Peter M. Johnson’s BYU Devotion: 3 Ways to Come to Christ
Although he doesn’t have hopeful college prospects as a high school graduate, Peter M. JohnsonGeneral Authority Seventy, received a partial scholarship to play basketball at BYU-Hawaii.
A few weeks before school started, he met with a school counselor to register for classes. The counselor informed Brother Johnson, who was a Muslim at the time, that he needed to take a religion course. Wanting to better understand the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, he enrolled in a course on the New Testament.
The counselor also told him that because of his high school transcripts, he would be placed on academic probation — and lose his athletic scholarship if he didn’t achieve at least a 3.0 GPA each of the first two semesters.
Speaking at a church meeting on the Brigham Young University campus on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Elder Johnson told the rest of the story: From Arizona State University, I finished my professional career as a as a CPA and associate professor of accounting at the University of Alabama.
“With love and faith in Jesus Christ, determination, hard work, and lots of help, much good can be accomplished.”
From this experience and others, Elder Johnson said, “I have come to realize that when we come unto Christ, He follows a pattern of instructions to give us inspiration and spiritual strength. He teaches eternal truths, issues invitations to action, and promises blessings to those who act in faith to respond to his invitations.
Atonement of Christ, Invitation and Promised Blessings
Brother Johnson taught the eternal truth of the Atonement of Jesus Christ—that through him and his sacrifice, death, and resurrection, all can find true happiness and enjoy life in greater abundance while preparing to eternal life with God.
He then shared the Savior’s invitation and promised blessings: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
“Do we recognize his invitation? asked Brother Johnson. “Do we recognize the power we can derive from his promised blessings? Christ invites us to come to him with the promise that he will give us rest. President Russell M. Nelson in his October 2022 general conference address defines “rest” as relief and peace.
Brother Johnson suggested three ways to come more fully to Christ and receive his rest.
1. Receive his ordinances and make and keep covenants with him
President Nelson taught“Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and temples—and keeps them—has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ. Please ponder this amazing truth! The reward for keeping covenants with God is heavenly power, the power that strengthens us to better withstand our trials, temptations, and sorrows.
In January 2013, Elder Johnson was called to serve as the first African-American stake president in Alabama. During one of his first visits to a stake congregation, he met a man who gave him his temple recommend. This man explained that he felt unworthy to worship in the temple because he could not support a person of color serving as a stake president. He also had a problem with the fact that Brother Johnson was married to someone who was not of his race.
“I responded by returning his temple recommend to this brother and said if he had any problem with me because of my race and marriage, he should worship God more in the house. of the Lord, no less,” Elder Johnson said.
Temple worship, Elder Johnson said, “can help us see beyond ourselves, our neighborhoods, and our nations. By truly understanding temple ordinances and covenants, we come to recognize that the Lord loves diversity. »
Recognizing that this man was humble and had a desire to change, Elder Johnson told him he was ready to help him overcome his problem. Two months later, Brother Johnson and his wife, Sister Stephanie Johnson, had dinner with this man and his family. A friendship developed over the next five years.
“When I was released as stake president, we embraced with such a sense of love and fellowship that we both understood the spiritual power received from priesthood ordinances and the keeping of covenants with the Father and his Son,” Elder Johnson said. .
2. Become an engaged learner
President Nelson has all invited to: “Immerse yourself in the Scriptures to better understand the mission and ministry of Christ. Know the doctrine of Christ in order to understand his power for your life. Internalize the truth that the Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to you. … The more you learn about the Savior, the easier it will be for you to trust in His mercy, His infinite love, and His strengthening, healing, and redemptive power.
Elder Johnson said that one can become an engaged learner by studying the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon.
Testifying to the power of the Book of Mormon, President Nelson said in his October 2017 general conference address“The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and comfort our souls.[…]I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day.
3. Minister of one
As one increases one’s desire to love God by keeping his commandments, it deepens one’s ability to love one’s neighbors and oneself, Elder Johnson said. Love for God should be “the main motivating factor” when seeking to serve one.
“With love, we share our time, experiences, resources and vulnerabilities while nurturing and helping each other. Sharing vulnerabilities builds unity. None of us are immune to challenges, hardships , weaknesses, heartaches and disappointments in life…. We can invite those we love to feel what we feel and know what we know through the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Brother Johnson concluded with a heartfelt plea: “Friends, let us see ourselves as the Savior sees us.
He reassured BYU students that Christ knows their insecurities, doubts and concerns; He knows those who feel marginalized and mistreated, those who struggle with emotional challenges and various forms of addiction, those who feel overwhelmed and exhausted.
“To all, his invitation to act and his promised blessings are unique and lovingly intimate and are directed specifically to you and carry the same powerful and eternal truth,” Brother Johnson said, quoting again Matthew 11:28-30.
The Savior declared, “In the world you will have tribulations; but rest assured; I conquered the world” (John 16:33).
“I leave you with my testimony that the words of the Living Christ are true. Come to him, be of good cheer. He conquered the world and with him you can too.
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