Sunday, August 16, 2015

Jesus Christ = Peace

From October 2014 to February 2015 I wrote 5 articles focusing entirely on our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I was doing so in order to help myself come to know Him better.  The whole reason I even began to blog more often as of last year was because of how much I learned in preparing a talk for sacrament meeting, how much closer I felt to my Father in Heaven and His perfect Son.  Throughout the next little while I'll be revisiting this idea and seeking to come to know my Savior even better and hopefully help someone else in the process with 5 more entries purely about Him.

Memes are so ubiquitous on the internet now that much of society seems to remember things better when they associate it with a meme.  I saw one the other day that had a donkey and an elephant (representing those political parties) and it said that neither the donkey or the elephant can save America, but rather the Lamb, meaning of course, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy One.  Whether He does or lets America suffer the consequences of it's laws, He is still the only one who can bring us joy and peace even in the very moments where we face the most difficult challenges.  So for this entry:

#1 Jesus Christ = Peace

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Savior's peace is the chapter in the Book of Mormon where they were in the middle of a war and Mormon still says "But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges."  Wait.  Why?  How could they be so happy in the middle of this war when so much around them was going wrong?  What warranted this peace in their hearts amid so much chaos and conflict?

The answer is simple.  They were focused and immovable in their love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My wife recently learned the song "Live Like You Believe" by Jenny Phillips.  Part of the lyrics go like this:

Live like you believe
Live like you know
it's one sure way
your faith will grow
Listen to your heart
search in your soul
and you'll find the strength that you need
His light the gift of His peace
when you live like you believe.

This illustrates in more detail why the Nephites in the Book of Mormon felt His peace in the middle of tribulation like that.  They lived the way the Savior taught.  God's counsel to the Nephites, through prophets, was not just a good coping mechanism to get by in times of trouble.  It was woven into the very fragments of their souls, engraved in their countenances if you will.  The very model they used for their behaviors, choices and way of life, their whole motivation behind what they thought, said and did was the love of God and His Holy Son.  When they lived like they believed, not even a gruesome war could rob them of the peace of the Savior.

At our most recent Stake Conference this month (August 2015), I had the privilege of playing the piano for a musical number sung by Sister Gayle Nantais (permission granted to use her name) called The Master's Voice.  Some of the lyrics go: "Abide in me, the Savior said, Walk with me in meekness and be blessed, He taught them on the mountain, He taught them by the sea, In word and deed He taught them and He said, Come, follow me..."

I had to regain my composure a bit after reading that while playing because the Spirit spoke to me a special message.  Jesus did not let the location where He taught affect the Spirit of His message.  He can teach us anywhere, anytime, in any circumstance He wants provided He sees we are ready to receive it.  I had a very strong impression that I needed to supplement my efforts to endure well and always seek the influence of the Holy Ghost through difficulty with something more.  I learned that I need to go beyond learning how to cope in hardship and actually seek to allow my trials to be sanctified for my good as the Lord sees fit, to respond to them with meekness, patience, faith and love.  That's not an easy thing for anyone to do, but I know that I will be blessed as I ask for Father in Heaven to take my afflictions and the pains I feel for those I love and sanctify them for my good that I may become more like Him through Christ.  It will become a pleasure for me to ask, as Elder Bednar encouraged, "Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?"

This, I believe, will result in peace of mind even right in the middle of difficulty and an even greater capacity to feel the full joy of the love of the Lord.

The peace of Jesus Christ in our minds and hearts is not dependent upon circumstance or other people but, rather, upon our willingness to consecrate our pains and afflictions to His work and respond to them - in thought, word and deed - like Christ would as much as we can.  His atonement provides peace in cleansing from the effects of sin, healing, inspiration, eternal perspective and change in our natures.

One last thing to wrap this up.  I won't try to do it justice with my own words, so here is the video.

No matter your circumstances, Jesus Christ = Peace.

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