Orlando Scandrick Jersey Our relationship with Jesus: Where does it stand? | www.LdsCoaching.com
  Our relationship with Jesus: Where does it stand?
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Our relationship with Jesus: Where does it stand?

This past Sunday in our sacrament service, we had the opportunity to listen to a member of our stake presidency. He shared insightful comments on becoming a true disciple of our Savior, some portions of which he credited to Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

Although many good points were made, there was something in particular that stood out. He spoke of the four stages of "steady improvement" in becoming a true disciple.

The first stage is the acknowledgment of the Savior: meaning that we know that he is the Son of God -- that he came into this world in a physical form, taught the gospel, healed the sick and afflicted, resurrected the dead and performed many mighty miracles. That he paid for our sins with the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross.

We also acknowledge that he was resurrected in three days and continued to teach until he went back to heaven to reside on the right hand of his Father forever. In our spiritual development as Christians, most of us can agree and have gained a knowledge that these things are true. We know that our Redeemer lives.

The second stage is an admiration of the Lord. This goes beyond a mere acknowledgement of his existence to actually becoming an admirer of his life.

I cannot think of a single act, or phrase that is not worthy of our admiration. The way he handled the poor, the sinners, the powerful, the rulers, the widows, the lepers, the apostles, basically everyone he came in contact with.

Ever since I was a little boy, when I read the Greek version of the New Testament, I found myself being drawn to him. It was a limited, even elementary understanding of Jesus' teachings, but I remember how I felt. A warm, loving and comforting feeling that basically said, "all is well ... don't be afraid ... I love you!"

Over the years, my life took many twists and turns, and it eventually led me to the restored gospel. Even in my darkest hours, however, that admiration has never ceased.

The third stage along the path is an adoration of the Lord. This is a stage that I'm having some difficulty understanding fully. What does it mean to "adore" him in real practical terms? How would we behave differently as a result of having those feelings etched in our hearts?

Clearly I have much room to improve and gain a further understanding of what "adoring him" looks like. It must be a deeper level of closeness. When we adore someone in our lives, we feel a greater amount of intimacy and love towards that person. We can admire someone from afar, but in order to adore them, we must also get to truly know them.

How can we get to know him better? What steps do we need to take today to form such a close relationship with him? Having daily heartfelt prayers and more meaningful scripture study is a great start!

The fourth and final stage is to emulate him in all our endeavors. Although this stage seems the hardest, in some ways, it is also easier to comprehend. Think of the common phrase amongst many Christians that has also become a bestselling bracelet. It has the letters WWJD, meaning, "What Would Jesus Do?"

This one is straightforward, although not as easy as it sounds. If we approached every relationship or situation at work, school or home and really thought about those four words, how would we choose to respond? The Lord's way would be with love, with patience, with understanding, with comfort, with forgiveness, with gentleness and kindness and without judgment.

In essence then, every time we choose to act in this manner (instead of just reacting with our first impulses), we are emulating the Savior. We all have opportunities to do so every single day of our lives. Even if we are isolated or bedridden with little interaction with others, we can still choose to have forgiveness in our hearts, purity in our thoughts and love for one another.

Our speaker promoted the idea that there's an opportunity for steady improvement in our desire to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. It is a lifelong process that moves from an acknowledgment, to admiration, to a deeper connection through adoration to finally acting and therefore emulating him.

The path is ours to take and it will take a lifetime, but the results will be out of this world: richer relationships, a deeper commitment to the gospel, more peace of mind and more love in our hearts.