Thursday, July 12, 2012

What Thinks Christ of Me?

In all of life's challenges and trials, it isn't too often that I wonder what Christ would say to me if I stood before Him, although that moment of deep realization has hit me before, and more than once. I have felt at times deep sorrow and regret and unworthy to be in his presence, and at other times, I have felt comfortable that I am doing the best I can.

In speaking of discipleship, Elder Andersen said this "Being a disciple in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout the eternities." It is promises like these that can give us a sense of hope for the future, but also sometimes a sense of present sadness, knowing that perhaps the promised badge of honor will only come in the eternities. So how does someone continue to be happy and excited about present circumstances of life when the promised blessings aren't being realized today and maybe won't until this mortal life is over?

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague of mine about a woman who's husband was addicted to pornography. She came to the Twelve step program the Church has with her husband and was always so cheerful and optimistic, although this disease was something that for some people will be a life long fight. What is it about people like this woman that can, in the midst of terrible circumstances, remain positive for that badge of honor in the afterlife? How can someone so deeply hurt change the way they think and feel even though the situation remains the same? Maybe for those people, they not only positively and with conviction can answer the Saviors question of "What think ye of Christ", but can also with certainty and confidence can answer affirmatively when asked "What thinks Christ of me?"

Elder Andersen said the following that might help,

"His invitation is a call to daily duty. Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” We may not be at our very best every day, but if we are trying, Jesus’s bidding is full of encouragement and hope: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Elder Faust gave some insight that might be the best answer I have seen.

"Our love of God must be pure, without selfish intent. The pure love ofChrist must be the motive in our devotion." (Where Do I Make My Stand, October 2004, CR)

I love the principle taught, "if we are trying, Jesus's bidding is full of encouragement and hope. All we have to do is try. I think for most of us we try to hard to be perfect and hope is devastated when we don't measure up. Maybe it's not about 'measuring up' to what we think we ought to be, but measuring up to 'what Christ thinks of us'. With the Savior as our standard, even as we fall short, his invitation to come to him and he will give us rest, certainly is the encouragement we need.

I also love what Elder Andersen said about the call to 'daily duty'. There is probably not a better way to stay more focused on the Savior than when it is a daily effort to ask ourselves, "what thinks Christ of me?" It is in the daily efforts of 'keeping his commandments' not because we desire the blessings we think we deserve, but because we love Him.

Elder Faust said the following,

"To find happiness and joy, no matter what comes, we must make our stand unequivocally with the Lord."
Maybe those happy people who are so positive in any circumstances just simply love God enough to follow him regardless of the outcome. We become happy not because we have everything we need and all the relationships in our life are superb. When we become one with Christ, that relationship becomes the source of everlasting light and joy. Maybe that is why God allows such challenges and trials in our lives. He wants to know if we know what our motivation is to follow him. He knows us well enough to know what we will choose and the intents of our hearts, but it is a scary thing for us to figure out us. When we come to really know ourselves and what our intent is in worshiping the Savior, we can stand back and be amazed at our love for Christ or we can negatively shrink away from responsibility when hardships arise. 

Perhaps a better question might be "What thinks me of me?"

Coming to know the Savior will help us discover ourselves. What Christ thinks of us as we approach him in our daily prayer and scripture study will help us see our own weakness. I know I have felt his tremendously. I am so far from perfect.

The cool thing is this though, and I can personally testify that this principle is true, is that when you finally do come to that moment of spiritually standing before the Savior and recognizing your insignificance and unworthiness, something happens. As bad as you feel and as humiliated as you are, there is an overwhelming feeling of pure love from Christ. It's almost as if he says, "I know you are unworthy and you are a sinful person. I know exactly who you are, and I love you still." I can't really explain in words what that feels like, except it is such a relief and a burden lifter. The love of the Savior is so real. After that experience, I could look at myself and say, "I know who I really am now, and I still love myself, because He loves me so purely." You start to see others differently, and realize that no one, not even those people you think are perfect, really are perfect. You don't see their faults, you just know that everyone is working hard and everyone has their own problems and weaknesses. But you know Christ loves them just as much as he loves you.

In our efforts to be less judgmental (and I am the biggest culprit #1), let us see others as Christ sees them. Let us love them as Christ loves them. He does implore us to "pray with all the energy of our hearts" so that we can be "filled with this love....that we may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is..." (Moroni7:48)

If I am like him, what he thinks of me, will be what I think of myself. We will know in that day, who we are, and we can know in this day, who we are. Do we wear that badge of honor as a disciple of Christ in these turbulent days where we are "moving away “from that which is spiritual … [with] the winds of change [swirling] around us and the moral fiber of society [continuing] to disintegrate before our very eyes.”? (President Monson,)

What will it take to be that disciple? Elder Andersen said that "Wherever you now find yourself on the road of discipleship, you are on the right road, the road toward eternal life." Isn't that neat to think of that. Wherever we are, we are heading for the kingdom. And everyone along the way can help us!


What thinks Christ of me? He absolutely loves me, that I know for sure. And it isn't because I am a perfect little Mormon boy. It is in my imperfection as a husband and father, that the Savior reaches out those loving arms and takes me in like a 'hen gathereth her chickens', and lets me not only know, but feel of his powerful love. I love this perfect being. I hope he thinks I'm doing my best, and not for me, but for him, and for the love that I have for my Heavenly Father. I want to love like they love and serve like they serve. My humble prayer is for the Atonement to change me everyday, to become like Christ.

2 comments:

  1. Another great post Shon! Full of testimony and a wonderful spirit. Your questions really get me thinking on pondering, thank you :)... inspired.

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    1. Thank you. Thanks for reading this blog!

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