Becoming Like Christ
When I was little and Santa Claus ruled a large portion of my immediate universe, I was consumed with the idea of doing enough good deeds to warrant a place on his ‘good’ list for those children receiving lots of toys. It didn’t matter what type of child I became – good or bad – just as long as my better acts outperformed the worse acts. Even as a young girl, I was already envisioning a perfect balance sheet.
Life can get fairly discouraging under this type of system.
I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly referred to as the “Mormon Church”) and I believe in the importance of becoming like Jesus Christ. Patterning your life after the Lord Jesus Christ can often feel like trying to get on Santa Claus’ ‘good’ list. As long as you’re able to check off commandments, follow through the basic motions of Christianity, then the judgment is guaranteed to weigh out in your favor.
In a book titled, Experiencing Christ: Your Personal Journey to the Savior, written by Randall J. Brown, and published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. Brown talks about these types of check lists:
A carnal-minded perspective of the gospel can contribute to the false belief that salvation is based on some type of heavenly point system. Some of us fall prey to the belief that we earn a place in God’s kingdom through our own performance. We may not understand by virtue of our covenant relationship with Christ; we have already entered His kingdom and all that remains is for us to stay there while allowing Christ to work in us.
We may believe that the harder we work, the more acts of service we perform, and the more righteous deeds we accomplish, the more points we acquire toward our future exaltation. Perhaps we are a little nebulous about the number of points that are required, yet we diligently strive to earn as many points as possible. It can become almost like some kind of eternal sporting event.
Salvation and exaltation are gifts; they are not something we can merit. They are made available to us only through the Savior’s mercy, merits and grace. These gifts can only be inherited through our status as children of Christ… For those of us enmeshed in this point-earning system, it will seem like a quite a paradox to let go of self-sufficiency and let the Savior do the perfecting and the completing. (83, emphasis added)
I love how Brown points out that salvation has not everything to do with an obedient life or a selfish one. It’s all based on the merits of Jesus Christ, not ourselves. Following the Savior is not about check lists, instead the life-saving commandments and observances are there to guide us in becoming somebody better.
When I look at life’s balance sheet with a better perspective, it gives me immense gratitude and relief that my Savior Jesus Christ loves me and He can see the bigger picture. He sees who I can become if I follow him. He is there to lean on and learn from as I go through my daily choices and struggles.
If you ever feel that you’ve taken too much from your personal balance sheet than you could possibly recover, or if you feel that life isn’t paying out what it should be with what you’ve put in, try kneeling in prayer and asking God to help you figure out the equation. He will show you how to get back to Him.
This article was written by Rachael Carver McKinnon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Rachael Carver McKinnon holds a BA in Humanities and an MBA from Brigham Young University. She currently lives in Draper, Utah with her husband, Greg. When she isn’t keeping up with one of her four children, she loves road biking and lap swimming.
Tags: Christ, Jesus Christ, lds church, Lord Jesus Christ, Morman Church, Morman Doctrine, Morman Faith, Mormans, mormon beliefs, mormon church, Mormon Church. LDS Church, mormon faith, Mormonism, Mormons
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