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, July 15, 2017

Be One

            The visiting teaching message for July 2017 is “That They May Be One.” This is an excellent topic for sisters to discuss, but it is also good for all ages. Hence, I am including the message on my blog.

            We read the thoughts of Jesus Christ on this topic in John 17:20-21: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

            How did Jesus Christ become like Heavenly Father? He did the things that Heavenly Father wanted Him to do. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following. 

Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both flesh and spirit, to the will of the Father.

… Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make Their will and interest our greatest desire. Such submissiveness is not reached in a day, but through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will tutor us if we are willing until, in process of time, it may accurately be said that He is in us as the Father is in Him. (See “That They May Be One in Us,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 72, 73).

            Elder Christofferson also reminded us that “as we endeavor day by day and week by week to follow the path of Christ, our spirit asserts its preeminence, the battle within subsides, and temptations cease to trouble.” (See “That They May Be One in Us,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 71.) In other words, we cannot achieve this oneness immediately.

            Sister Linda K. Burton, former Relief Society General President, explained what we need to do in order to work toward this unity: “Making and keeping our covenants is an expression of our commitment to become like the Savior. The ideal is to strive for the attitude best expressed in a few phrases of a favorite hymn: `I’ll go where you want me to go. … I’ll say what you want me to say. … I’ll be what you want me to be.’” (See “The Power,Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 111.) 

            When we make sacred covenants with God, He expects us to keep those covenants. As we keep them, He blesses us and gives us power to keep our covenants to a greater degree. It is by continually striving to keep our covenants that we become like Heavenly Father and Christ.

            Neill f. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, testifies of the blessings that come from aligning our will with God’s will: “I have struggled to banish the mortal desire to have things my way, eventually realizing that my way is oh so lacking, limited, and inferior to the way of Jesus Christ. `His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come’ [“The Living Christ”; emphasis added].” (See “Yielding Our Hearts to God,” Ensign, Nov. 2015, 32.) 

            How does doing the will of God help us to become more like Him? As we go the places that Christ would go, say the words that Christ would say, and do the works that Christ would do, we will become more like Him. As we strive to humbly align our will with that of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, let us remember that the Savior showed us the way to true unity. I know that we can align our will with that of Heavenly Father, but we cannot expect to do so suddenly or overnight. It is the work of a lifetime.

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