Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Becoming More Christlike

                Jesus Christ set a perfect example for us and then commanded us to follow it.  He was perfect in faith, hope, charity, patience, humility, purity, diligence, obedience, and every other Godlike characteristic.  When we learn of Jesus Christ and seek to become like Him, we will become just as He and our Father in Heaven would have us be.

                Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about the challenge to become like Christ.  “From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts – what we have done.  It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts – what we have become.  It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions.  The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. 

                “A parable illustrates this understanding.  A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted.  The father said to his child:
                “`All that I have I desire to give you not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men.  That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself.  You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived.  I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature.  Follow my example, mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.’ 

                “This parable parallels the pattern of heaven.  The gospel of Jesus Christ promises the incomparable inheritance of eternal life, the fulness of the Father, and reveals the laws and principles by which it can be obtained.
                “We qualify for eternal life through a process of conversion.  As used here, this word of many meanings signifies not just a convincing but a profound change if nature.  Jesus used this meaning when He taught His chief Apostle the difference between a testimony and a conversion.  Jesus asked His disciples, `Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’ (Matthew 16:13).  Next He asked, `But whom say ye that I am?”  (“The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, October 2000).  

                We must do more than simply check items off our to-do list; we must change.  We must become as Christ is in order to go where He is.  The first Christlike characteristic we must develop is humility enough to turn to Him.  Then we can decide on the next quality by counseling with the Lord.

                Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles discussed how Christians must become more Christian.  “This change, called conversion, is possible only through the Savior.  Jesus promised:  `If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness….  And my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.’ As we are made new in Christ, our very natures change and we no longer want to go back to our old ways.

                “For many, the call to be a Christian can seem demanding, even overwhelming.  But we need not be afraid or feel inadequate.  The Savior promised that He will make us equal to His work.  `Follow me,’ He said, `and I will make you fishers of men.’  As we follow Him, He blesses us with gifts, talents, and the strength to do His will, allowing us to go beyond our comfort zones and do things we’ve never before thought possible.  This may mean sharing the gospel with neighbors, rescuing those who are spiritually lost, serving a full-time mission, working in the temple, raising a child with special needs, loving the prodigal, serving an ailing companion, enduring misunderstandings, or suffering affliction.  It means preparing ourselves to answer His enduring misunderstandings, or suffering affliction.  It means preparing ourselves to answer His call by saying, `I’ll go where you want me to go; I’ll say what you want me to say; I’ll do what you want me to do; I’ll be what you want me to be.’

                “To be who Heavenly Father wants us to be, we follow Jesus Christ.  I testify that He is continually calling us to follow Him.  If you are just learning about the Christian commitment of Latter-day Saints or if you have not been fully participating in the Church and want to follow Him again – fear not!  The Lord’s first disciples were all new members of the Church, newly converted to His gospel.  Jesus patiently taught each one.  He helped them fulfill their responsibilities.  He called them His friends and laid down His life for them.  And He has already done the same for you and for me.”  ((“Being a More Christian Christian," Ensign, October 2012) 

                Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each one of us and desire us to be with them for all eternity.  In order to go where they are, we must become like them.  We can become like them by following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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