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  • Writer's pictureNicole

My Talk: Becoming a Witness of Christ

Jesus Christ

Recently I was asked to speak in church on becoming a witness of Christ, which is a baptism covenant. And even though I feel that I have done more studying on the baptism covenants than the average member because of my association with this blog, I still felt like writing this talk was a challenge.

I began with some vulnerability, telling the congregation that the term "witness" has never really resonated with me. It’s not a word that I use in my regular, everyday vocabulary and when I think of the word “witness” I only imagine courtrooms and accounts of eyewitnesses. I’ve never seen the Lord with my own eyes, so if you were to ask me to describe myself, “witness of Christ” would not come out of my mouth. This is true for me despite the fact that I rehearsed the Young Women's theme, including "I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places" for years and years as a girl and a leader.

However, I am a lifelong member of Christ’s church and I’m fully aware of my baptismal covenant to bear the name of Christ, to be a “Christian,” and to work diligently to become more like Him. It’s not a promise that I take lightly, and after a month of study and reflection on the term, “witness”, I can now confidently say I am living as a witness of Christ which includes working to be Christlike to the best of my ability everyday to show the world evidence of His love and care for others. But, what else does being a witness of Christ look like?

Elder Christofferson gave a talk in Mar of 2008 about this very topic and he outlined 3 ways that we can be witnesses of Christ. They are the following:

  • We are witnesses of Christ when we receive a sure testimony that He lives.

  • We are witnesses of Christ when we reflect Him in our day to day living, including our character.

  • We are witnesses of Christ when we help others come unto Him.

I went on to talk about each point, focusing on a few personal stories that reflect each idea, and that brought clarity to my study.

We are witnesses of Christ when we receive a sure, personal testimony that He lives.

Elder Christofferson says that we are witnesses of Christ when we receive a sure, personal testimony that He lives. And before this assignment, I would have thought that only people who have sure testimonies of Christ are the eyewitnesses, and that the rest of us rely only on faith in their encounters and a hope in His reality. But, it is possible to have such an undeniable experience with the Spirit that to know that He is real, is sure. This reliance on the Spirit for confirmation of truth is illustrated by Jesus’ own friend and apostle, Peter who lived as an eyewitness to His ministry.

When Christ and Peter lived on the Earth, Peter said to Him, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16-18) and Christ replied that this knowledge did not come to him because of his physical proximity or experiences with Jesus, but because Father in Heaven had revealed it to him. Even Peter, who was an eyewitness to His ministry had to watch Jesus, and listen, and then decide if Jesus was a power hungry man finding satisfaction in saying and doing sensational things, or if He was the chosen Savior of the world, and only the Spirit could confirm that.

A few years ago, during Covid, some of our ward were asked to attend a regional leadership meeting held over Zoom and conducted by Elder Cook. My husband and I both opened our computer to join, and the truth is, I don’t remember a thing about that meeting except for Elder Cook’s concluding testimony. At the end of the training, Elder Cook opened the meeting up for a few questions and at one point he shared that when apostles are called to their position they are counseled to be very selective and thoughtful about who they share their most spiritual experiences with. Without going into detail, he then said, “I want you to listen carefully to my words.” He said, “I know my Savior’s voice and I know my Savior’s face.”

The Spirit was so strong in our dingy basement office, and it is a testimony and an experience that I will never forget because I choose to believe that Elder Cook is not an old man who finds satisfaction in saying sensational things. I believe him to be a good, honest, God-loving man doing his best to share his real experiences with hopes of bringing peace to the world.

But what about those of us who have never had an undeniable experience with the Spirit, or who just have hope in Christ, not a sure knowledge of Him? And to be clear, it is not inferior to only have hope in Christ; or to only be confident in saying, “I sure hope Christ is real.” Some of us aren’t gifted with a heavy amount of surety, or even faith. All our challenges are different, and some of us will need to make choices about our faith more often than others.

Jesus Christ with open arms

We are witnesses of Christ when we live so as to reflect His teachings.

The second way to witness of Christ is applicable to everyone, those with a sure knowledge and those with hope. Elder Christofferson tells us we are witnesses of Christ when we live so as to reflect His teachings. People should be able to see in us something of Jesus Christ. The way we act, speak, look and even think will reflect Him and His ways.

When my son, Luke was about 5, he was eating lunch with his grandpa and he asked, “hey Grandpa, do you know why they call salami, salami?" Grandpa said to him, "No Luke, I don't." To which Luke replied, "because it tastes like salami.” Grandpa giggled and maybe you smiled, or maybe you rolled your eyes because this seems simplistic, but the same can be asked about us…”how do you know if someone’s a disciple of Christ? Because they act like a disciple of Christ.”

Recently we were in Texas for a family reunion, and I decided I wanted to go a little early to see an old friend. So the day before the reunion, we decided to tube the Comal river with her and her son mostly because it was 100 degrees and humid which made being in the water essential. Also, I realized after this experience that tubing rivers in Utah is more like mini rafting and less floating because in Texas you can actually rent a tube for your cooler of drinks and we laughed at the idea of trying to sip a soda while going down the Weber River because it couldn’t be done.

Anyhow, you can imagine that with the ability to drink alcohol for 4 hours, the crowd becomes a bit vulgar which is unfortunate. Earlier, my husband and I had also noticed that the number of churches on the roads in Texas rivals Utah. There are crosses in the sky at every turn, and so many people wear crosses on their necks. It was clear that Texans are God-loving people.

However, as we progressed down the river with increasingly drunk rafters, we noticed a man with a heavy gold cross around his neck open a package of cigars and promptly throw the packaging into the river. His friend chided him and said he shouldn’t do that to which he angrily yelled, “I can do whatever I want,” but his exact quote included much harsher language. And in this situation, karma came for him because as he navigated trying to light his cigar, he fell off his tube.

This story reminds us that no outward mark of our relationship with deity like a cross, a Jewish yarmulke, the hijab of Islam, or even our temple garments can make up for an inward decision to live as He does.

Jesus Christ with children

To be a witness of Christ it is essential to know Christ and work to be like Him. If we search the scriptures, we see Jesus and what He did in His ministry. And as we emulate that pattern, we bear witness of Him. It’s a sunbeam lesson, “Try to be like Jesus.” And if we’ve been baptized, we have promised to do just that.

However, if you have internalized this commandment to the extent that it seems daunting because becoming like Christ in this mortal life is impossible, Elder Christofferson lovingly counseled, “we need not have achieved perfection for our witness to be valid so long as we are striving to conform our lives to the Savior’s standard.” President Benson said, “becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible…” We should be encouraged in our efforts.

We are witnesses of Christ when we help others come unto Him

Finally, the 3rd way we can witness of Christ is by being a missionary and helping others come unto Him. As part of my study for this talk, I of course googled, “how to be a witness of Christ.” The Church’s definition comes up first, followed by a slew of other Christian denominations sites and blogs. I read quite a few and it was curious to me that most of their recommendations to being a better witness of Christ were centered around missionary work. Tips included:

  • Invite a friend to attend church

  • Practice speaking to people

  • Guide people toward Jesus by sharing the gospel

  • Mentor people to help them grow in their faith

It seemed that most of the Christian world sees witnessing of Christ as only converting others to the faith. And while we know that missionary work is part of being a witness, there is a much harder part of working to change our hearts and character to more closely resemble our Savior.

My oldest son is currently a full-time missionary in Brazil, and he recently wrote, “I’ve baptized quite a few people now and normally they are pretty calm about their baptism cuz it’s a very special moment, but Leonardo was super happy and always smiling. Even when he went into the water he was grinning. It was so cool to see someone so happy about their baptism and actually showing how much joy it brought into his life.”

I concluded my message by saying that I am a witness of Christ. I know that He is real. And because I’m sure that He loves me, and knows me, and that He is aware of my big struggles and my small struggles I feel driven to fulfill my promise to become more like Him. My favorite primary song is “I’m Trying to be Like Jesus.” I sang it to my babies and it is my sincerest wish to be more like my Savior.

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Cindy Bradford
Cindy Bradford
Oct 16, 2023

I was asked to give a Baptism talk and I have worried and worried. I want it to have meaning and I want the little 8 year old children, especially to be able to listen. Thank you so much for these ideas! Thank you for sharing and for your heart felt comments to make the talks meaningful!

With love! Grandma Cindy

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