September 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering – 2 Corinthians – The simplicity that is in Christ

September 2023 Come Follow Me MinisteringThe September 2023 Come, Follow Me Ministering Printable ties together Elder Evan A. Schmutz April 2023 General Conference talk, “Trusting the Doctrine of Christ,” and this September’s “Come, Follow Me” lesson on “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” in 2 Corinthians 11.

Download September 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6)

You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drugstore prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them.

September 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Message

2 Corinthians 11 – The simplicity that is in Christ

Stoats look small and cute, but don’t be deceived. They are skilled hunters, taking down prey larger than themselves with a single bite to the neck.

Stoats belong to the same family as weasels. Their keen sense of smell helps them identify prey over long distances. They are relentless in their hunt; methodically zig-zagging back and forth, looking in holes, and climbing up trees. When pursuing their prey, they can run up to 20 miles an hour. They hunt without mercy, often killing more than they need for food.

Stoats love to hunt rabbits, but it is hard to outrun a rabbit. So stoats have an extra trick up their sleeve – dancing. The stoat will erratically dart all over in a kind of frenzied dance. The stoat leaps, flips, spins, and rolls around. All the movement hypnotizes the rabbit and it doesn’t know how to respond. The rabbit freezes in place while the stoat slowly inches closer with each flip and leap. When it gets close enough, the stoat makes one final and fatal leap.

The dance also helps the stoat decide which animal in the group will be easiest to catch. Observing how the rabbits respond to the dance, the stoat can zero in on the one with the slowest reflexes and who is least likely to run.

Our Stoats

Much like the stoat’s hypnotic dance, the adversary seeks to distract us. The world bombards us with temptations, contradictory philosophies, and doubts. Satan studies our responses and identifies our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He inches closer and closer. With all the distractions and noise, it is easy for us to miss one simple truth. We are being hunted.

In the face of a direct attack, we are likely to flee. But if Satan can distract us, he can get close enough to strike.

Corinthian Stoats

During Paul’s time, the city of Corinth had a reputation for being immoral. It was known for prostitution, debauchery, and idolatry. In fact, the Greek word “Korinthiazomai” means to act like an immoral person from Corinth.

Paul ministered in Corinth for about a year and a half, converting both Jews and Gentiles. After he left, he continued to direct church affairs through letters.

In those letters, we see many of the obstacles the saints faced at the time. The saints struggled to live their faith while surrounded by a society given to idol worship and immoral practices. Something as simple as whether or not to eat meat could lead to a complicated discussion of whether that meat had been part of a sacrifice to an idol and how eating it could impact the testimony of those around them. Christians also struggled to balance old Jewish practices with new expectations for Gentile converts.

On top of that, many false teachers came after Paul left. They tried to convince the saints that they were better than Paul and that Paul wasn’t a real apostle. Unfortunately, the saints were quick to allow the false teachings. They also struggled to differentiate between the guidance of the Holy Ghost and the deceptions of the adversary.

For the Corinthians, the dance of the stoat included false teachings, pressures to fit in, complicated expectations, confusion, cultural tensions, and temptation.

Paul vs. Stoats

Although the stoat’s dance is complicated, Paul knew the solution was simple. He wrote to them, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Like the stoat, the adversary has always been subtle, relentless, merciless, and methodical. But the solution is liberatingly simple. We must focus on the doctrine of Christ.

Doctrine of Christ

Elder Evan A. Schmutz in his April 2023 General Conference talk, “Trusting the Doctrine of Christ,” identifies what the doctrine of Christ includes. It is “faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

When we focus on those basics, the rest comes into focus. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “If you ever think that the gospel isn’t working so well for you, I invite you to step back, look at your life from a higher plane, and simplify your approach to discipleship. Focus on the basic doctrines, principles, and applications of the gospel. I promise that God will guide and bless you on your path to a fulfilling life, and the gospel will definitely work better for you” (“It Works Wonderfully!,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 22).

In his talk, Elder Schmutz teaches that we overcome the world only when we trust in the doctrine of Christ. He says, “If we trust the doctrine of Christ, we will set aside the shiny things of the world so that we can focus on the Redeemer of the world. We will limit or eliminate time spent on social media; digital games; wasteful, excessive, or inappropriate entertainment; the allure of this world’s treasures and vanities; and any other activities that give place to the false traditions and misguided philosophies of men. It is only in Christ we find truth and lasting fulfillment.”

We will all encounter the stoat’s dance. And the adversary will tailor it to our weaknesses. But we can move forward and out of danger by turning to “the simplicity that is in Christ.”

September 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Handout

I was thinking of doing the printable with a stoat on it, but without the context nobody would know what the Doctrine of Christ has to do with a stoat. So I went with something shiny instead.

I love these clear boxes for adding candy to. I have some people who I minister who have kids, so I made one with Skittles. But I also minister to some empty nesters who are trying to cut back on sugar. So I like to do dark chocolate with nuts. Dark chocolate is practically a health food, right?

Did you like this Septemeber 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.

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