In a world of so many opinions and voices, it can be hard to find the truth and gain a testimony. But what comes next can be just as hard – keeping that testimony. Once a testimony has been gained, how do you keep your testimony?
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma invites us to treat the word of God as a seed, and plant it in our hearts, then care for it until it begins to grow. If it grows, then we will have received a testimony that it is good and true – but he doesn’t stop there.
“And behold, after ye have tasted this light, is your knowledge perfect? Behold I say unto you, nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith… if ye nourish it with much care, it will get root and grow up, and bring forth fruit…” (Alma 32:28-43)
We must continually do the things that helped us gain our testimony in the first place, to help it grow – study the scriptures and the doctrine of the Gospel, continually pray to Heavenly Father to help us know the truth, and live that which we know to be true.
We as children of God were never meant to stay the same throughout our entire lives, nor were our testimonies. Just like any living thing, they require nourishment and care to grow, and stay alive.
Keep your testimony alive
The Lord counseled the prophet Wilford Woodruff:
“Pray always and faint not; exercise faith in the Lord and in the promises of God; be valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ. The eyes of the Lord and the Heavenly Hosts are watching over you and your acts. Therefore be faithful until I come.”
We can also apply the counsel the Lord gave Wilford Woodruff:
The Lord reminded Woodruff to pray always and not faint. Prayer is our communication with our Heavenly Father. It doesn’t have to be memorized or eloquent. It can be silent or spoken. Our Heavenly Father loves us and listens to us when we open our hearts to Him in prayer. As we communicate with Him, He speaks to us in return. We call that process personal revelation. Frequently during or after a prayer, we may feel a prompting to take action.
“Act on your righteous desires. There is wisdom in the saying, “Pray as if everything depends on the Lord, then work as if everything depends on you.” It is in the process of doing that we often get guidance and help from God.” How to Pray
As we speak with God and learn to receive guidance from Him, we’re enabled to do the second thing the Lord counseled Wilford to do.
Wilford was counseled to “exercise faith in the Lord and in the promises of God.” Faith is ultimately a principle of action. One way we ‘exercise faith’ is to act upon guidance we receive when we pray. Elder Bednar said:
“Taking action is the exercise of faith. The children of Israel are carrying the ark of the covenant. They come to the River Jordan. The promise is they will cross over on dry land. When does the water part? When their feet are wet. They walk into the river—act. Power follows—the water parts.
“We oftentimes believe, “I’m going to have this perfect understanding, and then I’m going to transform that into what I do.” I would suggest that we have enough to get started. We have a sense of the right direction. Faith is a principle—the principle—of action and of power. True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action.”
As we take action, we increasingly see the power of God at work in our lives.
Third is be Valiant
As Wilford, we are also called to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus. “Each of us will be called upon to act in moments that are difficult and yet defining,” Elder Golden taught. “These moments will determine who we are and what we have become.” Elder Cook helps us understand a little better how to be valiant:
“To be valiant, we need to focus on the power of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice to overcome death and, through our repentance, to cleanse us from sin, and we need to follow the doctrine of Christ.29 We also need the light and knowledge of the Savior’s life and teachings to guide us on the covenant pathway, including the sacred ordinances of the temple. We must be steadfast in Christ, feast upon His word, and endure to the end.”
Wilford spent the remainder of his life sharing his testimony and living the gospel to the fullest of his ability. He said “I count it a privilege to join my Brethren in bearing my testimony of the things of God.”
May we always seek to live and share that which we know to be true. As we nourish our testimonies, the Lord will bless our efforts and it will flourish into a beautiful garden of gospel truths.