Read Elder Kearon’s advice on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ

A foundation in becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ is to have a clear understanding of the identities of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and, in particular, “how They feel about us,” Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy taught BYU–Pathway Worldwide students during a devotional Tuesday, Nov. 9.

During the devotional, which was prerecorded as a conversation with BYU–Pathway Worldwide President Brian K. Ashton, Elder Kearon testified that Heavenly Father and the Savior “love us. They treasure us.”

“I can almost hear someone tuning in today saying, ‘No, but not me!’ Well, They do,” he said. “They love each and every one of us, and Father in Heaven yearns to have us home again safe and sound after this very brief moment that we have here.”

In his own relationship with his children, Elder Kearon does not count their mistakes, he said, but rather yearns for them to learn, to grow and to be happy.

The Book of Mormon portrays the “intimacy we have with our Savior” when the resurrected Jesus Christ invites those present to “come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world (3 Nephi 11:14).”

“He didn’t look at them as He might’ve done and recount their sins,” Elder Kearon explained. “He says: ‘Come, this is me. I have come to take your sins upon me.’ And then they have this moment, each of them, one by one with Him.”

President Ashton asked Elder Kearon about what one should do “tomorrow morning” to start to feel God’s love. Elder Kearon’s advice was to “wake up trusting that we all fit into a great eternal plan, however bumpy the day may be,” and to “approach each day with faith, with joy and with prayer and scripture study.”

For those who feel too busy to add efforts to become a disciple of Jesus Christ to their to-do lists, Elder Kearon suggested that the other components of day-to-day life such as school, work or caring for others are not separate from spiritual development. “We have to apply our faith to our work, to our studies, to our relationships, to every engagement that we have with anybody, and practice that. And that’s how we begin to get over the feeling of, ‘Oh, I’m too busy to do that.’ No, our faith behavior should become part of us in everything that we do.”

Two other elements of becoming a disciple are the patience to keep trying in spite of one’s mistakes; and kindness in any setting, including social media, in order to “act as a counterbalance to the often dark public discourse.”

President Ashton pointed out that one of the challenges in being a disciple of Jesus Christ is loving those who are unkind and inflict pain.

Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy teaches about how to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, during a BYU–Pathway Worldwide devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.
Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy teaches about how to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, during a BYU–Pathway Worldwide devotional on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Credit: BYU–Pathway Worldwide

“Oh, that takes work, doesn’t it?” Elder Kearon responded. “The Savior most clearly understood this when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. He said, ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44).’ Now, that’s a tall order when you’re in the middle of some of that, but it is the way to find peace.”

Elder Kearon expressed his love and gratitude to the students and invited them to “try to balance your lives and find your path of discipleship. I pray that you will.”