Earlier this week, I came across an invitation to think of ways I could show more love for Christ. My first thoughts were, of course, to pray, read my scriptures, go to church, take the Sacrament, and go to the temple. You know, the things we talk about a lot in church.
But after those things crossed my mind, I realized that those were things I was pretty much doing. Could I be doing them better and with more focus? Yes. Absolutely. I will probably always think I could do better with them. And I’d probably be right.
However, I decided that, because I already do these things (more or less), I should widen my thought a bit – think of some other ways I could show my love for Christ that I don’t do as regularly as the things I listed before.
So here are 8 of my ideas for ways to show love to Christ – some familiar and some maybe less so.
1. Put Him First in Your Day
Mornings often consist of craziness – get up, exercise (maybe), get ready, eat breakfast, check your email and social media, read the news, review your schedule, help your family get ready for their day, rush to work or school.
I’m sure many of you include spiritual things in your schedule as well. Or if you don’t in the morning, then maybe you do later in the day. That might just be how your schedule has to work, and that’s fine.
But I’ve found recently that if the first thing I do in the morning, before I even start to get ready or exercise or anything, is pray and read my scriptures, then I’m a lot more motivated for the day. I feel loads happier than I do otherwise.
Again, maybe your schedule doesn’t work with a full scripture study first thing in the morning. But if you can find one thing to do to bring Christ into your day from the first moment you wake up, I promise you’ll feel the difference.
If a full scripture study doesn’t work for you first thing, try reading just one verse. Or make sure to pray as soon as your blankets are off your body. If you have to get ready right away, try listening to a General Conference talk or spiritual music while you get ready instead of Imagine Dragons.
Whatever it is you decide to do, try something first thing in the morning. I can tell a big difference between the days that I do this and the days that I don’t. I’m sure you’ll feel it too.
2. Study Christ’s Life and Teachings
So this one probably sounds familiar. I mean, it is basically scripture study. But it can include a lot more than just reading the scriptures every day.
It means focusing your study time onto Christ Himself, not just the scriptures in general.
Reading and applying the parables He taught. Considering His relationships with His family, friends, and disciples. Asking questions about how He chose to act. Understanding why He did all that He did.
You could even focus long-term study on one aspect of His life. A week-long study on Christ’s Atonement, for example. Or a month centered on His Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus Christ did so much in His life that John wrote:
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written…John 21:25, King James Version
The records we do have of Christ’s life when He was on the earth, not to mention the ones that discuss His actions in the premortal world and what He’s done since He was resurrected, are just fractions of all He did – but we can learn so much about Him from these few records.
And if you want to branch out from the scriptures, try looking for talks about Him. Or study “The Living Christ” (this link has awesome pictures with it). Even give Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage a read.
This is something I really want to incorporate into my personal study. I’ve been taught about Jesus Christ my whole life, but I’ve rarely take the opportunity to really study and learn about Him for myself. I’m looking forward to building a deeper relationship with Him through more focused personal study.
3. Share Your Testimony
So… yeah, this one is pretty straightforward. But it isn’t one that usually comes to my mind first. Which is maybe a problem.
This week, I read in John 21 about Jesus telling Peter to share the gospel with the world. It hit me hard that this, sharing the gospel, is the most important thing we can do. When we are disciples of Christ, we are expected to share His words, His Atonement, with the people we meet so they have the chance to know Christ as well.
There are many ways to share our testimonies aside from standing up in church on Sunday. We can express it in how we live, what we wear, the media we allow, and the way we treat other people.
And we can reach people around the world with our testimonies just by using social media, email, websites, etc. This link shares 9 ways to do that. Another way is to share your testimony here, on Seeking Christ. See how to share it here.
Whatever way you share your testimony, Christ will be pleased with the efforts you do. So take some time to consider what way could work best for you.
4. Do Some Service
This is another one I’ve been thinking a lot about. I know that I do small acts of service in day-to-day life – helping with dishes, tidying the house, things like that.
But I’ve been thinking that I should do more conscious service. Not just the day-to-day stuff.
Jesus Christ went out of His way to serve, lift, and help people around Him. We can do the same thing in our communities. It could be as simple as stopping by to visit a neighbor, even if everything seems to be going well in their lives.
Or you could try volunteering. There’s a big need for this. In fact, it’s less a question of whether there’s a need for volunteers and more a question of where you want to volunteer.
Centers for learning are a big one. Helping people learn the local language can change their lives more than you’ll ever see. Or starting a class to teach people different skills could be good.
If you don’t want to teach, there are options like hospice, hospitals, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, environmental clean-up, sewing, and it just goes on.
Maybe volunteering doesn’t fit in your schedule. I know that I’m still working out how or if it will work for me. But taking an extra step, any extra step, to serve another person will put us in the Savior’s footsteps, bringing us much closer to Him. It shows Him that we have learned from His example.
5. Express Your Love for Christ Creatively
This is one we don’t really talk about in church. But when the idea crossed my mind, I got excited.
Showing our love for Christ doesn’t have to all be study. We can also show our love for Him in our passions and talents.
I don’t know about you, but I love coming across a new painting or song about Christ. Things like that help me feel the Holy Spirit so much, and they often give me new insights into Christ that I never considered before.
So give it a try! Test out your talents and interests to share your testimony or understand Christ better. I’m a writer (obviously), so I’ve started attempting to write poems about my thoughts and feelings during the Sacrament.
Maybe that isn’t for you. But if you paint, sculpt, sing, play an instrument, design, doodle, photograph, sew, or do really any other creative activity, try turning it to Christ. How can you show your love for Christ in your personal passions?
You might find that you feel closer to Him by using your talents for Him than you do in other spiritual activities. Creatively showing love for our Savior is a personal form of worship that can’t be replicated by anyone else.
6. Eliminate Distractions
This is a tricky one. Life is increasingly filled with distractions, and some of those distractions are specifically made to hold our attention. For. Hours.
Seriously, nothing wastes time like social media.
Of course, it has its uses. I’m using it to share this post, so I can’t vilify it. In fact, it can be a great tool for a lot of things (like sharing your testimony, as previously mentioned).
But it, and other things (TV, books, email, games, the list goes on for ages), can pose very real distractions to us.
It’s kind of scary to me how much these distractions can influence our thoughts and actions, not to mention how much we can feel the Holy Spirit. So taking steps to cut these distractions down can make a huge difference in how we show our love to our Savior.
This past General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson said this:
Take an inventory of how you spend your time and where you devote your energy. That will tell you where your heart is…
We need to get up off the couch, put down the remote, and wake up from our spiritual slumber. It is time to put on the full armor of God so we can engage in the most important work on earth.President Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” April 2019
President Nelson makes it clear in this talk that any distraction that keeps us from focusing on the most important things in life, like family and the gospel, need to be repented of.
He’s pretty candid about it, actually. I really recommend listening back over this talk. It hits my heart every time.
There’s so much in life to live for and to experience. More importantly, we have the gospel to learn and teach, and people in our lives to love and help. Letting go of distractions can help us refocus onto Jesus Christ.
7. Read Your Patriarchal Blessing
Patriarchal blessings are personal blessings for our lives from God. They give us direction and power and hope in our lives. They are gifts from God.
And I know that I don’t read mine nearly enough.
Which is sad because I have this beautiful, personal message from my Father in Heaven, and I don’t use it like I could.
God gives us blessings so we can use them. This is something my dad has told me over and over in my life. When God gives us something, we become stewards of that thing, like in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), and we’re expected to use it.
I think the same expectation applies to our Patriarchal blessings. And I think that this is something I need to repent of.
These blessings need to be used. Using the gifts God has given us will show Him that we love Him and care about our relationship with Him.
8. Make the Change You’ve Been Thinking About
If you’re like me, you probably know about a lot of things that you could/need to change in your life. But, you could also identify one that stands out more than others.
And if you, like me, can think of something particular, let’s agree to start making changes.
Because, not only will it make us happier, it will increase our love for Christ and bring us closer to Him.
It’s a lot like what I was talking about with Patriarchal blessings and distractions, actually. We need to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives because it’s a gift from God, and we need to repent so that we can focus on the most important things in life.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland puts it this way:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,”14 Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before.Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment,” October 2012
Elder Holland reminds us that we have an obligation, as disciples, to change our lives and share that change with others. As disciples, we cannot hold on to our sins and comfort while following Christ at the same time.
It’s not possible.
We have to make a change. And as we come closer to Christ, we will want to make those changes. It’s just part of experiencing His teachings and Atonement.
I’m sure there are other ways to show love to our Savior, Jesus Christ. And if you think of any, share them in the comments! I’d love to hear any ideas you have!
But, with so many ways to show love to Christ, we can’t take them all on at once. So this week, pick one way that will work for you, and make an extra effort to show love to Jesus Christ this week.
Then share it in the comments here or on Facebook so everyone can see and learn from each other!