As Christ was teaching the people on the American continent, He asked a question – “Therefore, what manner of men [and women] ought ye to be?” His answer seems so hard to accomplish. Like it may need to wait for a different phase of life to be completed. He said, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (See 3 Nephi 27:27)
But what if you look at that statement from a different perspective.
Christ lived and is living the best He is capable of. He has the capacity of perfection and so He exhibits each of His characteristics and avoids all others perfectly.
We as humans are not perfect so it seems like we can’t be as Christ is. But each of us can live His characteristics and stay away from other characteristics the best we are able to at the present time. So when we choose to follow that path at the level we currently can, then as a beginning point, we are as Christ is.
But we must recognize it is not sufficient to stay at our current level of understanding and behavior because there is a great distance between our level and His. It is requisite that we get better at using the attributes of Christ, and that can only happen with effort and the aid of Jesus Christ.
Because God teaches us line upon line (see 2 Nephi 28:30), He will teach us one step at a time how to improve our ability to be like Christ when that is our conscious choice. And we can trust our Heavenly Father so there is no need to be ashamed, feel guilty or doubt ourselves because we are not farther along.
Then when we live at the new level of understanding we have just achieved we will be a different person and He will teach us about the next thing. And for the rest of our life we can follow this process – be taught a new step, live at this new capacity, become a new person, be taught a new step, …
Elder Scott D. Whiting has given us three steps we can take to help us improve our capacity to be as Christ is.
Resolve and Commit
The first thing we need to do is to want to change and become more like the Savior. We need to know who He is and something about His character. We can find His attributes in the scriptures, conference talks and other Holy Places. As we find out more about Him, we can commit to be like Him and begin to repent – to get rid of the bad and to add the good.
Identify and Act
Prayerfully choose one of Christ’s characteristics to work on. Then start to act on it. We can learn more about it and see how it works in the lives of others. We can start to consciously use that attribute in our life and as we work with people around us. We can find things in our life that oppose what we are working on and help them leave our life. We can look for evidence that it is showing up in the things we do. We can seek divine help to change our life. These things require effort, and we will see our life change in good ways.
Record and Sustain
As we work on making this change in our life, it will be very helpful to record what we are learning, special experiences, our gratitude for things that are happening, and our feelings along the way. This will help us in two ways. First the act of writing (or typing) helps reinforce in our mind that this is important and we want it in our life. Second it will give us a record that we can refer back to when things get hard. Then we can regenerate our desire by feeling again the things we have felt before.
Elevating our capacity to be as Jesus is will take a lot of effort over a long period of time, but “when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (see 1 Joh3:2)
So when Christ said, “Verily I say unto you, [be] even as I am.” He was inviting you and me to join Him on the most incredible journey we can take in this lifetime. Will you accept His invitation?