Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Power of Covenants

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

The Power of Covenants, by Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I've had the phrase, "the fire of the covenant," in my mind for the past few months. I know that Elder Bednar discussed this in his address using a quote from Brigham Young (more to come in my reaction to his talk), but I feel like I've heard it referenced a few more times both before and after this last conference. I'm grateful for this ever-present reminder of the power of covenants.

In speaking of this power from covenants, Elder Christofferson reminded that:

The source is God. Our access to that power is through our covenants with Him. ... In these divine agreements, God binds Himself to sustain, sanctify, and exalt us in return for our commitment to serve Him and keep His commandments.

I'm reminded of the various reactions that we may have to the charge to keep the commandments. I overheard David speaking morosely of our family's rules for Sabbath observance, "We can't do anything fun on Sundays." I know that the role of commandments is to make us happy. Joseph Smith put it well (as Elder Christofferson reminded in his talk's footnotes):

As God has designed our happiness—and the happiness of all His creatures, He never has—He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of His law and ordinances.

Knowing this, should we look for more commandments to obtain more happiness? Here's what Elder Christofferson said in another footnote (emphasis mine):

Some see only sacrifice and limitations in obedience to the commandments of the new and everlasting covenant, but those who live the experience—who give themselves freely and unreservedly to the covenant life—find greater liberty and fulfillment. When we truly understand, we seek more commandments, not fewer. Each new law or commandment we learn and live is like one more rung or step on a ladder that enables us to climb higher and higher.

Where can we find more commandments and experience greater happiness? I think the answer lies in the place of peace: the temples. As we worthily enter (and reenter) the temples, we find glorious promises conditioned on additional commandments/covenants.

I gladly accept Elder Christofferson's charge to "qualify for and receive all the priesthood ordinances you can and then faithfully keep the promises you have made by covenant." I know there is power in covenants, and that through obedience to commandments I am prepared to face difficulties. He continued: "In times of distress, let your covenants be paramount and let your obedience be exact."

I hope that I can develop the courage to exercise exact obedience at all times—in easy times as well as in difficult times. I know, as I was reminded, that "the source is God," and that "our access to [His] power is through our covenants with Him."

I'm grateful for the power of covenants.

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