Contributed by Sierra Lawrence
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[mks_dropcap style=”square” size=”52″ bg_color=”#81d742″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]S[/mks_dropcap]triving for deeper personal conversion for oneself is typically not the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of acts of charity. After all, charity has a lot to do with extending and looking beyond ourselves to others whereas conversion is uniquely personal and is usually realized through inward reflection. But when it comes to conversion to the Savior, the two are inseparably linked and perhaps even synonymous. By coming unto Christ, the single greatest thing you could possibly do for yourself, you’re doing the rest of the world a huge favor too.
In 3 Nephi 27: 27, Jesus poses a question to his disciples who were with him that we can also apply to each of ourselves as His disciples today, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” To this He immediately gives the answer, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” Embedded in his answer is God’s great plan and destiny for each one of us, His children. We are to become like Jesus Christ. Wise President David O. McKay once said, “Man’s chief concern in life should not be the acquiring of gold, or fame, or of material possessions. It should not be the development of physical prowess, or of intellectual strength, but his aim, the highest in life, should be the development of a Christ-like character.”
Conversion to the gospel comes through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. In addition to granting us the immense blessings of freedom from the bondage of sin and death, these steps are also the pathway to becoming like Christ. The more converted to His gospel we are, the more Christ-like we will be.
So if the goal is to become like Jesus Christ and inherit Celestial glory, what does that mean? Who was Jesus Christ? How did He act? What did He do? And what are we going to be doing in the Celestial Kingdom anyway? Well as far as the character and nature of Jesus Christ goes, we learn through the scriptures that He was the epitome of hope, obedience, patience, forgiveness, compassion, virtue, and every other good thing. Every characteristic that Christ possessed can be tied back in some way to His love for His Father in heaven and His love for us. In other words, Christ was the epitome of charity. He spent his entire life in the service of those He loved. This is what we are to become. When we become like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father and live with them in the celestial kingdom, we will be doing what they do. Service! Like them, we will also exemplify the attribute of charity. This is what we speak of when we talk about celestial joy. Perhaps celestial glory is not so much a destination as it is a state of being.
President George Albert Smith taught, “We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father’s other children the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Often we ask ourselves, “How can the gospel be a blessing in my life?” when the question should much more frequently be, “How can the gospel bless the lives of the individual’s around me and how can it help me be an instrument in God’s hands in helping them receive those blessings?” I imagine Christ would be a lot more likely to ask the second question than He would the first.
Everything that God and Jesus Christ have given us in the gospel is to enable us to help and serve our brothers and sisters. The single greatest indicator of one’s conversion to the Savior is the way they treat other people.
Christ is the “light and life of the world”. His light and spirit make conversion to the gospel and acquiring charity within ourselves possible. He is the only way. You will know you are feeling the spirit of conversion and charity because you will feel your heart soften. You will feel different, even if it’s just a tiny bit, than you did before, and as a result you will see and treat others differently. His spirit transforms us, it makes our actions more pure and genuine. It fills us with His love. This is the spirit of the Atonement.
Now we want to hear from you. What things are you doing in your life to deepen your conversion to the gospel? How has your conversion to the gospel helped you become more like Christ? How has your conversion to the gospel influenced the way you treat other people? Comment below!