Recently, I was reading in the book of Jacob, chapter 6, verse 5:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.
As I started digging deeper, I quickly learned that I am not the only one who has noticed the irony that “cleave” has two polar opposite meanings. One is to forcibly separate, and the other is to stick together and resist separation. Even more ironic is that, if we are not trying to do the second when it comes to Christ, Satan will almost make sure that the first happens!
How Christ Cleaves to Us
As I have grown in the gospel, I have learned how intimately the Savior has been involved in every aspect of the Plan of Salvation. He was our example and leader in the premortal existence. He formed the earth under the direction of his Father. He covenanted to a very special mission on the earth. He lived exactly according to his Father’s will, he taught and led by example, and then he suffered for our sins, died to atone for our sins, and overcame death through his resurrection.
It seems to me that there is very little that the Savior wouldn’t do to give us the opportunity to return and receive the highest rewards that we can possibly have. He loves us that much.
Then, as I have experienced in my daily life, his influence is always there. He knows what I am thinking and feeling, and he knows how to help. He is always willing to help. He fills my heart with joy. He gives me opportunities to be more than I could ever be on my own.
Christ never moves away from me — it is I who move away from him.
How We Can Cleave to Christ
In the end, that’s the way we should be with Christ! We should be right there, ready to do whatever he asks, always paying attention to what he says through prophets and through holy writ. We should be praying often, seeking to make sure what we want and desire is actually in line with his will.
- Turn to Christ. So many times, I feel that I am smart enough and strong enough to solve problems on my own. Sometimes, that is what the Savior expects me to do — work it out on my own because I need the experience — but I have found it’s always good to “check in” and make sure that’s the case. It also means to me that I don’t blame the Savior for sending my trials or for refraining from removing them. I turn to Christ to get me through.
- Trust him. Scriptures tell us, repeatedly, that Christ only has our best interests at heart. He is not a man that takes pleasure in teasing and toying with humans. He has not selfish, ulterior motives. Everything he does, everything he asks of us, every call to repent is an act of love. His voice is the call of pure love. Having the faith to trust that as we walk through this life is a big step toward cleaving unto Christ.
- Keep his commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Receiving blessings hinges on our obedience and the intent of our hearts. Keeping commandments shapes our hearts, minds, and character to be like Christ. Christ, because of his love of us and his Father was perfectly obedient. We show our love through our obedience.
- Acknowledge his goodness. I’ve already touched on this, but our Savior is perfectly good. He ensures that everything that comes into our lives can be for our good. (Our choices and reactions are the wild card.) In good times, and bad, we cleave unto Christ by acknowledging that his plan for us is good and that all we are experiencing are actually blessings.
- Live in gratitude. In good times and in bad, thank the Lord for all that we have, even if all we can find in our hearts is the comfort we receive from knowing that all things will eventually be for our good.
I would never present myself as a perfect example of cleaving unto Christ. I am mortal, and I have doubts through which I struggle. Even so, I have been blessed to grow in faith and spiritual knowledge. It is easier now than it was as a young convert to turn to Christ and to cleave unto him — and life is sweeter.