This article is based on an article given by Elder D. Todd Christofferson in the March 2008 Ensign – Special Edition of Jesus Christ.
Whenever people talk about being a witness of Christ, we generally tend to think of prophets and apostles –“The Twelve…are called to be the Twelve Apostles or special witnesses of the name of Christ…” (D&C 107:23) and indeed they are Special Witnesses. However, when we are baptised, we covenant that we are willing to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places…” (Mosiah 18:9) and so surely we must have the capacity to become such witnesses of Christ. There are a number of ways we can do this.
First we need to gain the witness ourselves – it’s no good testifying of Jesus Christ if we don’t believe He is the promised Messiah ourselves! The most important, and powerful way we can receive that knowledge is through the power of the Holy Ghost. An example – in Matthew 16:16-17, Christ has asked His apostles who they believed Him to be and Peter answers “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee; but my Father which is in heaven.” Once we receive the same witness from our Father in Heaven from the Spirit – as Peter did – we become a witness of Christ with a sure testimony. We have many other testimonies which assist us. We have the scriptures, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We have the latter-day prophets and apostles. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said – “…this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God…” (D&C 76:22-23). The greatest witness we can receive, however, is that one mentioned of the Spirit. “…no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Corinthians 12:3) – this testator is vital for us to receive our personal witness.
Another way we are witnesses of Christ is shown in the way is shown in the way we live or in our actions to others. Jesus taught “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16). When we set out to present our good works, we will have to be cautious. Whilst we aim to show “…a more excellent way,” (Ether 12:11) of living, we have to beware priestcraft. We have to act in a way that “thine alms may be in secret…” (Matthew 6:4) so that we don’t serve or show an example for praise, rather to bring people (and ourselves) closer to Christ. When we are baptised, we promise to take upon us the name of Christ, and what better way to do that than serve our fellow men as He did. We are to be ready to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” (Mosiah 18:8) so the people around us can feel supported and loved – for that is what Christ does.
Finally, we are a true witness of Christ when we help others come unto Him. Missionary work and reaching out to lost members are ways in which we can do this. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” (Matthew 28:19) was Christ’s direction to the apostles and it’s one that we, as disciples of Christ, must follow too – for how can we truly be thankful for the Saviour and His Atonement if we don’t want to share this wonderful message with others. President Howard W. Hunter, in an address to new Mission Presidents in 1994, said “Any time we experience the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others…A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.” Enos felt a similar way when he prayed for forgiveness from his sins. He said “it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren…” (Enos 1:9) – just as President Hunter said, Enos felt concern for the welfare of others. He had truly experienced the Atonement.
As we experience the wonderful blessing of the Atonement, we become a witness of Him and through our personal conviction, our Christ-like example to others and our desire to share this wonderful news to everyone – we will become powerful instruments in His hands.