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Thursday, February 28, 2013

MMM Sermons: What Thinks Christ of Me?

by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most (non)Christians call them sermons. This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine.

Read or watch the sermon.

What thinks Christ of me? I think that is the most defining interrogatory we could ask ourselves. What thinks Jesus Christ about me, about how I live my life, about how I treat my wife, my children, my friends, my enemies? What thinks Christ of the tone and topic of my conversation, with what I write and share and "like?" What thinks Christ of the things that course through my mind minute by minute? What thinks Christ of me at this moment in my progression, in my coming unto Him?

When I am honest in my self-reflection, I recognize many holes in my becoming like Christ. I sometimes feel like a Swiss cheese Mormon, working on this weakness or that failing.

Thankfully, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares an Apostle's insight about spiritual progression:

Jesus's call "Come, follow me" is not only for those prepared to compete in a spiritual Olympics. In fact, discipleship is not a competition at all but an invitation to all. Our journey of discipleship is not a dash around the track, nor is it fully comparable to a lengthy marathon. In truth, it is a lifelong migration toward a more celestial world.

The road to discipleship is a long and winding one but a worthwhile path to be on. As Elder Andersen notes:

Wherever you now find yourself on the road of discipleship, you are on the right road, the road toward eternal life. Together we can lift and strengthen one another in the great and important days ahead. Whatever the difficulties confronting us, the weaknesses confining us, or the impossibilities surrounding us, let us have faith in the Son of God, who declared, "All things are possible to him that believeth."

When I was first baptized, I remember striving to jump from living a very telestial-type of life to a celestial change. Unfortunately, trying to leap frog progressive steps on the road of discipleship left me frustrated and feeling weak many times as I failed to keep little and big commandments.

However, in a class at BYU titled Working and Relationships in the Home no less, I had an epiphany where I realized that I needed to follow the steps of discipleship progression in coming unto Christ – from being telestial and law of the jungle in my thoughts, words, and deeds to being terrestrial and law of Moses in that I accepted Christ and learned His teachings so that my thoughts, words, and deeds were in harmony with what He taught.

Growing up as an atheist, I definitely needed to spend some time with the scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets and apostles to learn for myself what Christ actually taught. From there, becoming celestial or living the law of Christ and being valiant in my testimony of Christ requires more dedication, more sanctification, more purification, more cleansing of self from self and focusing on serving God and others. Celestial living concerns consecration, obedience, sacrifice, chastity, and purity. I'm learning more about this process and progression every day, realizing that becoming like Christ relies more upon my relationship with Christ, believing in Him and believing Him, i.e. His teachings, His example, His motives, His mercy, than in only joining His Church and attending meetings.

I feel that Elder Andersen is tapping into this topic when he said:

I testify that as you love Him, trust Him, believe Him, and follow Him, you will feel His love and approval. As you ask, "What thinks Christ of me?" you will know that you are His disciple; you are His friend. By His grace He will do for you what you cannot do for yourself.   . . .

I witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He suffered and died for our sins and rose the third day. He is resurrected. In a future day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ. On that day, our concern will not be, "Do others consider me Christian?" At that time, our eyes will be fixed on Him, and our souls will be riveted on the question, "What thinks Christ of me?" He lives.

And because Jesus Christ lives, the answer to that defining interrogatory makes all the difference.

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