RS Lesson: A Christ-Centered Life (Chapter 24)
Chapter 24: A Christ-Centered Life
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson
I love lessons about the Savior; they are hopeful and uplifting. This one is full of great scriptures (though the lesson is a bit repetitive).
I’ve organized the lesson with headings that allow for structure in the lesson. And added a few of my own thoughts to supplement lesson preparations.
“What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27).
From Ezra Taft Benson
“I testify to you that there is no greater, more thrilling, and more soul-ennobling challenge than to try to learn of Christ and walk in His steps. Our model, Jesus Christ, walked this earth as ‘the Exemplar.’ He is our Advocate with the Father. He worked out the great atoning sacrifice so we could have a fullness of joy and be exalted in accordance with His grace and our repentance and righteousness. He did all things perfectly and commands that we be perfect even as He and His Father are perfect. (See 3 Ne. 12:48.)
JESUS – the Man (from the lesson manual)
Two thousand years ago a perfect man walked the earth: Jesus the Christ. He was the son of a heavenly father and an earthly mother. He is the God of this world, under the Father. He taught men truth, that they might be free. His example and precepts provide the great standard, the only sure way, for all mankind. No other single influence has had so great an impact on this earth as the life of Jesus the Christ. We cannot conceive of our lives without his teachings.
We RETURN to our Heavenly Parents by following the Savior
At the Last Supper, Thomas asks: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus answered: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:5–6.)
We can learn about the Savior in scriptures and can learn of His teachings there too. “Feast upon the word of Christ” (2 Ne. 31:20). The Holy Spirit will also teach us.
The SACRAMENT is a reminder of our commitment to follow Christ
We bless and brake bread each week during Sacrament Meeting – it is a symbol of Christ. Christ’s body was broken – and out of the brokenness, Christ brought a blessing.
We eat the break that is broken and take into us this symbol of Christ’s body. We likewise are broken from our mortal experience. Here are the words of Lynn Rollins: “I feel broken. I believe that I will be made whole again, but for now, I’m just broken. And maybe that’s the point. This is a broken mess and there is no way to put it back together again. All I have left to do is put it on the alter”.
Christ spent His mortal ministry serving broken people who needed healing – physically like the lepers, mentally like the boy possessed of a demon, and spiritually like the rich young man.
(Side Note about the Lesson ….
In the lesson manual, we read: “To be like the Savior—what a challenge for any person! He is a member of the Godhead. He is the Savior and Redeemer. There was no flaw nor failing in Him. Is it possible for us … to be even as He is? The answer is yes. Not only can we, but that is our charge, our responsibility. He would not give us that commandment if He did not mean for us to do it.”
I disagree with the manual here. I do not think it is possible to become perfect like Christ. As I have stated above we are all broken by this mortal experience – both from injury and from sin. I believe Christ command us to be like him because He wants us to use His atonement.)
ATTRIBUTES to develop to be more like Christ
We learn from Peter:
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5–7).
- The first characteristic, to which all the others are added, is Faith is the foundation upon which a godlike character is built.
- We add to our faith Virtuous behavior implies that [a person] has pure thoughts and clean actions. Virtue is akin to holiness, an attribute of godliness.
- Next is knowledge. While any study of truth is of value, the truths of salvation are the most important truths any person can learn. (Matthew 16:26)
- Another attribute described by Peter is [A temperate person] is restrained in his emotions and verbal expressions. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence. In a word, he has self-control.
- To our temperance we are to add … Patience is another form of self-control. It is the ability to postpone gratification and to bridle one’s passions. A [person] who is patient will be tolerant of the mistakes and failings of his loved ones.
- Another attribute mentioned by Peter is One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior.
CHARITY – the pure love of Christ
The final and crowning virtue of the divine character is charity, or the pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:47). If we would truly seek to be more like our Savior and Master, then learning to love as He loves should be our highest goal. Mormon called charity “the greatest of all” (Moroni 7:46).
But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others.
The Savior is with us in our JOURNEY
The Savior will comfort us and lift us up in our efforts to stay on the path. “I will not leave you comfortless. …” / “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. …” (John 14:1, 14, 18, 27.) / “The arms of mercy are extended towards them.”/
Come, for he stands “with open arms to receive you” (Mormon 6:17).