How Do We Show Our Devotion to Jesus Christ?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar.

My next question in this series is, how do we show our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. Devotion is defined for some as love or strong affection, loyalty, dedication, worship, a willingness to serve, zeal, veneration, respect, or reverence (see online definitions). Devotion is love. The scriptures teach us ways that the Lord has taught us, to show our love to him. The first one that comes to mind is in John 14:15, which reads, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 takes that one step further and says, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.” We show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, by keeping his commandments and serving him. In Psalms 97:10 it says, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil . . .”. This teaches us that to show our love and devotion to Jesus Christ, we must hate all that is evil. This must be the case, because anything that is evil is not acceptable to God. This tells me also, that if we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we must repent, because part of repentance is turning away from that which is evil.

The Savior taught his disciples what to do to show our love and devotion to him. In John 21 we read the following:

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

If we love the Lord, we must also feed his sheep. This means that we are to serve others and bring them to Christ by sharing the gospel with them. 1 John 4:21 continues this sentiment, “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” We need to be loving, kind, and caring towards others if we are going to truly show our devotion for our Savior.

Devotion is to have loyalty. There are many examples in the scriptures of those who have been loyal to Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and made sacrifices to the Lord with devotion. In Moses 5:6 we read, “And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” One of my favorite scriptures is one of devotion and loyalty. In 1 Nephi 3:7 we read, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” The Lord taught us about loyalty as well. In Matthew 6:24 we read, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” This idea is also taught in the book of Joshua 24:15, which reads “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Devotion to the Savior is to choose to fully follow Him and do the things that he has commanded. It means to jump into His service with both feet, totally committed, and not just occasionally do what he asks of us. It means that even though we may be faced with great opposition, we will stand firm in support of Jesus Christ, just as Joseph Smith did in his life. He knew he has seen Christ and had been commanded to do great things for the Lord. He showed his devotion, by remaining firm in his testimony when he said, “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it . . .” (see Joseph Smith-History 1:25).

Dedication is a form of devotion. To be dedicated to Jesus Christ is to make Him a priority in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 we read, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Throughout the scriptures there are many verses which tell us to be devoted by giving all that we’ve got to give. Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 reads, “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.” Likewise, in Doctrine and Covenants 11:20 we read, “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength.” To be dedicated to Jesus Christ, is to put aside our pride and allow Him to perfect us through the power of the atonement. In Moroni 10:32 we read, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ . . .”.

When I think of the word dedication, I think of the way that the leaders of the church dedicate churches, temples and other buildings to the work of the Lord. These places are built, designed, and intended for the work of the Lord and nothing else. They are places that are to be kept holy and worthy so that the Lord can fulfill his purposes for us. When we show our devotion through dedication, we give ourselves (our bodies, minds, talents, passions, time and so on) to the Lord for his work and purposes.

Devotion is worship. In Psalms 95:6 we read, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” To worship the Lord, we honor Him and give thanks for all that we have been given. I think of the wise men, who learned of the birth of the Savior. Matthew 2:2 reads, “. . . Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They adored him on bended knee showing reverence, respect, and adoration to him as their king. We worship in our devotion to Jesus Christ, by believing in Him and recognizing his divinity and glory. We worship Jesus Christ specifically on the sabbath day, when we go to his house and partake of the sacrament. In Alma 15:17 we read, “Therefore, after Alma having established the church . . . seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction—”. Our taking of the sacrament, is a formal expression of our reverence and gratitude for Him. We are devoted, if we have the same attitude as the Nephites who saw the Savior in person. In 3 Nephi 11 we read the following:

16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

Being devoted to Jesus Christ, is also having a willingness to serve. As women in the gospel, we are asked to have charity and to do all that we can to serve. Sometimes this service comes in magnifying the callings that we are given. Other times it is when we go out of our way to meet the needs of others both inside and outside of the church. A really good scripture that relates to this is Mosiah 2:17 which reads, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”

Having zeal towards Jesus Christ, is to be devoted. I think that being zealous requires being actively willing and ready to do what the Lord wants you to. It’s the fire that you can see in a new convert to the gospel. Zeal is the energy and enthusiasm to seek for His light and then share it with others. In Alma 27:27 we read of the members of the church who had been converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says, “And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” Paul, who was a great disciple of Christ, and who wrote a lot of the scriptures we have in the new testament was a great example of being devoted and zealous. In Acts 22:3 we read, “I am verily a man which am a Jew, . . . taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” The Savior taught us to have zeal towards him. In Revelation 3:19 we read, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” When we are willing to humble ourselves, recognize our imperfections and need to be better, and actively repent, we are zealous towards Jesus Christ. Also, Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 reads, “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;”. The phrase “anxiously engaged in a good cause” equates to a person of devotion. A devoted person looks for the good they can do and does not wait to be called upon by another.

Finally, devotion to Jesus Christ is to have veneration, respect and reverence towards him. I think that most of all, reverence towards the Lord is shown through our desire to pray and communicate with Him. We also reverence him and respect him when we do not take sacred things lightly. To be devoted is to recognize that there are solemn things that He has given us that we should honor and value above the things of this world. In Doctrine and Covenants 76 we read the following:

92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

Things of an eternal nature are to be treated as such. When we follow this, and recognize that it is through Him that all things are, we show our devotion to Jesus Christ.

As a member of the gospel and of the Relief Society, I am devoted to Jesus Christ, my Savior and Exemplar. I know that I am a work in progress and I am not perfect in this, but I am united with other women all over the world, who are striving to show their own devotion to Him. I have really enjoyed studying this topic this week. This feeds the flame in my soul, to be better and more firm in my faith. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He has made great and wonderful things possible for us. I am completely in debt to Him and I desire to give all that I can through my devotion to be worthy of the blessings that he has made possible.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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