As I was reading the First Presidency message for this month this section particularly stood out to me. I love the simplicity of this - Follow Him and Keep His Commandments - nothing more, nothing less. Although the saying is simple it encompasses much and President Uchtdorf says, "Developing Christlike attributes in our lives is not an easy task..." But the most important thing I got out of this message is that if we follow Him the Savior will bless us to become what He wants us to be. He will help us to obtain the gift of Christlike attributes.
Developing Christlike Attributes
By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
We recognize that we are living in a time of turmoil, disaster, and war. We and many others feel strongly the great need for a “defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:6). How do we find such a place of safety? President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness.”
Recall with me how Jesus Christ instructed His Apostles, clearly and directly, at the beginning of His mortal ministry: “[Come,] follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This was also the beginning of the ministry of the Twelve Apostles, and I suspect that they had a feeling of inadequacy. May I suggest that the Savior Himself teaches us here a lesson about core doctrine and priorities in life. Individually, we need to first “follow Him,” and as we do this, the Savior will bless us beyond our own capacity to become what He wants us to be.
To follow Christ is to become more like Him. It is to learn from His character. As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we do have the potential to incorporate Christlike attributes into our life and character. The Savior invites us to learn His gospel by living His teachings. To follow Him is to apply correct principles and then witness for ourselves the blessings that follow. This process is very complex and very simple at the same time. Ancient and modern prophets described it with three words: “Keep the commandments”—nothing more, nothing less.
Developing Christlike attributes in our lives is not an easy task, especially when we move away from generalities and abstractions and begin to deal with real life. The test comes in practicing what we proclaim. The reality check comes when Christlike attributes need to become visible in our lives—as husband or wife, as father or mother, as son or daughter, in our friendships, in our employment, in our business, and in our recreation. We can recognize our growth, as can those around us, as we gradually increase our capacity to “act in all holiness before [Him]” (D&C 43:9).
The scriptures describe a number of Christlike attributes we need to develop during the course of our lives. They include knowledge and humility, charity and love, obedience and diligence, faith and hope (see D&C 4:5–6). These personal character qualities stand independent of the organizational status of our Church unit, our economic circumstances, our family situation, culture, race, or language. Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They cannot be developed without His help.