- A grand objective of mortality is not merely learning about the Only Begotten of the Father but also striving to know Him. Four essential steps that can help us come to know the Lord are exercising faith in Him, following Him, serving Him, and believing Him.
Exercising Faith in Him
- The exercise of faith in Jesus Christ is relying upon His merits, mercy, and grace. We begin to come to know the Savior as we arouse our spiritual faculties and experiment upon His teachings, even until we can give place in our souls for a portion of His words. As our faith in the Lord increases, we trust in Him and have confidence in His power to redeem, heal, and strengthen us.
Exercising our faith in Him leads us to making correct choices and our actions align with those choices. Our actions allow us to receive his Spirit and put on in alignment with His will.
- True faith is focused in and on the Lord and always leads to righteous action.
- Learning and applying in our lives the doctrine of Christ is a prerequisite to receiving the gift of faith in Him.
- Exercising faith in the Lord is a necessary preparation for following Him.
- The Savior has admonished us to become as He is. Thus, following the Lord includes emulating Him. We continue to come to know the Lord as we seek through the power of His Atonement to become like Him.
- Following the Savior also enables us to receive “an actual knowledge that the course of life [we are] pursuing” is in accordance with God’s will. Such knowledge is not an unknowable mystery and is not focused primarily upon our temporal pursuits or ordinary mortal concerns. Rather, steady and sustained progress along the covenant pathway is the course of life that is pleasing to Him.
- We more fully come to know the Lord as we serve Him and labor in His kingdom. As we do so, He generously blesses us with heavenly help, spiritual gifts, and increased capacity. We are never left alone as we work in His vineyard.
- Serving Him requires all of our heart, might, mind, and strength. Consequently, selflessly serving others counteracts the self-centered and selfish tendencies of the natural man. We grow to love those whom we serve. And because serving others is serving God, we grow to love Him and our brothers and sisters more deeply. Such love is a manifestation of the spiritual gift of charity, even the pure love of Christ.
- We often testify of what we know to be true, but perhaps the more relevant question for each of us is whether we believe what we know.
Elder Bednar points out that we can do all the prior steps and still not believe personally that the Savior's atonement applies to us individually. We tend to be much harder on ourselves instead of others. We easily believe that the atonement can apply to the more terrible sins a person can make, but the day to day mistake we make are so far outside the atonement's grasp that we can't see how the Savior could forgive us personally.
- We believe and come to know the Lord as the key of the knowledge of God administered through the Melchizedek Priesthood unlocks the door and makes it possible for each of us to receive the power of godliness in our lives. We believe and come to know the Savior as we follow Him by receiving and faithfully honoring holy ordinances and increasingly have His image in our countenances. We believe and come to know Christ as we experience personally the transforming, healing, strengthening, and sanctifying power of His Atonement. We believe and come to know the Master as “the power of his word [takes root] in us” and is written in our minds and hearts and as we “give away all [our] sins to know [Him].”
- Believing Him is trusting that His bounteous blessings are available and applicable in our individual lives and families. Believing Him with our whole soul comes as we press forward along the covenant pathway, surrender our will to His, and submit to His priorities and timing for us. Believing Him—accepting as true His power and promises—invites perspective, peace, and joy into our lives.
Elder Bednar really teaches us about discipleship of the Savior. All these steps are points along our discipleship journey and build upon one another until we get to the desired point in our lives. Discipleship is not a destination, it is a journey along the path to eternal life. But there are milestones in our lives that build upon one another until we reach that desired level of spirituality in our lives. The steps outlines here should be looked at as a self-assessment and a help to determine where we are at along the path and what our next step should be on our journey of discipleship. Continue to move along the path of discipleship and make the necessary changes to become more like the Savior. He is the only source of true happiness in our lives. He is the only way we can receive the blessing of eternal life.