis and receive the promise that we will always have His Spirit to be with us."

3. "Be more fit for the kingdom.

"Set little attainable goals," she counseled members of the devotional assembly. "Establish and rely on the power of habit. Your spiritual fitness routine will look different than mine. But make it a routine."

4. "Cast not away thy confidence" (Hebrews 10:35).

"Don't get distracted, discouraged or disqualified. ... Even if things don't go according to your plan. Even if you think you are being delayed because of the actions or non-actions of others. Press forward. Continue to draw close to the Lord. Cherish virtue. Stand firm and stand tall. ...

"We are being invited to take part in the greatest race there has ever been," she said. "Make prophetic priorities your priorities. ... As you run your personal best may you never forget that 'they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint'" (Isaiah 40:31).

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