Saturday, January 17, 2015

Robert D. Hales on becoming better Christians

Elder Hales (1932- ) served as a Seventy from 1976 to 1985, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  In this wonderful address, he discusses what it means to be a Christian — a disciple of Jesus Christ.  And he encourages us to be "more Christian Christians" by striving to emulate Christlike qualities.
"I testify that through His infinite love and grace, we can become more Christian Christians. Consider the following Christlike qualities. How are we doing in strengthening them within ourselves?
"Christian love. The Savior valued everyone. Kind and compassionate to all, He left the ninety and nine to find the one (see Matthew 18:12–14), for 'even the very hairs of [our] head are... numbered' (Luke 12:7) to Him.
"Christian faith. Despite temptations, trials, and persecutions, the Savior trusted our Heavenly Father and chose to be faithful and obedient to His commandments.
"Christian sacrifice. Throughout His life the Savior gave of His time, His energy, and ultimately, through the Atonement, gave Himself so that all of God's children could be resurrected and have the opportunity to inherit eternal life.
"Christian caring. Like the good Samaritan, the Savior was continually reaching out to rescue, love, and nurture people around Him, regardless of their culture, creed, or circumstances.
"Christian service. Whether drawing water from a well, cooking a meal of fish, or washing dusty feet, the Savior spent His days serving others--lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak.
"Christian patience. In His own sorrow and suffering, the Savior waited upon His Father. With patience for us, He waits upon us to come to ourselves and come home to Him.
"Christian peace. Throughout His ministry He urged understanding and promoted peace. Especially among His disciples, He taught that Christians cannot contend with other Christians, notwithstanding their differences.
"Christian forgiveness. He taught us to bless those who curse us. He showed us the way by praying that those who crucified Him would be forgiven.
"Christian conversion. Like Peter and Andrew, many recognize the truth of the gospel as soon as they hear it. They are instantly converted. For others it may take longer. In a revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Savior taught, 'That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day' (D&C 50:24), the perfect day of our conversion. Jesus Christ is 'the light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth' (D&C 93:9).
"Christian endurance to the end. In all His days, the Savior never gave up doing His Father's will but continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth to the end of His mortal life."
- Robert D. Hales, "Being a More Christian Christian," Ensign, November 2012, pp. 90-92.  Click here to read the full talk
"How are we doing in strengthening [these qualities] within ourselves?"

I love this "checklist"! It's beneficial to consider each item and see where I can focus more effort. If we are becoming more Christian Christians, we'll see the evidence in our attitudes, in our priorities, in our relationships, in our thoughts, and especially in our actions and deeds.

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