Friends with Christ, Imperfect Mortals

"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you," said Christ, as He spoke to His apostles. What an amazing statement!  If you and I do whatever the Lord commands us to, then we are counted as His friends.  Does this mean we are perfect?  Quite the contrary.  Although the Lord commanded us to be perfect, (referencing the famous scripture in the Sermon on the Mount) He knew that even the strongest of the righteous would sometimes fall.  But, as one of our beloved General Authorities expressed, our Father in Heaven does not scold His children for falling down as they are progressively walking towards Him.  Rather, He is pleased with the progress we make and encourages us to do better while hoping that we are gentle with ourselves in how we are doing.  Some feel that perfection is necessary to be blameless (justified and sanctified) before God, but I take courage in the following words of Peter, "Wherefore, beloved, seeing as ye look for such things (speaking of the 2nd coming), be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account (Greek translation: count, regard) that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation..." (2nd Peter 3:14-15).  As we are diligent in giving heed to the commandments of God, His friendship is a result of that.

As part of that beautiful friendship, we also can feel the literal arms of Christ encircling us in love.  This promise is given in Doctrine and Covenants 6:20, which states, "Be faithful and diligent in keeping my commandments, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love." Stephen A. Cramer once said that the adversary may want us to feel like this is not a literal promise, but based upon the scriptures, he believes it is. Lehi also expressed a similar thought when he said, "...I have beheld His glory, and am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love."  (2nd Nephi 1:15).  To feel the embrace of Christ may come in times of great sorrow, loneliness, and pain, but I also feel that it can wrap us gently in love and happiness during our times of joy and gratitude.  It is His way of reminding us in love that we are blessed by His hand, and through the tender mercies that He gives.  

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you," said Christ, also speaking to His apostles.  Our Savior spends time with us when we desire it of Him, and also when it is necessary.  Not to say that it could not be one or the other, in fact, I believe it sometimes is.  So often, we wonder where the Lord is, when all we have to do is sit quietly, look around, ponder on our blessings, and listen.  Soon, we will feel or hear Him whispering to us, "Child, I am here. Can you feel me near you?"  I know that my Savior has been there to either rejoice with me in my joys, or to grieve with me in my sorrows.  When I have opened up my spiritual eyes, ears, and heart, I have seen my Savior in the world around me, with the birds singing, the sun shining, the rain falling, the lightning flashing, a gentle or fierce wind blowing, rivers running, children laughing and playing, music from the heavens sounding in the air, and more.  We can be in the presence of God whenever we desire.  The scriptures testify He is "in the midst of all things" (D&C 88:13) and the Lord Himself testified, "But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me." (D&C 38:7).  And so, since Christ is in our midst, we will never be alone, but as He comes to us, our comfort will increase and our joy in equal measure to it.  I will write more at a future time, but I feel this is a good, warm, and comfortable place for us to stop.  

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