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Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 2: Take the first step to having a personal relationship with Jesus


“Behold, I will do a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19
“I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.” (Isaiah 43:20)
Speaking of streams: effective today, The Perfect Day podcasts are available not only via our website and Podomatic, but also Google Play, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. We’re very grateful for those who listen to them, share them and comment on them. If you have any suggestions, feel free to email us at ldsperfectday@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.


OK, now on to today’s post/podcast...

_ _ _

It is THE cornerstone, foundational doctrine of the latter-day gospel:

You don’t need to be perfect or a person with power, wealth, status, education, calling, pedigree, gender, age or even a specific religion to interact with God one-on-one!

But here you are -- having read books and blogs, listened to podcasts and watched videos of people who have had their own personal encounter with Jesus -- yet the same can’t be said about you, the one who wants that experience more than anything in your mortal life.

In fact, you read your scriptures, say your prayers, blow past your temple recommend interviews, magnify your callings, are charitable, are a good spouse and parent...and nothing happens. You conscientiously repent and seek ways to close the gap between you and God and still...nothing.

Even though only you and God know the reason or reasons why Jesus is silent and invisible in your life, there is a very common behavior among we latter-day saints that subtly yet effectively erodes our chances of ever seeing Him in this life. And by the looks of it online, very few saints are aware of this deficiency.

So in this blog post/podcast, let’s see if this behavior is evident in your life, too. Let’s see if it could be a reason why you’re knocking your head on a wall. If so, then let’s discuss what you can do about it, so that you’re spiritually creating scenarios where Jesus is personally ministering to you. And let’s make sure that the strategies are rooted in the scriptures.

Why YOU (!) want to see Jesus


Here’s a question for you: Why do you want to see, or have an audience with, Jesus? Because you ____(Fill in the blank)___, right?

That’s likely your first problem: Your motives for seeing Him are rooted in what YOU want, what YOU desire, what YOU yearn for.

You, you, you.

In our last post, “The Best Friend You Never Knew Part 1: Introducing...the Church of the Latter-day Saints”, we explored the very real phenomenon that’s taken hold of many latter-day saints: a preference to focus on OUR accomplishments, OUR successes, OUR possessions, OUR titles, OUR callings, OUR stories…(and oh, yes that’s right! Jesus helped too).

It’s as if many have ripped Jesus right out of the church’s name AND our personal stories.

“Humble Bragging” and “Virtue Signaling”


The fact is, it's hard to be impressed with anyone after you’ve been in Jesus’ presence. It’s even more difficult to be enamored with yourself.

It’s actually appalling that a person would ever want to focus on themself. One could cringe at all the books, podcasts, blogs, Facebook groups and Instagram accounts which focus on a mortal and how humble and righteous (or trying to be righteous) they are. Many of them seem to be places designed to attract likes, love hearts and ego boosts.

Answer this question: How can you be aiming the spotlight at Jesus when it’s so firmly framed upon yourself?

And what can be said about those who support and encourage such books, podcasts and posts? Are they just as complicitous as those who are themselves self-centered?

Here are two examples:
  • A man recently posted on Facebook how he used a “Giving Machine” to buy three chickens for those in need. To make matters worse, quite a few members gave him accolades for his efforts. And so, the man’s orientation towards or at himself is validated and perpetuated.
  • Another person also posted,

It’s as if the scripture now includes this new clause or exception,
“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth...unless you’re serving someone and trying to be an example of goodness to the world.” (Matthew 6:3, revised by me)
Let’s be clear on this point: Your identity and value should
not be based on man’s opinions, but your position in Him.

As Rick Joyner once stated in his book The Path:
“It is not wrong to seek to be great or to do great things for Him, which is why most begin this journey. But once you experience His manifest presence, once you see Him, everything changes. Then it becomes all about serving Him because He deserves it, not for what we get. Yet, we do receive more than we can even dream of. To bring Him joy for one moment is worth a lifetime of suffering many times over. When you see Him you will understand this.”

“Experience His manifest presence…”


What a wonderful thing that would be.

So how do you get there? How do you get to the point to where you experience His presence?

The Master said,
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
Does that mean we should be focused on ourselves, our wants and desires? Our accomplishments and our “humble” endeavors to be more righteous? Or should we instead be thinking of others?

If you sincerely wish a personal experience with the Savior (“If any man will come after me”), then humble yourself enough to heed Jesus’s advice: Take yourself out of the equation (“deny himself”). Because truth be told, we’re ALL a bunch of prodigals. Make sure your reasons for seeing the Savior don’t include a first-person pronoun.

It all starts in our hearts, and is outwardly manifest in our interactions with others. Simultaneously, our disavowal of first-person pronouns rightly and accurately places the credit onto whom it should be given: Jesus.

Instead of saying,
“Look what I discovered in my scripture reading this morning! Thought I'd share with all of you here,” 
we could say,
“This morning, the Lord unveiled a remarkable scripture which would bless all of us:”
Instead of saying,
“Hi all! I am doing acts of service in the next three weeks before Christmas with my niece, and I want to invite you all to join us. I am excited to get out of my comfort zone and help other people.” 
we could say,
“Let’s all perform acts of service for the next three weeks before Christmas. Yes, we’ll need to exit our comfort zones. But the Lord will bless our efforts with peace and joy.”
See? This takes the focus off of yourself. You’re now literally losing yourself! And it correctly places the focus onto Jesus and/or others.
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (D&C 88:63)
But there’s another advantage to this pronoun redirection: You trash your metaphorical “mirror mirror on the wall” and quit asking people “Who’s the fairest of them all?” You draw yourself and others nearer not to yourself, but to Jesus. You literally begin on the best first step possible in developing a personal relationship not with your mirror, but with Him.


1 comment:

  1. i Love this post. I have learned for myself that what you have shared is true. Because of my own selfish propensities, I see this behavior so easily in others. Letting go of “me” is a challenge I have accepted and am working on with the glorious help of the Savior and His still small voice.

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