We’ve all been there: The new iOS comes out (or Android update – I don’t judge). You have to accept some terms and conditions in order to access the great new features.
The average millennial can barely sit through a 30-second YouTube ad, let alone read pages and pages of T&Cs, so naturally we just scroll down to “I agree” at the bottom. We can move on with our new and improved lives without having to fully understand two things:
- What we’re agreeing to do.
- What the updates and improvements are.
To many of us, obtaining the update becomes more important than understanding what the update actually is. This lack of understanding leads us to miss out on certain functions that could be available, if only we knew how to access them. At least I won’t need to know what the new Instagram update does in order to be saved.
Do we sometimes treat covenants the same way? The importance of covenants can be misunderstood somehow even with all the counsel we’re given about it. We can place too much importance on simply taking the next step on the covenant path rather than fully understanding two things:
- What we’re promising to do.
- What the benefits and blessings are.
Especially for those ready to leave for their mission or those about to get married, it is important to know that receiving some ordinances aren’t just another checklist item like your medical jabs or wedding invitations. If receiving the ordinance becomes more important than understanding it, we miss out on a lot of the things the God wants for us. True understanding is needed to access the powers of heaven.
Real Commitments with Real Blessings
The ordinances of baptism, confirmation, Melchizedek Priesthood ordination (for men), the temple endowment, and temple sealing are required for exaltation for all accountable persons. Every saving ordinance has an associated covenant and blessing.
Let’s take baptism for example:
For those who are baptized, we sometimes forget what we’ve promised to do. We might say “keeping the commandments” as a general rule, but there are a number of specific commitments we’ve made. Can you think of any right now? (see Mosiah 18:8–10; D&C 20:37).
One such commitment is to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. Now, I can’t say I naturally know how to deal with a friend who suddenly breaks down and cries, but I have been able to offer some comfort if I try. An arm around their shoulder or a few encouraging words is all it takes for me to begin feeling the Spirit guiding me to handle the situation. Oh, and did I mention how I’m able to do that? It’s because when we strive to keep our covenants we receive real blessings. One of the blessings of keeping baptismal covenants is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost — but it isn’t the only one.
Baptism isn’t just a checkpoint on our way back to heaven. Baptism is a REAL commitment we make with REAL power promised to us.
Accessing Heaven’s Power
There are the other ordinances after baptism, such as those mentioned above, which come with covenants and blessings for us. If you’ve made those covenants do you know what they are? If not, consider this a call to review those parts of your life. Accessing heaven’s power requires more than just accepting membership in the church, a journey through the temple or a gift of garments.You will unlock new power from on high as you understand those covenants and blessings rather than scrolling through and accepting just so you can get the “update”.
So whenever we next hear the words of a saving ordinance, whether for yourself or someone else, pay close attention. Let’s not just “agree to all” without understanding the promises we’re making and the blessings we will receive! (And let’s not make a habit of blindly accepting T&Cs either!)