Promises

As I prepare to be sealed in the temple at the end of this month, I have given reflection to the topic of covenants--and discovered many things I do not know, and more still that I do not fully understand.

Two questions have been mine, which I have pondered in my heart, which I offer to you now.

The first question was to ask Why does God use covenants to grant us eternal life?

Mortality is a stewardship in which we are entrusted with many things which are not our own. A body, a family, all of these earthly possessions, even our very lives—these things do not belong to us. They have been entrusted to us by a living God, through an agreement which we made with him before we came to this life. It is an agreement we accepted here on earth with baptism, and it is the reason we have everything we treasure right now. They are gifts from God because He promised to care for us, and to provide us with an inheritance if we are faithful. If we honor our God and keep His commandments, if we are just and honorable stewards over those things which do not yet belong to us, all of these things we treasure will become ours.

In Luke 16, Jesus teaches:

10 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust in much.
12 “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?”

If we want to inherit eternal life, we must be faithful and build His kingdom with all we have been given in our mortal life. In all that we are, in all that we do, and in all we possess—we must build the kingdom of God. That is the promise we have made in all of our covenants. By doing so, we create the inheritance we shall receive. We shall have an eternal family because we have made an eternal family. We shall have the celestial kingdom because we built our own corner of the celestial kingdom.

 If we have built a lesser kingdom through our words and deeds, that is the gift we shall receive. I believe the phrase my mother would use here—one that expresses my point perfectly—is “You made your bed, and now you lie in it.”

My second question was one of comprehension. Oftentimes in recent conferences and talks in every imaginable setting, I have heard the phrase “Cleave to your covenants,” with the promise that they will provide protection from the temptations offered in this world. And I realized that I didn’t know what it means to cleave to my covenants. They aren’t physical, I can’t touch them, I can’t hold them—so how would I cleave to them?

To cleave to our covenants has two parts. First, it means to maintain our part of the agreement by keeping the commandments of God. It means to live up to who we are and what we've promised, no matter what the cost. Jesus taught:

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
John 14: 23 (to Judas Isacariot)

I have found that every time I have disobeyed a commandment of God, it was because I simply didn’t love Him enough to do as He said. It was because I had forgotten the worth of His atoning blood in my life, and I had lost sight of His power to rescue me from anything and everything. There is no peace to be found in this world, or in our hearts, until we make peace with Christ. That’s why He always invites us:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3: 20

To cleave to our covenants is no different than to cleave to our Savior. There is no difference between them.

The second part of cleaving to our covenants is to trust God to keep His end of the agreement. We must believe in our hearts that God is our Father and that He loves us. We must have faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and have faith that He wants to forgive our sins and save us. We must trust in the future they have prepared for us, no matter what form that future may take. “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29: 11)

 Isaiah and Paul both testified:

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2: 9

When I was in Brazil, there was a phrase I saw everywhere. It was painted on buildings, printed on store receipts, tagged on the backs of street signs, and was written in many of their hearts. The phrase was “Deus é Fiel.” God is faithful.

We have more reason than anyone else in the world to believe that God is faithful because we are members of His restored Church. We have made covenants with him through His restored priesthood authority. When we cleave to our covenants and keep God’s commandments, having faith in Christ, we can be assured that the future is as bright as our faith.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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