Sunday, December 9, 2012

who Jesus is to me ▲

Today at church I had the opportunity to share some of the following thoughts, and I decided to try and write them down for blogging purposes. I don't always express my religious thoughts on my blog, as I generally prefer to express them verbally because it feels most heartfelt that way. But it is an important part of my life, and today I wanted to share.


There is a phrase in the New Testament that comes from a conversation that Jesus has with His disciples. He asks them, "Whom say ye that I am?"

I spent some time thinking about this statement and realized the importance of it. What else are we here for in mortality, really, than to each answer that question for ourselves: who do I think Christ is, and what am I going to do about it? This week I wanted to really explore the idea for myself. What would I personally say if Christ asked me that question? Who would I say that He is to me?

First, I combed through the scriptures to explore who Jesus Christ is to other people. I wanted to know, if I asked various scriptural characters the answer to this question, what would they say? Here is the list I came up with:
  • Adam & Eve: Hope after garden of Eden. Promise of return to God.
  • Believers in 3rd Nephi: Fulfillment of a lifetime of waiting.
  • Moses: Courage to talk to Pharaoh, part the Red Sea, and lead a nation into the wilderness.
  • Nephi: Solace in the wilderness, when his brothers hated him and his father had died.
  • Enos: Answer to a deep, fervent prayer.
  • Abinadi and Samuel: Bravery to testify before a court and on a city wall.
  • Moroni: Reason to keep living when there was literally no one else left.
  • Joseph Smith: Faith to withstand severe persecution.
  • Brother of Jared: Faith to climb into a barge and launch into the sea, with nothing but the power of God giving them light and guiding the way.
  • Noah: Dry land and the promise of no more flood.
  • Shepherds and wise men: A new star in the sky and angels that told them “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord."
  • The leper, the blind man, the woman with the issue of blood, the man with crippled legs: Cleansing, sight, healing, and the phrase “Arise, take up thy bed and walk.”
I love so many things about what Christ represents to each of these people. I tried to put myself in their shoes and consider what role He played in their lives and their stories. But I still wanted to answer the question, who is He to me?

For me, I find my relationship with Christ most clearly in those little or big moments where something just speaks to my soul. I really feel like there are various topics, causes and people that I encounter in my life that inspire this moment of "YES." It's like something just connects and I realize, "This is something I was born to do." It's often in those moments that I feel my Savior most clearly -- when I feel all-consuming compassion or love.

Another idea that comes to mind is the scriptural phrase, "In Him all things hold together." In so many circumstances and in so many ways, Jesus Christ really is the glue that holds my life together. He makes all the pieces fit, and He fixes things that are broken.


But most of all, I feel most poignantly connected to the Savior in stories such as the following, as shared here by Robert C. Gay:
While serving as a mission president in Africa, I was forever taught this great truth. I was on my way to a meeting when I saw a young boy alone, crying hysterically on the side of the road. A voice within me said, “Stop and help that boy.” As quick as I heard this voice, in a split second, I rationalized: “You can’t stop. You will be late. You’re the presiding officer and can’t walk in late.”

When I arrived at the meetinghouse, I heard the same voice say again: “Go help that boy.” I then gave my car keys to a Church member named Afasi and asked him to bring the boy to me. About 20 minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. The young boy was outside.

He was about 10 years of age. We found out his father was dead and his mother was in jail. He lived in the slums of Accra with a caretaker, who gave him food and a place to sleep. To earn his board, he sold dried fish on the streets. But after this day of hawking, when he reached in his pocket, he found a hole in it. He had lost all his earnings. Afasi and I knew immediately that if he returned without the money, he would be called a liar, most likely beaten, and then cast out onto the street. It was in that moment of alarm when I first saw him. We calmed his fears, replaced his loss, and took him back home to his caretaker.
I first listened to this story on my laptop in my living room, and it's probably a good thing I was alone because for some reason I started to cry, and I kept crying for a good 5 minutes. It was like something broke inside of me, and I was so sharply and keenly overcome for the suffering of that orphan boy. And then I thought of the millions of people all over the world who are suffering, even right within my reach, and my heart ached for all of them.

These words by Anne Morrow Lindbergh best sum up my own feelings: "My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds." I first heard this quote a few years ago, and I feel like it could be my life motto. I frequently feel overcome by my limited abilities to reach and serve all the people and causes that speak to my heart.

And this is exactly where my deepest relationship with Jesus Christ comes into play: because when I can't reach everyone that I wish I could, He can. When I don't have the strength to lift every burden the world is carrying, He does. He is what fills the gap between what I desire to do and what I cannot do. He solves the dilemma encountered in Lindbergh's quote: He can implement into action every compassionate feeling that His heart feels, and He can make up the difference for me.

And for me, that specific feeling best answers the question that Christ originally posed to his disciples: "Whom say ye that I am?"

My challenge to you is to take the time to answer that question for yourself. What would YOU say if you were asked? Do you know who Christ personally is to youAnd when you know, do you live like you know?

[via, and I have this painting on my living room wall]

more on my religious beliefs here.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound,


Monica Christiansen said...

LOVE. All of it.
It is all very beautiful to me.
Especially your thought/study process. Because to me, the way that individual people study and search out answers to their own questions is just plain interesting. Interesting in a very inspiring sort of way. God gave us the curiosity to have questions, the intellect to search for answers, and the sources to FIND the answers.
I love how you connect most with Christ when it comes to service and compassion. Very selfless and... well, Christlike haha
Btw, I think I will take that challenge!

Jenny B said...

What wonderful thoughts shared! Thanks for sharing and making my Sunday a little sweeter!

Elise Frederickson said...

This is beautiful. Like really, you are very very good at expressing yourself but you're also really good at sharing the spirit through your writing. I love this a lot and I am going to take your challenge.

Rachel Jones said...

Katie, Katie, Katie. If only words could adequately express how much I LOVE this post!!!!!!!!! It is a tender mercy to read this, having missed hearing you speak at church! You are a true example of one who uses their gifts and talents to testify of Christ. I'm so grateful to know you, love you, and learn from you!