After specifying the name of the church and summarizing the core principles of the gospel for His twelve disciples, the Savior explained what He expected from them as leaders. “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church,” He said; “for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do…. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:21, 27).
Elder Scott D. Whiting has recently invited us to take this admonition literally. (See “Becoming Like Him,” General Conference, October 2020.) He reminded us that similar admonitions appear throughout the scriptures. He provided the following examples (See footnote 1 of his talk.):
- Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” And the related passage in 3 Nephi 12:48: “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”
- 1 John 2:6: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
- Mosiah 3:19: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yieldsto the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the naturalman and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
- Alma 5:14: “And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?”
Elder Whiting also referenced the book In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon, in which a Christian congregation reckons with the contrast between their beliefs and their actions. As these people take seriously the challenge to ask themselves “What would Jesus do?” their lives are transformed.
The process of becoming more like the Savior requires our intentional and sustained effort. Elder Whiting provided the following suggestions as we strive to follow the Savior’s admonition more fully:
- Ask someone you trust which attribute of Jesus Christ you need to develop more fully, and be receptive to the response.
- Ask Heavenly Father the same question.
- Complete the Christlike attribute activity in chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel.
- Select an attribute to focus on. Recognize that you will need to make significant effort to develop this attribute. “These attributes won’t come cheaply and suddenly, but through His grace they will come incrementally while endeavoring.”
- Look for that attribute as you study the scriptures.
- Look for positive examples of that attribute in other people.
- Record your experiences and what you are learning.
- Be persistent: put in sustained effort over time.
Today, I will ponder and review the attributes of the Savior. I will select an attribute to work on in the coming weeks.