Before we can understand how we can best work together in unity for the glory of our God, we must understand our individual identity. If we know what our talents are and what God's purpose is while we are here, then we can best align ourselves to His will.
So first of all, who are we? We are God's children. What does that even mean? God is our Father, more specifically, the Father of our spirits. He created us: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" (Malachi 10:2). Just like we all have an earthly father, we also have a Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father endowed us with our spirits.
If you think about the physical qualities you inherited from your mother and father, which of them stand out? My mom recently brought me some pictures of when she was seventeen. I was shocked at how much we looked alike at that age! Here are a few pictures for you to compare: mom is on the left, and I am on the right.
I definitely inherited my dad's eyes. We are both pretty nearsighted. But my mom is at the opposite end of that spectrum. If you see a picture of my dad and I side by side, you can also see our similarities. Take a look.
Who do you look more like, your mother, father, or both?
Now, we don't know exactly what our Heavenly Father looks like. You may have been taught differently about that particular subject. I was taught that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us" (D&C 130:22). In Genesis 1:27, we learn that "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him."
What about the spiritual qualities that we inherited from God? Let's learn about His nature. The Lord said in Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Ok, so obviously we are not perfect. But there is an individual that is perfect--Jesus Christ. We can look to Him to know more about God's nature.
In 2 Peter 1:2-8, we learn important Christlike attributes:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We studied the subject of faith this past year when we did Hebrews 11 Parts 1 and 2. Feel free to review those posts as needed. From these verses, we learn that in addition to faith, other important attributes include virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Think about how each of these attributes were manifested throughout Christ's ministry. Now think about how each of these attributes are manifested in your life. We may be better at certain attributes and may be lacking in others, and that is okay. We have our whole lives to develop them and the best example to follow, that of Jesus Christ. It is in our spiritual nature to be able to develop these attributes. It takes work, but we can do it. We have a choice. We can choose each day to strive to be perfect, and one step at a time, one attribute at a time, we can accomplish it. We have to be sincere in our efforts. The Atonement will fill in the gaps.
It is important for us to develop these attributes in order to best serve our brothers and sisters in this life as we work together to build God's kingdom on the earth and spread His message. They are not the most sought after qualities, unfortunately, but they should be. The world has a skewed view of what true power is, and it does not include those attributes. But God is all powerful, and if His Son wants us to achieve perfection, then we know what we must do. Follow Christ's example, develop His attributes, and help others do the same. Why should we? Because we are the children of God and we have that potential:
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Are you ready to begin that journey? Then join me as we explore our individual identity and execute a plan to develop those attributes. I would like to start by doing a mini challenge. This challenge will help you in evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as discussed in 2 Peter 1. Why do I think this is important? Because we will do an in-depth study of each of those attributes over the next few months. If you know what you need the most help in, then you'll be on the lookout for the blog posts that pertain most to you. Are you with me? If so, sign up for the "Christlike Attributes Evaluation Challenge." After you do, you will receive the evaluation worksheet and a series of emails over the course of five days after you sign up. It's all free! The worksheet and emails will guide and encourage you as you decide what you need to focus on. I also invite you to challenge at least one other person to do this exercise with you. You will receive an email to share with others after you complete the challenge.
Let's do this!!!!!!