An introduction is an important part of getting to know someone. Those who introduce you give you the chance to become well acquainted, however; it is up to us individually to build and maintain a relationship. My childhood introduction to Jesus had an impact, the seeds of testimony were planted and I knew even then, that He lived and loved me. As my life has continued I have sought out opportunity to know him and serve him. As a result my testimony of Him has grown and matured. His love and influence have motivated me to become more like him.
As Primary President in our small branch, I have the opportunity to introduce other young children to Jesus. They receive plenty of teaching at home, which is evident in our discussions, but this chance to share what I know with these children has been so rewarding. It has caused me to reevaluate my own beliefs and my own abilities to love.
Not long ago, while preparing a lesson, a short saying came to my mind, and I knew it needed to be shared with the children. The saying was....Be true to you, and Jesus too! I thought about this over and over and pondered on how it applies to our lives.
When we are baptized into the church we make promises with God to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We promise to always remember him and follow his commandments. We keep this covenant by striving to live as Jesus taught. There are millions on earth who have made this covenant with God, and yet we are still human and still struggle with real weakness. I think sometimes we forget what we have promised. It gets put on a back burner as we tend to the other tasks of life. Over time we worry more about pleasing those around us, rather than pleasing the Lord......or even pleasing ourselves.
Why is it that we participate in things we do not feel comfortable with? Is it because we are worried about what others will think? Are we trying to avoid awkwardness? Do we not want to hurt someones feeling? These are reasonable excuses, but not good ones. Betraying ourselves in order to make someone else feel better is silly. In order to discover our true identity and purpose we must begin by being true to ourselves. We must live in a way that that will allow us to love, respect and trust ourselves. Being true to ourselves and the covenants we make is an essential part in becoming our best selves. It takes courage and at times it may even be lonely, but if we remain true the Lord will be able to mold us and use us to love and encourage others.
President Gordon B. Hinkley said, ....."Reformation of the world begins with reformation of self. It is a fundamental article of our faith that “we believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, [and] virtuous” (A of F 1:13).
We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of virtue unless we live lives of virtue. The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves.
Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. That man who knows that he is a child of God, created in the image of a divine Father and gifted with a potential for the exercise of great and godlike virtues, will discipline himself against the sordid, lascivious elements to which all are exposed. Said Alma to his son Helaman, “Look to God and live” (Alma 37:47).
It is a matter of more than passing interest that the Lord, as He spoke to the multitude on the mount, included this marvelous declaration: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
A wise man once said, “Make of yourself an honest man, and there will be one rascal fewer in the world.”
And it was Shakespeare who put into the mouth of one of his characters this persuasive injunction: “To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” 1I should like to give to all men and women who may read these words a challenge to lift their thoughts above the filth, to discipline their acts into examples of virtue, to control their words so that they speak only that which is uplifting and leads to growth" (First Presidency Message: In Opposition to Evil)
Becoming great takes great self control. Being disciplined creates true disciples, and ultimately being true to you, and Jesus too, will bring REAL peace, purpose and happiness!
*artwork taken from here