The Come, Follow Me lesson for the week of November 25-December 1 poses the question: “Do you ever feel that becoming like Jesus Christ and developing His attributes is not possible?”
In seeking answers to that question, consider Brother Tad R. Callister’s explanation: 'Every moment of every day his godly attributes were etching themselves on his outer shell. They manifested themselves in every smile, every glance, every spoken word. Godliness exuded itself in every thought, every action, and every deed … With every breath of every day his divine qualities were manifesting themselves until his mortal frame was immersed in godliness” (The Infinite Atonement, , 64-65).
As children of our Heavenly Father, we inherited spiritual characteristics. Just as the Savior has divine traits, so do we.
We inherited and developed a godly nature in our pre-mortal existence that can continue to guide us through mortality. Day-by-day and step-by-step, we can develop divine attributes that show forth His image in our countenance until at last we can become more like Him.
Seek the Guidance of the Holy Ghost
The development of Christlike characteristics is not possible through mere human efforts. We do not embark on this endeavor alone. We have been given a precious gift: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). The Holy Ghost will teach us the truth of our divine nature. The Holy Ghost will purify and sanctify us. The enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ will strengthen our efforts as “weak things become strong” (Ether 12:27).
Seek Knowledge to Become More Like Jesus Christ
We cannot become what we do not know. We can begin to gain knowledge through the study of His life—His actions and reactions. We can follow the counsel of Peter: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). The importance of seeking such knowledge has been reaffirmed by President Russell M. Nelson, “I promise you that if you will study His words, your ability to be more like Him will increase” (“I Studied More Than 2200 Scriptures about the Savior in Six Weeks: Here Is a Little of What I Learned,” Blog, Feb. 28, 2017).
During the April 2017 general conference, President Nelson explained how he gained a greater knowledge of Christ’s great atoning sacrifice and increased his abilities to be more like our Savior: “Earlier this year, I asked the young adults of the Church to consecrate a portion of their time each week to study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the standard works. I invited them to let the scriptural citations about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide become their personal core curriculum. I gave that challenge because I had already accepted it myself. I read and underlined every verse cited about Jesus Christ, as listed under the main heading and the 57 subtitles in the Topical Guide. When I finished that exciting exercise, my wife asked me what impact it had on me. I told her, ‘I am a different man!’” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2017).
In that conference address, President Nelson went on to counsel and promise all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “There is nothing easy or automatic about becoming such powerful disciples. Our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto Him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives”).
Relating the Scriptures to Our Lives
Nephi taught his brothers to “liken all scriptures unto us” (1 Nephi 19:23). This is a key way of becoming more Christlike. For example, the March 2018 New Era Magazine outlined, in very specific ways, the common elements our paths have with the Savior’s way:
Like Jesus, we were with the Father in the pre-mortal existence (Doctrine and Covenants 93:7,23).
As Jesus “received grace for grace” until He “received a fullness” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:12-13), we can gain knowledge and power “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30) and progress toward perfection by keeping the commandments (Doctrine and Covenants 93:27).
As Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52), we can gain knowledge, grow physically, as well as spiritually and socially by obeying Gods’ commandments and through faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice (see chart in: David A. Edwards, “Facts about Jesus Christ, Facts about You,” New Era, Mar. 2018).
If our mortal goal is to become like Jesus Christ, then being able to see the sameness in our paths is motivational. We can take one small step at a time as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Some thoughts to consider: The Savior was baptized? Are you? The Savior was a teacher. He taught the gospel. Have you taught the gospel as a parent, friend, or missionary? The Savior ministered. Are you ministering?
It is both daunting and reassuring for us to consider that we have things in common with Jesus Christ. It makes sense because each one of us “is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129).
If we can identify attributes in Jesus that we possess, then we can feel more united with Him. This thought includes the people around us. As we seek to see the divinity of our Heavenly Father in others, we can feel more united and loving of the people around us.
Elder Robert D. Hales offered this encouraging thought about how we can develop Christlike attributes: “The attributes of the Savior … are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more” (“Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 2017, 46).
This is a reminder of the Lord’s abundance. As we strive to develop Christlike attributes, our efforts will be multiplied like the loaves and fishes were when Jesus fed both the five thousand (Matthew 14:16-21) and the four thousand (Matthew 15:32-38).
Yes, it is possible to become more like Jesus Christ. As we believe in our divine nature and destiny, seek knowledge to know Him, liken the scriptures unto ourselves, and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be purified and sanctified. One day we too may be “immersed in godliness” (Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 65).