Below is an excerpt from Randall J. Brown’s book, Experiencing Christ: Your Personal Journey to the Savior (pp. 46-47). Experiencing Christ was published in 2009 by Cedar Fort, Inc. Brown shares why being morally clean is not enough, why we need to be “alive in Christ.” Brown belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”), and is a devoted follower and disciple of Jesus Christ.
Experiencing Life in Christ
While striving for high standards of honesty, integrity, and moral cleanliness is vitally important, it is not, in and of itself, sufficient to lead our souls to Christ. Our higher standards of morality must be the result of the Savior’s grace working in us while making us “new creatures, alive in Christ.” Even if our intentions are pure, if we aren’t experiencing life in Christ, it is because we are rooted in carnal-mindedness and self-sufficiency.
When we teach ethics and standards without also teaching of the living water available through our Savior’s grace, we are only fueling self-sufficiency, which, of course, is never fully sufficient. Our teachings should lead souls to the fountain of living water and the tree of life. Our teachings should center on the doctrine of Christ and the mighty change of heart, a procedure only Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, has the skill to perform.
Personal contact with the Savior will begin a transformation within us as we experience a mighty change of heart. We will begin to live a higher moral standard because the Savior’s grace is working in us and through us. This change will be the result of the Savior’s touch and not the result of our own willpower or self-discipline.
Sometimes letting go of self-effort and letting Christ work in us seems too simple. We might feel an almost compulsive need to do it ourselves as we hold on to our self-sufficiency. The Lord tutored ancient Israel in this principle by allowing them to be bitten by poisonous flying serpents, preparing the way for them to be healed. Nephi [a Book of Mormon prophet] attempted to teach this principle to his faithless brothers in these words: “And the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished” (1 Nephi 17:41).
Each of us has been bitten by “fiery flying serpents” in the form of spiritual wounds and mortal afflictions. The way for us to be healed has been prepared as well. The way is as simple as it has always been; the way is to look to Christ. In our carnal state, we fight to maintain our status as the captains of our souls rather than surrendering to the Master.
When our youth stray from the standards of the Church, it may not be that they have not been taught the standards sufficiently. It may be they have not yet experienced Christ. Perhaps they have not yet experienced conscious contact with the Savior of the World or been given that for which they are thirsting. Maybe they have not yet experienced the mighty change of heart or experienced the simpleness of the way. The reality is, there is no other way.
How do we become alive in Christ?
A Mormon apostle, Elder Russell M. Nelson shared in an online article titled “Faith in Jesus Christ” how we might more fully be made alive in Christ:
From the Book of Mormon we learn that “we are made alive in Christ because of our faith. … And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:25–26).
Blessings that flow from faith in Him are also revealed in the Book of Mormon. There we read: “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20). That is the “greatest of all the gifts of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:7).
Dynamic faith in the Lord leads to complete conversion and a consummate commitment to His holy work. We become children of the covenant; we become His children. Scripture so confirms: “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”
I invite you to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ by meeting with Mormon missionaries and by prayerfully studying the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I witness that as you do so, you will become alive in Christ—truly transformed into a holier person, more like Him.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.