Sunday, March 22, 2009
President's Message March 2009
Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary
Developing Christlike Attributes
In our last round of Zone Conferences we learned about the two dimensions of a Preach My Gospel missionary. The first dimension deals with our “Being.” Our being comes from our character, our inner-self. It is what we are becoming. Being a PMG Missionary means we strive to become like our example and Savior, Jesus Christ. We become like Christ by acquiring and developing the attributes of Christ. The second dimension deals with our “Doing.” To become a PMG Missionary, we need to do the things missionaries do. These two dimensions of Being and Doing are essential to becoming a successful missionary. To ensure we do the right things in the correct manner, we first must focus on our being. Just as faith precedes the miracle, our being precedes our doing. If we can nurture our being, our doing will not miss the mark.
The Lord has called you to His work, and He invites you to follow him. The invitation to follow Christ is an invitation to follow His example and become like Him. (PMG P.115)
Preach My Gospel introduces us to nine Christlike attributes. These are taught and found throughout the scriptures. In D&C 4 we have a wonderful list of eight of these attributes. In verse 5 we are taught that Faith, Hope and Charity qualify us for the work. These are the first three attributes of Christ. Further, in verse 6 we are told to remember Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility and Diligence. These are the next 5 attributes of Christ as listed in PMG. Obedience, the first law of heaven and the price we pay for access to the Spirit, is the ninth attribute of Christ.
Christlike attributes can be developed if we desire them. They are gifts from God. To obtain these gifts, we must humble ourselves (which is an attribute of Christ) and pray for them. It is only through sincere desire and the help of the Lord that we can truly cultivate these attributes fully in our lives.
As you study and strive to develop these attributes, you will notice that you can develop them by doing them. For example, we learn charity by serving others. When we have charity, we desire to serve others and to be obedient to all God’s commandments. Exercising Faith gives us Hope to receive blessings. Humility prepares us to learn and gain knowledge. Knowledge through diligent study helps us understand God’s plan and our purpose here, which strengthens our faith. Working on one attribute can strengthen another. They are interconnected and complementary. I believe the Apostle Peter understood this when he referred to the sum of many of of these attributes as the Divine Nature.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8)
As missionaries, we represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His church here on earth. We must work daily to develop these attributes of Christ so that we may not be barren nor unfruitful on our mission and throughout our lives.
We can develop these attributes by following the guidance in PMG. First, choose which attribute you would like to focus on. Write a definition for it. What does it mean to you? Support your thoughts with scripture. Get into the scriptures and learn more about the attribute. Make notes in your journal about what you learn. Then, set specific goals in your missionary planner of things you will do to help you develop this attribute. Share your goals as appropriate with me or your companion. This will help you be accountable to yourself and help you follow through on your plan. Pray for help to develop the attribute and to achieve your goals. Evaluate your progress and start again.
There is a wonderful success formula for becoming Preach My Gospel missionaries. It is very simple. “Be” a missionary and “Do” missionary things.
May we continually strive to be more like our Savior, He whom we represent, by developing these Christlike attributes. We love each of you and are so proud of who you are (your being) and all you do (your doing).
Love President and Sister McIntyre