Jesus

Relationship With Christ

This article includes excerpts from powerful sermons by James E. Faust, Ezra Taft Benson and Russell M. Nelson which inspire each of us to cultivate the dynamic, robust connection with the Savior we’ve always wanted. This page is divided into 4 sections – so feel free to read a section or two and come back again when you are ready for more.

“The greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in Heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ…is to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open a communication with your Elder Brother or file-leader–our Savior.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:339

This sounds wonderful but what does a relationship with Jesus actually look, sound and feel like? How will we know when it happens? For example, we know how to connect to Heavenly Father through prayer (in fact, Christ taught us that). But, how do we establish a connection to the Savior that is real and felt?

James E. Faust Outlines 5 Steps

From his General Conference talk A Personal Relationship With the Savior – Oct 1976.

“May I suggest five beginning, essential measures which will greatly clear the channel for a daily flow of “living water” from the very source of the spring, even the Redeemer Himself [Jesus Christ].

First: A daily communion involving prayer [a conversation with Christ]. A fervent, sincere prayer is a two-way communication which will do much to bring His Spirit flowing like healing water to help with the trials, hardships, aches, and pains we all face. What is the quality of our secret prayers when only He [Jesus] listens? As we pray, we should think of Him as being close by, full of knowledge, understanding, love, and compassion, the essence of power, and as having great expectations of each of us.

Does this seem like a new idea? Consider these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants:

Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;
Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer. (D&C 29:1-2)

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; (D&C 93:1-2)

62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends [Christ speaking], I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near
63 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 88:62-63)

Author’s note: there are dozens of verses just like these in the Doctrine and Covenants which specifically instruct us to speak to Jesus directly. This does not mean we replace Him for Heavenly Father nor direct our morning, noon and evening prayers to the Savior. Instead, it means that we may have an active, personable relationship with the Savior in addition to our essential relationship with Heavenly Father. Elder Faust’s 5-step guide is invaluable.

Second: A daily selfless service to another. The followers of the divine Christ have to be weighed on the scales of what their actions are rather than on solemn professions of belief. The true measure is found in Matthew: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these …, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40.)

Third: A daily striving for an increased obedience and perfection in our lives. “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am,” said the Savior. (3 Ne. 27:27.) Because of the perfect atonement of Jesus, just men may be made perfect. (See D&C 76:69.)

Fourth: A daily acknowledgment of His divinity. To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples. “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13.)

Read these words from Nephi also ~ I know this to be a true principle:

29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)

Fifth: A daily study of the scriptures. President Kimball has said: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures, the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.”

Great quote from Ezra Taft Benson about the best scriptures:

“God bless us all to use all the scriptures, but in particular the instrument He designed to bring us to Christ—the Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion—along with its companion volume, the capstone, the Doctrine and Covenants, the instrument to bring us to Christ’s kingdom…” (The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants ~ April 1987)

Ezra Taft Benson’s Compelling Invitation to Step It Up

From his General Conference talk Born of God – Oct 1985. This talk sets me on fire!

Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world.

Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Like Paul they will be asking, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6.) Peter stated, they will “follow his steps.” (1 Pet. 2:21.) John said they will “walk, even as he walked.” (1 Jn. 2:6.)

Finally, men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. To paraphrase President Harold B. Lee, they set fire in others because they are on fire.

Their will is swallowed up in His will. (See John 5:30.)

They do always those things that please the Lord. (See John 8:29.)

Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him.

Enter their homes, and the pictures on their walls, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their words and acts reveal them as Christians.

They stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. (See Mosiah 18:9.)

They have Christ on their minds, as they look unto Him in every thought. (See D&C 6:36.)

They have Christ in their hearts as their affections are placed on Him forever. (See Alma 37:36.)

Almost every week they partake of the sacrament and witness anew to their Eternal Father that they are willing to take upon them the name of His Son, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. (See Moro. 4:3.)

In Book of Mormon language, they “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3), “talk of Christ” (2 Ne. 25:26), “rejoice in Christ” (2 Ne. 25:26), “are made alive in Christ” (2 Ne. 25:25), and “glory in [their] Jesus” (2 Ne. 33:6.)

In short, they lose themselves in the Lord, and find eternal life. (See Luke 17:33.)

David O. McKay’s Dream

President David O. McKay tells of a singular event that happened to him. After falling asleep, he said he “beheld in vision something infinitely sublime.” He saw a beautiful city, a great concourse of people dressed in white, and the Savior.

“The city, I understood, was his. It was the City Eternal; and the people following him were to abide there in peace and eternal happiness.

“But who were they?

“As if the Savior read my thoughts, he answered by pointing to a semicircle that then appeared above them, and on which were written in gold the words:

These Are They Who Have Overcome the World—Who Have Truly Been Born Again!

“When I awoke, it was breaking day.”

When we awake and are born of God, a new day will break and Zion will be redeemed.

May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and born again I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

President Nelson Describes Direct Access to Jesus Christ

President Nelson may be the all-time favorite prophet of my lifetime. He continues to amaze me with his prophetic decrees. I still can’t believe he started at age 92 and yet shakes my world.

“Many of us have cried out from the depths of our hearts a variation of this woman’s words: “If I could spiritually stretch enough to draw the Savior’s power into my life, I would know how to handle my heart-wrenching situation. I would know what to do. And I would have the power to do it.”

“When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”

President Russell M. Nelson

When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you. And then you will understand the deep meaning of words we sing in the hymn “The Spirit of God”:

The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding. …
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.
**

**Author’s note: the veil bursting is in direct reference to all witnessing the Savior come again:
22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name [Christ again], and worship me [Christ] according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;
23 And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together. (D&C 101:22-23)

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with His power, which is available to every earnestly seeking daughter or son of God. It is my testimony that when we draw His power into our lives, both He and we will rejoice.” (Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ Into Our Lives – April 2017)

President Nelson Instructs How To Experience the Savior’s Power

Although President Nelson directs his remarks to sisters, these promises apply to everyone. His talk “Spiritual Treasures” – Oct 2019 is a watershed moment in the Church’s history. He is inviting all of us to seek and harness remarkable power directly from the Savior.

Because the Melchizedek Priesthood has been restored, both covenant-keeping women and men have access to all the spiritual blessings of the church” or, we might say, to all the spiritual treasures the Lord has for His children.

Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God. Those who are endowed in the house of the Lord receive a gift of God’s priesthood power by virtue of their covenant, along with a gift of knowledge to know how to draw upon that power.

The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life. Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “This sounds wonderful, but how do I do it? How do I draw the Savior’s power into my life?”

You won’t find this process spelled out in any manual. The Holy Ghost will be your personal tutor as you seek to understand what the Lord would have you know and do. This process is neither quick nor easy, but it is spiritually invigorating. What could possibly be more exciting than to labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power—priesthood power?

What I can tell you is that accessing the power of God in your life requires the same things that the Lord instructed Emma and each of you to do.

So, I invite you to study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you. Your personal spiritual endeavor will bring you joy as you gain, understand, and use the power with which you have been endowed.

Part of this endeavor will require you to put aside many things of this world. Sometimes we speak almost casually about walking away from the world with its contention, pervasive temptations, and false philosophies. But truly doing so requires you to examine your life meticulously and regularly. As you do so, the Holy Ghost will prompt you about what is no longer needful, what is no longer worthy of your time and energy.

As you shift your focus away from worldly distractions, some things that seem important to you now will recede in priority. You will need to say no to some things, even though they may seem harmless. As you embark upon and continue this lifelong process of consecrating your life to the Lord, the changes in your perspective, feelings, and spiritual strength will amaze you!

Thank you for sharing time and thought space with me and with one of my most darling mysteries of the Universe.

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10 Comments

  1. Carole Lewis

    Do you allow us to use (duplicate to share with those whom we teach) the artwork (artwork with inspirational quotes) that you create and post on your site?

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Yes, please feel free.

      Reply
  2. Bev Brown

    Shawnie I could use your help in preparing a lesson on President Oaks April 2023 talk, is that one you might consider helping us with?

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Since his talk is a list of verses and quotes from Christ…like literally a list of verses – I would list all the verses on a handout and ask people to pick one of their favorite verses off the list. Read it and tell why that verse is meaningful. Seed it ahead of time and ask 3-5 people to come prepared to that first. Thus should be a good base for plenty of discussion. You can ask the rest of the class – after the verse is read…what stands out for you today from this verse?

      Reply
  3. Colleen

    Thank you for your beautifully inspired page. What a help it will be to me. Can you tell me if I take a picture of any of your photos, with my phone, if I will be able to have them printed larger for use with a lesson, or are they copyrighted? Thank you

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Thank you! If you print them for personal use and not for business or monetary reasons, you are free to do so.

      Reply
  4. Steve Stonebraker

    Shawnie your the best you have been such a big help in my preparation for my calling. Checking to see if you have done a work up for Preparing for the Second Coming of Christ
    By Elder Christoffel Golden – thank you. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      Steve,
      The next batch of Conference talks will be for April 2022. Please have confidence in yourself and your prep. Pick your 5 favorite quotes and think of a couple of who, what, where, how and “can you relate questions” and it will go well. My favorite question is “What comes up for you as you listened to this quote.” “I love that word you used “_____” because it fits perfectly.” You’ve got this.

      Reply
  5. Ann Dickinson McHugh

    Thank you so much for taking the time to teach, share this article which I plan to print out for my church folder. Ann x

    Reply
    • Shawnie Cannon

      You are welcome! I love these talks. There is so much power in them.

      Reply

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