What does it really mean to keep the covenants I have made with my Father in heaven? Do I even really understand what covenants I’ve made and what it takes to live by them? Covenant making is a big part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, I wonder if we let life get in the way of the very act of covenant keeping. I think I do sometimes.
The first covenant we make is baptism. These questions have wandered through my mind as I search through my own personal feelings. Do I know where the promises of each covenant are in the scriptures? Do I read them often? How is my life different because I am keeping them? What happened this past week that made me refer to those covenants, remember them, and realize their blessing in my life?
Covenants are made throughout the remainder of our lives as we begin our walk along the path of righteousness toward the Tree of Life. We take upon us major and minor covenants. Major covenants are made within the walls of the temple that, if internalized, will allow us to stay with our Heavenly Father forever. The minor covenants we make, with others, are an offering we make in gratitude to work in His holy kingdom here upon the earth. All covenants are life changing.
Wendy Watson Nelson reminded us that covenants are everlasting through place and time. We made covenants with friends and family in pre-mortality. We covenanted to find one another, to bless one another’s lives when we needed help, and to save one another. Sis. Nelson reminded us that when covenant women keep their covenants, they receive power from God. They receive an increase in spiritual power, which transcends the mortal drudgery of daily existence. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you led your life by the covenants you made?
Years ago, I heard a returning missionary speak in Church where he explained his experience in baptizing a 96 year old woman. In her newly received Patriarchal Blessing, it said that she would have received the gospel much earlier in her life, but the young man had decided not to go on his mission. If we are truly living our covenant lives, we will feel the pressing call to follow that powerful gift of personal revelation that guides us to fulfilling all of our covenants.
Sis. Nelson spoke of angels coming to our assistance; that they would not be restrained from us. We have the right to ask Heavenly Father to send specific angels (a mother, an ancestor, a friend) “to be dispatched” to offer us aid as we are called upon to do our work here upon the earth. We can even ask for angels to help others we are praying for.
We were invited to do a 21-day experiment by evaluating, and rearranging, how we spend our time:
1—Evaluate how you spend your time.
2—Sacrifice your time to the Lord.
3—Increase your Family History, Temple, and Missionary time.
4—Increase your scripture study time.
5—Listen to the Spirit for impressions that will come.
6—Recognize that your life has purpose when the Spirit is your guide.
8—Praise and thank your Heavenly Father for the privilege of participating in building the kingdom of God.
As daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have an important work to do in saving the souls of our Father’s children. We have covenanted to be Saviors on Mount Zion. We can call upon the powers of heaven to aid us in keeping our covenants. We will be eternally connected by our covenants. By living a covenant-filled life we will have power and purpose. We are covenant-keeping daughters of God.
Bonnie L. Oscarson reminded us that we wear our covenants in our garments. How often do we think about that? Our covenants bind us to the Lord. We have promised to obey His commandments. The more we obey, with love and happiness, the more our love and happiness will demonstrate our obedience. Being obedient will not be an irritant in our lives. We will love to obey.
As I see other daughters of God flaunt their bold questioning of the Church, and how our leaders run the Church, and how it needs to change, and how it suffocates women, I can make the personal choice to recognize what my covenants mean and to continue in the promises I have made. My covenants are with my Savior, who is the true leader of this Church.
I have covenanted to honor and obey my Savior Jesus Christ. I have covenanted to love His gospel, live His gospel, and represent His gospel wherever I stand. I have covenanted to keep myself pure by making certain righteous choices in my life. I have covenanted to serve in any capacity that I have been asked to do. I have been given talents to share to bless the lives of others.
Most importantly, I have covenanted with my Savior that if I will do all that He asks, He will grant me eternal life. My faithfulness to these promises will be rewarded.
There are those who would cut short the blessings of their covenants. They would delude themselves by trying to convince others that they are happier now than when they held to their covenants, but they do not deceive true covenant keepers, only themselves.
Elder Ballard encouraged us to ask questions, but to find the answers through personal revelation—from God, not Google. We all have been blessed with priesthood authority. We must learn how to use what we have been endowed with. In the temple, we receive all the blessings of the priesthood. Do we know what these blessings are? Do we know that we leave the temple with priesthood power afresh? Able to call upon angels as our helpers? Finding strength to deal with our daily problems? Building upon our faith to stretch us forward.
We didn’t have to do anything to become Heavenly Father’s daughters, but we all will have to choose to be His disciples. And by choosing our faith we will gain an extraordinary prize. We won’t want to receive this prize alone. We will want to share it with all the sons and daughters of God; all of our brothers and sisters, and all of our loved ones.
When we know our covenants, understand them, and nurture their existence in our lives, we will be able to guard against the adversary in whatever shape he takes. We will not be swept up in the confused voices of the world. Our faith will buoy us up and keep us spiritually strong. Be keepers of your covenants and see where it leads you.