Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Thinks Christ of Me?

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

What Thinks Christ of Me?, by Neil L. Andersen
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Do you remember the craze for WWJD bracelets in the late 90's? I do. I was serving as a full-time missionary at the time, and I loved that so many were showing a physical reminder to be Christlike with the simply question, "What would Jesus Do?" At the time, I would twist the question slightly to: What would Jesus have me do? (I mentioned this in an earlier post, link, but please keep reading this one.)

Those bracelets may have helped people remember Jesus while being a signal to others of a claim to Christianity—much like the fish symbol on the back of some cars. When I think of visible signals of faith, I wonder if I have any tells or signs of what I believe. This reminds me of a question I had long ago while riding my bike to work: "If I were put on trial for being Christian (or LDS), would there be enough evidence to convict me?" (read more of this experience here)

Interestingly, I often think of these visible signals of faith when I see someone driving dangerously or rudely who has one of those fish symbols on the back of their car. As I judge them and silently scream at them to try harder to be Christlike, I wonder what others think of me!

In his talk, Elder Andersen seemed to flip these questions on their heads:

Jesus asked the Pharisees, "What think ye of Christ?" In the final assessment, our personal discipleship will not be judged by friends or foes. Rather, as Paul said, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." At that day the important question for each of us will be, "What thinks Christ of me?"

What thinks Christ of me?

I admit that I probably spend too much time wondering if others think I'm good enough, or if they can tell what I believe by my actions. I like this twist that Elder Andersen introduced because if I live so that I'm comfortable with who I am and what I do—all while imagining the Savior standing beside me (link)—then what other think either won't matter, or I'll be so comfortable with myself and my actions that others will see the light of Christ in me.

An additional thing I like about this change to the question is that it isn't affected by changing circumstances. I watched with a mix of concern and humor as Mitt Romney (a member of the Church) seemed lambasted by the far-right in their implied religious test during the primaries. They argued that he wasn't Christian and didn't qualify for their vote. However, after he was ultimately nominated (maybe by default against the ineptitude of his rivals?), the erstwhile critics' tune changed to, "Well, he's Christian enough."

I may or may not be a fan of Romney's politics, but I like to think that he tries to make decisions the same way I do: after reasoned weighing of options and expected outcomes, all while measuring against divine standards.

Let's get away from politics now.

After telling that President Monson often reminds General Authorities to remember the question, "What would Jesus do?", Elder Andersen taught:

Discipleship is believing Him in seasons of peace and believing Him in seasons of difficulty, when our pain and fear are calmed only by the conviction that He loves us and keeps His promises.

I'm still trying to work out what I think the answer to "What thinks Christ of me?" is. But as I try to remember Jesus, consider what He would have me do, and be a disciple in times of peace and difficulty, I'm confident that over time, I'll come to feel that Christ does trust me and can count on me to be who I really want to be.

And I won't even need to wear a bracelet!

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