Krista Baer Music

I'm Trying to be Like Jesus

John 13:15, 34; Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48

 

This is an arrangement I wrote several years (decades!) ago, but don’t share very often, because it is not my song. This song by Janice Kapp Perry has always been my favorite, and I love the word “trying.” The church recently announced some small changes in the wording of the temple recommend questions, and one of those changes adds the word “striving.” This simple word gives me so much hope and encouragement. When the Savior is giving the Sermon on the Mount, he admonishes his followers, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” When he shares the same lesson with the Nephites after his resurrection, there is the smallest change in the wording. Here he says, “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” It has always seemed significant to me that before his resurrection, the Savior did not refer to himself as perfect, although we know he was the only perfect being to ever live on this earth. It is not until after his resurrection that he asks us to be perfect as He is. This small distinction gives me faith and hope that through the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ, I can be made perfect as I repent, and as I strive to be more like him, even though perfection is something I will never attain through my own merits. One of my favorite talks of all time is by Elder Jeffrey R Holland, called, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect…Eventually.” In that talk, Elder Holland says:

 

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father … in heaven is perfect.” Such celestial goals seem beyond our reach. Yet surely the Lord would never give us a commandment He knew we could not keep. … I believe in His perfection, and I know we are His spiritual sons and daughters with divine potential to become as He is. I also know that, as children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. No! With a willingness to repent and a desire for increased righteousness always in our hearts, I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers or anorexia, feeling depressed or demolishing our self-esteem. That is not what the Lord wants for Primary children or anyone else who honestly sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.” … I believe that Jesus did not intend His sermon on this subject to be a verbal hammer for battering us about our shortcomings. No, I believe He intended it to be a tribute to who and what God the Eternal Father is and what we can achieve with Him in eternity. … “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him … ,” Moroni pleads. “Love God with all your might, mind and strength, then … by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” Our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from heaven—we can’t “earn” it.”

 

So I put Janice Kapp Perry’s beautiful words and music together with a simple conter-melody using the words from the scripture, “Be ye therefore perfect.” I believe with all my heart that as we try to be more like the Savior, and come unto Him with all of our hearts, He will come to us, and claim us as His own.

 

LYRICS

 

I’m trying to be like Jesus;

I’m following in his ways.

I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.

At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,

But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

 

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,

For these are the things Jesus taught.”

 

Be ye therefore perfect, as you have seen Him do.

Come unto the Lord with all of your heart

That He may then come unto you.

We are striving to be the children that He

Will claim as His sons and daughters

 

So we should love one another as Jesus loves you.

Try to show kindness in all that you do.

Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,

For these are the things Jesus taught.”