Focus On Study vs. Focus On Others? Our Family’s Answer.

Reader Question:
My pastor made a point in his sermon last week of stating that church should be about one thing only, deepening a personal relationship with Jesus Christ of the Bible. Not even making friends or strengthening family or marriage relationships, just to learn about Jesus, that’s it, by studying the Bible, verse by verse. He said to do anything else puts the focus on us and our needs, not His. I think this is a real line in the sand. And instead of socializing with other believers outside of church, we should go into our room, shut the door, read the Bible and pray to Jesus, the one and only God. Not just the one and only God “for us”, the only one anywhere. What are your thoughts on this?

Family Answer:
Thanks for your question. Sincere, honest questions are always a good thing.

To gather an answer to your question, we talked to our adult kids. We also asked our local missionaries, because we knew they could help us. The answer from our local elders was the same as from our family: Part of a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ is trying to become like Him, to act like Him, to treat others as He did. Christ “went about doing good” and so should we. Christ served others all His life by being among them and commanded us to become like Him and follow His example: “Feed my lambs.” We believe that serving others as Christ would serve them deepens our understanding of Christ in real life application, not just in theory. By reading and studying the scriptures, you will find that Christ wants us to love and serve one another.

If you and I were to ask Christ directly, we think that He would say that the focus IS on us and our needs. What Paul calls “the heavenly gift” is the great Atonement worked on our behalf by the Savior. The ultimate aim of that gift is to bring us, the spirit sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, back into His presence. To qualify for that, we must learn to be like the Savior; patient, obedient, kind, generous, and so forth. Studying Jesus’ life and works will help us understand what we must do, but practicing Christlike attributes in families, at church and elsewhere, will help us to become like Him. Thus, the most effective way to live the life of a Christian is not to shut ourselves away from others but to live and serve among our brothers and sisters here on earth.

We hope this answers your question and helps you understand us better and how to become more like Christ.

And let us know how we may help you further! If you find that you have any questions about religious issues that you’ve been wondering about or that you haven’t been able to get good answers to, feel free to continue on discussion with us. It turns out that there are a lot of people with questions, and most of them have given up on churches as a source of answers. In our family, it is our experience that answers are out there, that God wants us to have them, and that they tend to be answers we like and have learned to appreciate. Working together with Heavenly Father allows anyone to find certainty in uncertain times.

-Dave and the MormonPanorama Family

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WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:

  • Photo, ocean-lighthouse—www. lds.org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng#diamondhead-view-760298
  • Address, “Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!”, Elder Russell M. Nelson, LDS General Conference, Oct 2012—www .lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/ask-the-missionaries-they-can-help-you?lang=eng
  • Photo, ocean-no-man-is-an-island—www. lds.org/media-library/images/oceans?lang=eng#chinaman-768217

——– End of WebCredits ——–

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