Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.Doctrine and Covenants 88:63
The phrase “come unto Christ” only appears three times in the Book of Mormon.
- Jacob tells us that he labored diligently to persuade his people to come unto Christ (Jacob 1:7).
- Amaleki ends the small plates of Nephi with a hope that his readers will “come unto Christ…and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption” (Omni 1:26).
- Moroni ends the entire Book of Mormon with an exhortation for us to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).
But the invitation to become closer to the Savior is ubiquitous. The phrase “come unto him” (referring to the Savior) appears seven times. And the Savior is quoted as saying “come unto me” 28 times. Additionally, as the Doctrine and Covenants passage above illustrates, there are many instances where the same invitation is made in different terms. Here is an Old Testament example of the same invitation, with a promise that our efforts will be successful: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
But all of these invitations raise an important question. How? I know that I should come unto Christ, that I should draw near unto Him, that I should seek Him diligently, but what specific actions can I take to answer that call?
The Book of Mormon provides some guidance here. The invitation to come unto Christ is often coupled with other actions. For example, Lehi teaches his family that the way is prepared for everyone “if they will repent and come unto him” (1 Nephi 10:18). Multiple times, the Savior includes coming unto Him in a list with repentance and baptism. (See 3 Nephi 21:6, 3 Nephi 27:20, 3 Nephi 30:2, Mormon 3:2.) In a couple of cases, He also includes faith in that list (Ether 4:18, Moroni 7:34). Other actions which are listed in conjunction with coming unto Him are bringing forth works of righteousness (Alma 5:35), fasting and prayer (Omni 1:26), and denying ourselves of all ungodliness (Moroni 10:32).
But Elder Ronald A. Rasband has emphasized, any time the Savior invites us to do something, we grow closer to Him by accepting and acting upon that invitation:
You…will have…many moments to respond to frequent invitations to “come unto Christ.” Isn’t that what this mortal life is all about? The call may be to come rescue a family member; come serve a mission; come back to church; come to the holy temple; and, as we have recently heard from our wonderful youth in the Face to Face event, come, please help me answer my question.“Standing with the Leaders of the Church,” General Conference, April 2016
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has also emphasized that there are many opportunities for us to strengthen our relationship with the Savior. After specifically highlighting the importance of faith, repentance, and taking upon ourselves the name of Christ through the ordinances of the gospel, Elder Holland said:
Following these most basic teachings, a splendor of connections to Christ opens up to us in multitudinous ways: prayer and fasting and meditation upon His purposes, savoring the scriptures, giving service to others, “succor[ing] the weak, lift[ing] up the hands which hang down, … strengthen[ing] the feeble knees.” Above all else, loving with “the pure love of Christ,” that gift that “never faileth,” that gift that “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things.” Soon, with that kind of love, we realize our days hold scores of thoroughfares leading to the Master and that every time we reach out, however feebly, for Him, we discover He has been anxiously trying to reach us. So we step, we strive, we seek, and we never yield.“Broken Things to Mend,” General Conference, April 2006
With all of these possible actions in mind, Elder Holland encouraged us to prioritize activities which connect us directly with God:
Sometimes we seek heaven too obliquely, focusing on programs or history or the experience of others. Those are important but not as important as personal experience, true discipleship, and the strength that comes from experiencing firsthand the majesty of His touch.“Broken Things to Mend,” General Conference, April 2006
Today, I will heed the invitation to “come unto Christ.” I will trust Him, strive to become more like Him, and strive to hear and heed His voice. I will remember that there are many ways for me to seek Him, and that as I draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to me.