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Church Talk: Testimony of Christ

Friday 3 November 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features


Church Talk: Testimony of Christ
As you follow Jesus Christ, you will have all the strength and courage you need to face opposition in this hazardous world, says President Russel M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. SUPPLIED/23110212

A testimony does not necessarily just happen spontaneously. Gaining a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ requires some effort, and often comes as a result of obedience to the principles of righteousness in the face of challenges or trials, writes Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

To use an analogy of creating lemonade (something positive and desirable), sugar (sweetness) is not the only ingredient; lemons (trials or bitter experiences) are required. Being obedient to the commandments of God through our trials will increase our testimony of the gospel and give us strength. Elder James E. Faust said “we acquire a testimony of the principles of the gospel by obediently trying to live them.”

In a “Worldwide Day of Testimony” broadcast two weeks ago, President Russel M. Nelson shared his counsel and experience on the principle of obedience that blessed his life.

“Today, in this worldwide testimony meeting, I want you to know that Jesus Christ and His restored gospel are the greatest sources of truth and strength on earth. The strengthening power of the saviour helps all who will come unto Him. His gospel is filled with strengthening power because it contains eternal truths augmented by the authority of his priesthood….

As you follow Jesus Christ, you will have all the strength and courage you need to face opposition in this hazardous world. I promise you that. (Following the commandments) will give you physical and spiritual strength that those who do not obey these commandments do not have.

Years ago, during my surgical internship, my wife and I attended a reception where the chief surgical resident offered us an alcoholic drink. We politely declined. A few minutes later he again offered us a drink. Again, we declined. When he approached us a third time, the man was livid. He warned me that if I did not take that drink, he would make life mighty miserable for me. We did not take that drink because we had made a promise to God. We kept our promise, and the chief resident kept his. He was responsible for scheduling operations for interns. He assigned me to assist in the longest and most difficult operations. However, assisting with difficult operations day after day, made me a better surgeon. Keeping the World of Wisdom (a promise to God to abstain from alcohol) actually propelled me forward in my surgical career. Through your continuing faith and obedience, the Lord will increase your ability to move mountains in your life, just as He did with me. Prayerfully ask God to help you exercise stronger faith. Faith in our Heavenly Father and His beloved Son, combined with daily repentance, will increase your access to Godly power.

If perhaps you feel you have strayed off the covenant path too far or too long, let me assure you that is not true. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, your future can be bright, even brilliant….

I know that life without God is a life filled with fear. I also know that life with God is a life filled with peace, joy, and power. Resolve to live your life with God...”

When we seek righteousness, we want to know what is good and true, and apply that to our lives. Following God’s commandments will increase our testimony and spiritual strength, and the Holy Spirit will bear witness to our souls of truth.

Elder Dalin H. Oaks defines a testimony of the gospel as “a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true”.

Elder Oaks continues to explain: “What do we mean when we testify and say that we know the gospel are true? Contrast that kind of knowledge with ‘I know it is cold outside’ or ‘I know I love my wife’. These are three different kinds of knowledge, each learned in a different way. Knowledge of outside temperature can be verified by scientific proof. Knowledge that we love our spouse is personal and subjective. While not capable of scientific proof, it is still important. The idea that all important knowledge is based on scientific evidence is simply untrue….

The Book of Mormon teaches that God will manifest the truth of spiritual things unto us by the power of the Holy Ghost (see Moroni 10:4–5). In modern revelation God promises us that we will receive ‘knowledge’ by His telling us in our mind and in our heart “by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 8:1–2).

One of the greatest things about our Heavenly Father’s plan for His children is that each of us can know the truth of that plan for ourselves. That revealed knowledge does not come from books, from scientific proof, or from intellectual pondering. As with the Apostle Peter, we can receive that knowledge directly from our Heavenly Father through the witness of the Holy Ghost.

When we know spiritual truths by spiritual means, we can be just as sure of that knowledge as scholars and scientists are of the different kinds of knowledge they have acquired by different methods.

How can we come to know and testify that what he said was true? How does one gain what we call a testimony?

The first step in gaining any kind of knowledge is to really desire to know. In the case of spiritual knowledge, the next step is to ask God in sincere prayer. As we read in modern revelation, ‘If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things – that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal’ (D&C 42:61).

Here is what Alma wrote about what he did: ‘Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit’ (Alma 5:46).

As we desire and seek, we should remember that acquiring a testimony is not a passive thing but a process in which we are expected to do something. Jesus taught, ‘If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself’ (John 7:17).”

I also testify that following Jesus Christ and keeping the commandments of God will bring strength to your life; you will find increased capacity, greater hope, and a stronger relationship with our Savior. May we each seek to grow our individual testimonies of the gospel, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.