Count Ourselves His…

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…., I digress — Long ago, we stood all together as a family in Heaven, children with our loving Heavenly Father. In that grand council we shouted for joy upon learning that we would have the opportunity to come to Earth, receive bodies, and learn to be more like our Heavenly Parents. Our elder brother Jesus would provide a way that we might be able to once again return to Heaven. All we needed to do was keep God’s commandments, repent of wrong doing, take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, and follow our Savior. Today it is ours to remember, hold these truths in our memories to action, ‘O man, remember, and perish not’ (Mosiah 4:30). ‘Remember to retain [Jesus’] name written always in your hearts,… that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which He shall call you’ (Mosiah 5:12). The Lord has done His part in the great plan of happiness, now it is ours to do, to covenant, to follow, to be His disciples.”

Daniel Joseph Malcolm, 4 May 2024

What does it mean to take upon ourselves the name of Christ? Some years ago I brought one of my children to Bishop Robert Pauline in preparation for baptism. In that interview Bishop Pauline taught by the Spirit that when we are baptized we take upon ourselves by covenant the name of Christ, most literally as a new name. I comprended for the first time that day, so many years after my own baptism, that I was no longer just Danny Malcolm, I had become Daniel Joseph Malcolm of Christ, because I am His. Though I have always felt it beyond me, I have since set out more diligently to be worthy of the name, for by Him what is beyond me can be brought to my upward reach.

“John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus” by Harry Anderson

King Benjamin taught, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). Some days I do better at putting off that “natural man” and truly being a disciple of Christ, truly being His, but faith and effort is always there, and because of His atonement, that faith coupled with that effort is what truly makes me His.

It must have been an astounding moment, one perhaps similar to the day of Pentecost, when in the shadow of King Benjamin’s tower the people felt that mighty change, committed in earnest. “And they all cried with one voice, saying: ‘Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually’” (Mosiah 5:2).

“In the Service of Your God” by Walter Rane

Oh, that we could share such an experience, but did we not? Did we not shout in that great council in Heaven for joy at the opportunity to come to Earth, to receive a body, and follow our Savior, become His, and return triumphantly to Father? We did. Though of it we have no current memory, we know by prophecy and by the Spirit, which is the same, that it is so.

And in this life, have we not taken His name and declared it so again and again with every emblem of the sacrament and with every amen? Indeed, we have. It can be as that day at the tower every day as we arise from our knees each morning in reaffirming commitment to be His, to put off that “natural man (woman),” and be a daughter or son of God. We can change, all of us. By His atoning blood change is within our grasp. We no more need to be lost or fallen because He has found us, He has rescued us. Change is not beyond any of us because of Him.

President Russell M. Nelson taught, “We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He loves you—each of you! He allows you to access His power as you keep His commandments, eagerly, earnestly, and exactly. It is that simple and certain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change!” (General Conference, October 2013).

“True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

President Russell M. Nelson

Yes, as that Prophet-King Benjamin declared, we are His. “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, His sons, and His daughters; for behold, this day He hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on His name; therefore, ye are born of Him and have become His sons and His daughters” (Mosiah 5:7).

There is an all-powerful force in the universe, one for good. If we join ourselves to it, to Him, that force will be with us always. We will be one in Him. Now, that is something to shout for joy about! May the Lord be with us all….

“The Resurrected Jesus Christ” by Harry Anderson

I declare unto you this day as His witness that it is all true. We are begotten of Him as we strive to be His by obedience and repentance. Let us make that “mighty change” work in us until by His refining power, His redeeming blood, His countenance and name may be divinely and indelibly impressed upon us both now and in the eternities. Let us take upon ourselves the name of Christ and wear it as best we can, until it is “natural” unto us. Let us be enemies no more, but true sons and daughters of God, always “steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal [us] His” (Mosiah 5:15). In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

May the fourth be with you…

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2020-03-0100-king-benjamin-addresses-his-people-mosiah-1-5?lang=eng

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.