Exemplar: noun. One who serves as a model or example.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
“Come, Follow Me”, we sing more often than not in church. We know that Jesus Christ walked the path that we should follow (John 14:6). We know that He is perfect (3 Nephi 12:48). But what does that mean for us? Do we just sit back, saying He already did all of that and there is no way that we could be remotely like Him? NO!
After describing His gospel in 3 Nephi 27, Christ said, “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day…. Therefore, what manner of men [and women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:21-22, 27) Not only is it possible for us to follow in His footsteps, it is absolutely essential for our well-being!
Now, this doesn’t mean that we go all-out crazy trying to be “perfect” (cough, cough guilty). We don’t need to be perfect in this life; we need to be Christlike. This means that we start where we are at and make small, daily adjustments so that we are headed in the right direction. This doesn’t mean that we all have exactly the same journey. In fact, as a past institute teacher said, there will be more diversity in heaven than there is in hell. We are not meant to be the same. God does not want a “robot people.” He wants a people that care for each other and for their God, despite their differences.
Case in point: my roommates.
They are all incredible in their own beautiful ways. And the way that they each follow Christ is inspiring. Jenna brings the Spirit into our apartment through her daily morning listening to General Conference. Kayla still has her missionary fire and a love for the Lord that she is not afraid to share with those around her. Jess knows where to turn when the going gets tough, and she’s not afraid to help those around her when they find themselves in similar situations. Deb isn’t afraid of showing how much she cares for everyone (in fact, there’s not a lot that she is afraid of). Taylor is so willing to help others (even if it means very little sleep for her) and is one of the funniest people you will ever talk to. Every one of them is Christlike in her own way and I love them!!
One more thought before closing: I love watching the young men bless and pass the sacrament. It is literally the most Christlike thing we can experience every week. “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them [the apostles], saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) It is so powerful to see these young men (particularly my brothers) follow in Christ’s footsteps. They are providing a service for us just like Christ would do if He were there. How grateful I am for those Priesthood-holders!
As we think about fulfilling our purpose here in this life, may we not forget the help that our Savior has offered to us. He is only a prayer away. “Sincere prayers offered in the holy name of Jesus Christ are an expression of our devoted love, our eternal gratitude, and our steadfast desire to pray as He prayed, to do as He did, and to become as He is.” (Carol F. McConkie) He is our exemplar, and He will lead us safely home if we let Him.