Here’s another expansion on something I said. Something else that helps me think about how to become like Christ in my own life. Again, writing it down so I don’t forget.
My dad died on January 13, 2003. A Monday. His funeral was that Saturday. January 18.
At the funeral, everyone knew who we were. His kids. His family. I didn’t know these people like they knew me. I realized how much his family had been his life. His purpose.
He worked. But his dedication and devotion was to his family and to his church responsibilities.
Naturally, I wanted to be with him. To go where I know he went. I wanted to be reunited with him. (Still do.) There’s a relationship there. Love. A bond. Connection. I had no doubt that he had made it to heaven. I wanted to live like he did, so I could go where he went. I spent a lot of time thinking about wanting to be with him again.
I remember one night some weeks later I was in the car near my apartment. In Alexandria, Va. On Duke St. Near the intersection with Jordan Ave. I think it was raining. I remember noticing the lights of the little strip mall at that intersection.
Suddenly, right there at that intersection I realized that the relationship I had with my dad is like the relationship I’m supposed to have with my Savior. I need to cultivate the bond/love/connection so I’ll want to follow him and do what he did. Just like I wanted to follow my dad. It needs to be like the relationship a child has with a loving parent.
That’s how the scriptures describe it.
In Mosiah 5. After King Benjamin’s sermon, his people believe in his words and want to enter into a covenant with God. Here’s what KB says.
Verse 7. And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
We can understand that relationship because we have parents or are parents.
So what is the covenant that they made? What do we have to do to be spiritually born of Christ?
Verse 5. And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days…
That is the covenant not only for being spiritually reborn. I believe it also describes how to become like Christ. He likewise covenanted to do God’s will, to obey the commandments. In all things. All of his days.
Here are some examples from the Book of Mormon and the New Testament.
2 Neph 31 talks about why Jesus Christ was baptized.
Verse 7. Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
Luke 22 describes Christ’s suffering in Gethsamane.
Verses 41-42. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
3 Nephi 11 describes Christ’s visit to the people in the Americas after His Resurrection.
Verse 11. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
Those and many more scriptures explain how Christ was faithful to the covenant from Mosiah 5:5.
If we want to become like Christ, we need to make and keep that covenant. Do God’s will. Be obedient to commandments. In all things. Whatever it is He asks of us. All of our lives. Do that, and you do what Christ did.
We don’t have to work mighty miracles or take upon us the sins of others. Maybe that goes without saying. Or maybe it doesn’t. Our lives don’t have to be extraordinary (as the world might define it). We just need to be dedicated to keeping that covenant in whatever boring or exciting circumstance we are in.
In “A Mighty Change of Heart” (October 1989 Ensign First Presidency Message), President Ezra Taft Benson said: Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible.
Christ also grew and learned as he prepared to fulfill His role as our Savior and Redeemer.
Doctrine & Covenants 93:11-13. And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
Luke 2:52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
So this bottom-line keep-your-covenants method of becoming like Christ takes time.
But we can do it.
D&C 64:33. Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
That great thing is becoming like Christ and being ready to live in His presence again.
Let’s go back to my dad. I learned about the kind of relationship I want to have with my Savior. But I also learned that my dad had spent his life “becoming like Christ” because he had spent his life – until the very end – trying on a daily basis to be true to that covenant.
Maybe before today, you hadn’t heard of my dad. He lived a quiet life. He didn’t do any “great” and amazing things. He went to work. He fulfilled his callings. He loved his family.
And probably for him the growth and change was slow. Almost imperceptible. But when all was said and done, what an extraordinary life it was.