Wednesday, April 24, 2024

I am a Child of God; Therefore, What?

(Guest post by Spencer's dad)

Who are you? We are each many things depending on our family or employment and other chapters of our lives. President Russell M Nelson told the young adults of the church (May 2022) what our most important label should be.

“First: Know the truth about who you are. I believe that if the Lord were speaking to you directly tonight, the first thing He would make sure you understand is your true identity. My dear friends, you are literally spirit children of God. You have sung this truth since you learned the words to “I Am a Child of God.” But is that eternal truth imprinted upon your heart? Has this truth rescued you when confronted with temptation?”

He continued by describing labels that he once had “All other labels that have applied to me—such as a medical doctor, surgeon, researcher, professor, lieutenant, captain, PhD, American, and so forth —would fall somewhere down the list.”

Spencer with Papa at Master's Graduation

President Nelson goes on to describe a potentially negative label that could be applied to him. “Some might label me as an “old man.” But I’m a lot younger than Adam was —and Noah too. Agism, racism, nationalism, sexism, and a host of other -isms are universally limiting.”

Since I left on my young(er) mission (Feb 25, 1982) (42 years ago) I have watched (on video) or read every General Conference session. In 1982 Russell M Nelson was a heart surgeon. In 1985 he was called as a member of Quorum of Twelve. Each talk he has given in the last four years has been “his best talk ever” (according to me).

How much you and I would have lost had we labelled President Nelson as an old man!

President Nelson urged us to identify ourselves by three long term labels: “First and foremost, you are a child of God. Second, as a member of the Church, you are a child of the covenant. And third, you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Like our eye glasses these identifiers changes help us more accurately see who we are and who others are. Some of our titles have not changed in decades father/mother, son/daughter, husband/wife, grandfather/grandmother, etc.

The practical responsibility of these eternal callings changes over time. When we pass into the next life we may find that these titles continue to adapt.

President Nelson concludes by saying “I am simply saying that no identifier should displace, replace, or take priority over these three enduring designations: “child of God,” “child of the covenant,” and "disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Ponder the first identifier - I am a Child of God. This song is beloved by church members of all ages.

I am a child of God - how does that affect how I see myself?

I am a child of God - how does that affect how I see my (imperfect, wonderful, sometimes annoying) family members?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see co-workers?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see other church members?

I am a child of God - How does that affect how I see strangers I meet each day?

Over the next ten days I will consider those questions. In two weeks I will write up some observations I made as I tried to see those around me?

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