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A Quarter of an Hour and Half a Page of Intentional Discipleship

Sarah Eve Perlawan
06/23/21 | 3 min read
Through the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will know what to stop and start doing to prepare for His Second Coming. We can be more intentional in our discipleship.

On April 13, 2021, the last day of my virtual institute class, my beloved teacher posed two questions for us to ponder:

“What should you stop doing to prepare for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming?”

“What should you start doing to prepare for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming?”

He had asked these same questions a few weeks before, and they had left a deep impression on me at the time. But life happens, so I’d forgotten about them.

On April 13, at the end of the day, I was planning to spend a few hours relaxing. This usually means watching an episode of a Korean drama or a Korean variety show that I like. I thought to myself, “I’ve done enough to feed my spirit today.” As soon as my 9:00–5:00 shift ended, I had met virtually with some missionaries from the Philippines Missionary Training Center as a volunteer, and we had talked for 30 minutes. After eating a quick dinner, at 6:30 p.m. I had attended my Tuesday institute class until about 8:30 p.m. Then I had exchanged chat messages with an acquaintance who was asking me for writing tips. Now it was about 9:30 p.m.

In a few hours, I would have to sleep again and prepare for the next day. Surely I deserved to have the rest of the evening for myself, doing what I wanted. I opened my internet browser and was about to type in the title of my favorite variety show, but I stopped in my tracks. My institute teacher’s two questions resonated in my head:

“What should you stop doing to prepare for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming?”

“What should you start doing to prepare for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming?”

So I typed “April 2021 General Conference David Bednar” in the search bar instead. The top search result led me to a video of Elder Bednar’s talk “The Principles of My Gospel.” I decided to listen to Elder Bednar for a quarter of an hour. What was initially an “off the top of my head” choice of a general conference talk turned out to be the perfect message for me that night! I never expected that an additional 15 minutes of gospel study could have a significant impact on me.

In this talk Elder Bednar discussed how the principles of the gospel—and not a list of dos and don’ts—can guide our life. He said:

“Learning, understanding, and living gospel principles strengthen our faith in the Savior, deepen our devotion to Him, and invite a multitude of blessings and spiritual gifts into our lives. Principles of righteousness also help us to look beyond our personal preferences and self-centered desires by providing the precious perspective of eternal truth as we navigate the different circumstances, challenges, decisions, and experiences of mortality.”1

Now that I have thought about it, what led me to make that choice that night were the gospel principles I was taught and reminded of during my institute class. The influence of gospel principles in my life helped me give up some of my time for something better than what I’d originally planned. My understanding of these principles gave me the strength to fight exhaustion so I could have some more meaningful gospel study before I went to bed. And my desire to live these principles inspired me to fill up half of a page of my study journal with my insights.

Lying on my bed, while I was pondering again those two questions from my teacher about my preparation for Christ’s Second Coming, I was struck by the simplicity of the answer for what I should start doing: a quarter of an hour and half a page.

Indeed, as Elder Bednar taught, we don’t need a long list of dos and don’ts and a hard set of rules to be better disciples of Jesus Christ. What we need is to learn, understand, and apply the principles of His gospel in our lives. Through the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will know what to stop and start doing to prepare for His Second Coming. We can be more intentional in our discipleship.

That being said, we don’t have to feel pressured. We aren’t required to give up everything or to make major changes overnight. Just look at me! I renewed my journey toward becoming a better disciple of Jesus Christ simply by spending an extra 15 minutes (a quarter of an hour) listening to a general conference talk and writing a half-page insight in my study journal. As long as we’re consistent in our efforts to live the gospel, we’ll become better and better each day. Remember that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”2

Notes

1. David A. Bednar, “The Principles of My Gospel” (general conference, Apr. 2021).
2. Alma 37:6.


Sarah Eve Perlawan
Sarah Eve Perlawan is a freelance writer who used to dislike writing. She loves reading books, writing poems and prose, overcoming her weaknesses, and surprising people with her unconventional career decisions. She lives in Quezon City, Philippines.
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