Getting to Know Christ
A few days ago I accepted a friend request on FB of someone I had never met before. What a strange world we live in when we can make friends with someone whom we’ve never seen. The woman I “friended” needed some advice about homeschooling teenagers, so she messaged me and we chatted for awhile. It was kinda fun to “meet” someone and get to know them through such awesome technology. I also REALLY like Pinterest. My favorite board that I’ve created has different paintings and portrayals of Jesus Christ. I love to scroll the art and feel like I know my Savior even though I don’t remember actually meeting Him in person.
Technology really is amazing. Making friends and seeing beautiful art has helped me create relationships with different people. Technology reminds me that I want those personal relationships and not just with people here but also with my Savior…. Technology helps me to remember that Jesus isn’t just a character in a great book. He is the creator of this Earth. He is someone who knew us before we were born. He loves us and has a deep, personal interest in how we’re doing. He wants us to know Him as well as He knows us. I want to get to know my Savior better, but how do we get to know someone we don’t remember meeting in person? How can I have a close relationship with Him now?
President James E. Faust once said, “Having a close relationship to our Savior can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with God.”
We should earnestly seek not just to know about Jesus Christ, but to strive, as He invited, to become one with Him, to be “strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph 3:16).
1. So… I decided that the first step to getting to know my Savior is to gather some factual knowledge about Him. I needed to study “out of the best books” daily. In other words: Study my scriptures!
How important, would you say, sleep is to you?
I am a person who tends to *need* sleep like I need oxygen...a lot. I love sleep, I crave sleep. I should probably learn to live on less sleep, but it is my thing!
Then I read Elder Scott’s General Conference talk…. I wasn’t sure I read his quote right and had to re-read it to make sure I understood it. He said, “Don't yield to Satan's lie that you don't have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"
Say What? Well, even in his kind and gentle way, Elder Scott really is blunt. Scripture study is more important than sleep. And therefore I need to do it. I need to learn about the Savior. I need to make my relationship with Him more meaningful, even if it means giving up some of my precious sleep.
The best place to find knowledge about Jesus Christ is the scriptures. I’ve found when I read about Him, and ponder what I’ve read. I learn a lot about my Messiah. I even like to journal as I read so that I can record everything I learn about Him.
I’ve also found modern day scriptures helpful in learning about the Savior. The official church website has a plethora of articles about Jesus Christ. I love reading the thoughts of church leaders on Christ. Their testimonies build mine. Their stories and thoughts help me apply those insights into my own life, and makes my relationship with Christ closer.
2. Of course, information about Jesus Christ isn’t enough. It creates a knowledgeable person, but it doesn’t create a personal relationship. To have a personal relationship, you must have daily communication also.
I talk to my mom EVERY day. (Or at least every other day if – one of us is extremely busy.) Our daily communication has been a blessing in my life. My mom has given me good advice, listened when I needed her, and laughed over funny stories I’ve shared. In turn, I’ve also been able to let her know how much I value our relationship. My mom and I use phones to talk since she lives so far away.
I can’t call my Savior. But He has made it possible for me to use an even better form of communication to talk to my Heavenly Father through Him. Prayer! Daily prayer has brought me closer to Jesus Christ, like my phone calls to my mother has brought us closer. There have been times when I, like Nephi, have watered my pillow with my tears during prayer as I’ve come to realize how much I value His relationship with me. As I pray, I try to think of Him as being close by. I know that He loves me. He has compassion for me. He’s willing to help me in my times of need.
3. Daily selfless service to others also helps our relationship with the Savior.
I have come to learn over the years that God gets his work accomplished through other people. We are all angels to each other in helping along in this life and when the chips are down or we experience a trial, others within our family or close friends can help. And when we do serve others, I have felt closer to my Heavenly Father.
I LOVE the musical “My Turn on Earth.” Throughout the show, Barbara is looking for a treasure to take home to her Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. She discovers that the treasure she is looking for is love and serving others. She even quotes Matthew at the end of the musical, “inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these…, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40)
Service to others doesn’t have to be a whole day affair; it can be a helpful hand opening a door, a smile, (especially if they are experiencing trials) a listening ear, an “I care” card for the downtrodden. There are a number of simple things to do for others besides a more time consuming service such as bringing baked goods to work or hosting a homeless person at your house.
A song from church reminds me of this idea. “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?” This is a song I need to sing daily – to remind me to think of others before myself. And in so doing I am building my relationship stronger with my Brother.
4. The final step to building a relationship with Jesus Christ is, of course, to do His will. We need to daily strive for increased obedience and perfection in our lives.
If we’re studying and praying, but then doing anything we want, our relationship with Him is empty and meaningless. Jesus told his disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience is important in developing a personal relationship with Christ.
I was reading President Monson’s talk “Obedience Brings Blessings” from April 2013 General Conference. Not only will we build a closer relationship to our Savior from being obedient, but I discovered 25 other blessings from being obedient. I’ll list them quick:
1. Receiving truth
2. Receiving light
3. A simpler life
4. Answers to our greatest questions
5. Successful navigation through our often-treacherous mortal existence
7. Physical safety
8. Spiritual safety
11. The privilege of eating the good of the land of Zion in these last days
14. Feeling worthy to be with the Saints and servants of God
15. The capacity to be touched and moved by others’ faithful acts
16. Preparing to be comfortable in heaven
17. Becoming an inspiration to all who know us
18. Our seed will bless all nations of the earth
19. Blessing untold generations
20. Receiving a blessing at the hands of Christ.
21. Glorification in truth
22. Coming to know all things
23. A fullness (of the Spirit of truth)
24. Eternal salvation
See? Twenty-five blessings! Obedience is a big deal! We really can become closer to our Heavenly Father and the Savior by being obedient.
Just like I made a new friend a few weeks ago on FB, I can “friend” my Savior too. I can learn about Him and His teachings through the scriptures. I can develop a close relationship with Him, like I do with my mom, by communicating with Him daily. I can serve others and know what I do for them, I do for Him. And I can keep His commandments. I’m grateful I can get to know the Savior and develop a relationship with Him so that someday when I get to meet my Divine Friend, I will know Him and He will know me. I hope we can all do the things we need to do in order to draw closer to our Elder Brother…. Testimony