My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to the New Testament, our new course of study for 2023. I thoroughly enjoyed my first week of studying the New Testament and look forward to studying the scriptures in depth while learning to become more like the Savior.
The purpose of the scriptures is to help us to come unto Christ and to become more deeply converted to His gospel. The Come, Follow Me program can help us to understand the scriptures and to find in them the spiritual strength that we and our families need. As with most studies, we can gain greater insights and knowledge by studying individually and with others.
What is our personal responsibility in learning?
The lesson for this week is titled “We Are Responsible for Our Own Learning.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraph:
“What seek ye?” Jesus asked the disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:38). You might ask yourself the same question—for what you find in the New Testament this year will greatly depend on what you seek. “Seek, and ye shall find” is the Savior’s promise (Matthew 7:7). So ask the questions that come to your mind as you study, and then seek diligently for answers. In the New Testament you will read about the powerful spiritual experiences of disciples of Jesus Christ. As a faithful disciple of the Savior, you can have your own powerful spiritual experiences as you accept the Savior’s invitation, found throughout this sacred volume, “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). [Emphasis added.]
The principle for this discussion is “I am responsible for my own learning.” Elder David A. Bednar taught: “We should not expect the Church as an organization to teach or tell us everything we need to know and do to become devoted disciples and endure valiantly to the end. Rather, our personal responsibility is to learn what we should learn, to live as we know we should live, and to become who the Master would have us become. And our homes are the ultimate setting for learning, living, and becoming” (“Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” or , May 2019, 102). [Emphasis added.]
What does it mean to take responsibility for your own learning? Elder Bednar taught that each of us has personal responsibility to learn, live, and become as we should. In addition, the scriptures include other actions that we can take.
John 7:17 says, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” This scripture tells us that we must be obedient to God’s commandments if we desire to know the truthfulness of His doctrine.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, we read: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Prove means to test or try. We should not automatically believe everything that we read or hear, but we should test it against that which we already know to be true.
James 1:5-6 tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraided [reproaches] not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” If we ask God, He will give us the information that we need to enable us to stand strong against the storms of life.
In James 1:22, we read, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” It is not enough to hear or read or know. We must do the will of God.
James 2:17-18 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” God knows that we cannot save ourselves, BUT He expects us to do all that we can for ourselves. For example, we cannot truly be saved if we are ignorant of the word of God. Therefore, He expects and requires us to study His words and gain knowledge.
There are other scriptures that I could share about pondering the scriptures, desiring to believe, praying, being anxiously engaged in doing good, seeking diligently, and teaching others.
None of us can be saved without effort on our part, even though the grace of God will save us after all that we can do. We are responsible for our own learning. Elder Bednar explained, “If all you or I know about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel is what other people teach or tell us, then the foundation of our testimony of Him and His glorious latter-day work is built upon sand. We cannot rely exclusively upon or borrow gospel light and knowledge from other people – even those whom we love and trust” (Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 102). [Emphasis added.]