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Cover image: Touch of Faith by Albin Veselka.
I love the painting above. It’s called Touch of Faith by Albin Veselka and it is my favorite painting, (at the moment). I love it because of how Christ is portrayed. He seems to be sauntering somewhat, like many teenage boys I know, striding forward with certainty and positivity. He looks extremely at ease and in control. He stands out in the crowd, partly because of the light that seems to radiate from within, and partly because the artist painted Him in the center of the picture. He has a half smile on His face implying His joy and good humor in life.
Others in the painting seem to be focused internally, looking down, but the artist creates the impression that Jesus is aware of others as He looks up and around, and not only is He aware of them but He also has something wonderful to offer them. He appears fearless, daring and determined, yet not in an obnoxious, overbearing way. He has a quiet gentleness about Him that attracts my attention straight to Him.
When I first noticed this painting, I was in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I thought to myself, there is a man with confidence. And of course Jesus would be confident, but I hadn’t really considered what that meant for me. I was struck by this idea and have been pondering it ever since. What is Christ-like confidence? How do I develop it?
It wasn’t until I discovered the name of the painting that I understood the painting is of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. I missed that completely because I was so enamored with Jesus Himself. Maybe that is the way it was intended by the artist. Christ should be our focal point. He should be what rivets our attention. Maybe that is where we get our Christ-like confidence from.
What if I had Christ-like confidence in everything I did? To me, Christ-like confidence comes because of my faith in Christ. Faith that because of Christ I can prevail over my sins, weaknesses, and death, that mourning can turn to joy, hope can replace despair, and mercy can come to all who desire it and diligently come unto Christ. If I went into every situation knowing that everything would work out for my good–eventually, would I handle things differently? No matter how negative a situation becomes, or how bad things get, God is with us and loves us deeply, and all things will work out for our good. (see Romans 8:28, Doctrine & Covenants 90: 24; 122: 7)
Recently we read in Hebrews (4: 16) about ‘boldly approaching the throne of grace’. In Sunday School we discussed this concept. Do we approach timidly, cowering, and trembling because of our misdeeds, mistakes or weaknesses? There is no Christ-like confidence in that approach. Or, as my Sunday School teacher proposed, do we like Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings come with confidence, cloak flying behind us dramatically, as we acknowledge our weaknesses and praise Jesus for the opportunity to overcome them? That seems more like a confident meeting.
If we really believe that Christ has made it possible for us to succeed, then we should have confidence in all that we do, mistakes and all. Christ-like confidence. And our job or responsibility is to accept the gift He has lovingly given to each of us and go forth radiating that humble confidence. Not purposely sinning and not because we are so wonderful, but because He is so wonderful. We can have joy because of Him. We can be brave because of Him. We can know that we will eventually overcome whatever we face, all because of Jesus Christ. Christ has overcome everything, and because of that we can have unspeakable joy in Him.
It’s Thanksgiving this week. While you are enjoying your celebrations of gratitude, I invite you to take some time to ponder your Christ-like confidence. Take a moment to appreciate the gift He has given to you personally and figure out how to portray and radiate that appreciation into action. Morihei Ueshiba said “A warrior’s mission is to foster the success of others.” Christ is the ultimate spiritual warrior and His mission was to offer success to each of us. Whether we take it timidly or confidently is our choice and according to our faith in His power. Join me in working toward acting with Christ-like confidence in all we do.
Our family Come, Follow Me efforts have been a little haphazard of late, but we proceed to confidently move forward. We don’t dwell on past errors or slip ups. The system that has been working the best for us so far, is where we read together and then share our thoughts, insights, and questions. This may not work for you. You may have something better for you family. That is wonderful! We each should be finding a system that works for our individual family needs. And remember that will probably change as children mature and habits become consistent. Some families will be able to spend more time devoted to their studies. Others may find they can just barely squeeze in the minimum. Just remember that whatever you are doing is helping you to build your spiritual house. It happens one brick at a time. One success after another. Shake off the efforts that didn’t work so well and try something else. God sees your efforts and will bless you for them. God bless you this week in your studies.
Discuss your impressions and interesting points from your readings. What was meaningful to you? Did you learn anything new or come to think about something in a new way? What did you learn about joy or glory? What did you read about becoming a holy woman or holy man? Is there one attribute that stands out to you? You could make a list of the characteristics of holy people and discuss them.
Applying what we learn helps us change our hearts, our relationships, and our lives and leads to deeper conversion to the Gospel.
–Spend some time analyzing and studying each characteristic mentioned in these chapters. Which one do you think is the most important? Is there one you feel impressed to try to develop more fully in your life right now?
–Choose to focus on one attribute each day as you strive to become more holy. Discuss your experience at the end of the week.
–If you have small children you could come up with ways to act out each attribute. Make a video so they can watch themselves again and again.
–Record your impressions personally, or as a family. Record any promptings to act.
Here are some ideas of activities you can do throughout the week.
–Videos from The Bible Project:
2 Peter (8.02)
I love these videos as they give a great overview of the books, and add insightful knowledge.
–Pick a verse to memorize. Here is a video from Branch Together with five helpful tips for memorizing scriptures. Click here for the link.
–What brings you joy? Make a list. You could also study joy in the scriptures and General Conference talks. Record your impressions, insights, and thoughts in a journal. Then create a piece of artwork showing what represents joy to you, or write a poem or a song about it.
–Pick a favorite phrase like the one above, or another one. Write it in fancy lettering and put it up it in your home where you can see it and ponder it throughout the week. You could do this on the computer too. You could also draw a picture to go with it, or have a child illustrate it for you. You can also find pre-made, for-a-fee versions (like the one above) on the Internet if you wanted to go that route.
Some questions to ponder and/or discuss:
–If we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” why do we need to prove ourselves here on earth (1 Peter 1: 2)?
–How do life’s hardships strengthen your faith? Do they give you hope to continue (1 Peter 1: 7)?
–What does it take to be holy (1 Peter 1: 15-16)?
–What does it mean to you that you have an inheritance incorruptible, that fadeth not away, reserved for you in heaven (1 Peter 2: 4)?
–Cornerstones– (1 Peter 2: 6) What is it and why is one needed? What does it do? Do some research on the purpose of a cornerstone. How can Jesus Christ be our personal cornerstone?
–Do you feel the trial of your faith is much more precious than gold (1 Peter 1: 7)? Here is an article by Paul Tautges, posted April 16, 2019, where he shares five truths we can learn through having trials. Your Faith is More Precious than Gold .
–In your opinion what types of things would angels desire to look at (1 Peter 1: 12)? Are you involved in any of those things?
—1 Peter 1: 13 instructs us to gird up the loins of your mind. Learn how to gird your loins with an illustrated guide here. Compare this preparation of girding your loins to preparing your mind–how does it relate? What do you think it means to ‘gird the loins of your mind’?
–Look at this picture below as you ponder 1 Peter 1: 19 & 21. With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. . . that your faith and hope might be in God. What details in the picture can you relate to your life and journey?
–In 1 Peter 2 : 5 it talks about building a spiritual house. If you have young children, you could have a picture of a house and make parts of the house represent various traits or attributes. Then at a family home evening you can put it together while you discuss what it takes to build a spiritual house as a family. Check out this site for an idea of how to design the house.
–When the New Testament mentions an allusion to particular person, people or stories in the Old Testament, turn back to those places in the Old Testament and remind yourselves of what is known about that person, people or event. What specific event might the New Testament author have in mind in sharing that thought?
–Here is a list of related words taken from dictionary.com for the word Subjection. Read 1 Peter 3: 1, 5 replacing the word ‘subjection’ with each of these words and see how the meaning of the passage changes: duty, culpability, accountability, burden, obligation, debt, faith, fidelity, fealty, patriotism, honesty, support, allegiance, obedience, reliability, sincerity, adherence, tie, integrity, honor