The covenants we keep…

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 0 comments

… are kept and broken by degrees.  Let me explain.

DISCLAIMER:  This is just a thought, not doctrine, just my humble opinion.

First, let’s establish the concept that covenants are sacred contracts.  It’s where we say we’ll do certain things, and in return Heavenly Father promises to do certain things.  These kinds of solemn agreements should not be taken lightly (as all too often they are), because they are eternally binding, with eternal consequences (one important reason why adequately preparing for the temple is so important).

Within those covenants that we make, there are specific boundaries that are set.  These are hard and fast, totally inflexible, kept or not kept.  But I don’t think it stops there. 

I see these boundaries more like “minimum requirements”.  Whereas we could be content to sit just on the safe side of those boundaries, perhaps as close to the edge as we can get (like this), we could also choose to extend far beyond those minimum requirements.

I propose that there are a vast array of degrees beyond the expressly defined boundaries, wherein lie the greatest blessings, and as we choose to live a continuously higher law, stretching ourselves above and beyond the bare minimum, we begin to experience a sweetness of life that we had not known existed.

I look at it sort of like a garden hose attached to a water faucet.  Turn the faucet on, only slightly and sure, it’s on – the water’s flowing.  But then you start to open it further, and further, and further, and now you’ve got real water pressure.

Similarly, I think covenants can be kept (and broken) by degrees.  And by holding ourselves to a continuously higher law, we open up the conduit to heaven to its full extent, and experience a true outpouring of blessings.

It doesn’t happen all at once, but by degrees – line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.  We just have to aim a little higher, and then aim again, and not settle for the bare minimum.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A.M.Brewster April 18, 2008 at 2:07 PM

Good thoughts,


2 mormonsoprano April 19, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Thanks for another great post Rusty. Very well spoken. I agree. And how DO we “aim a little higher”, exactly?

Rhetorical question.

I propose it is by the little daily things. Just as we can move away by degrees, we can also allow ourselves not to become discouraged but to move back by degrees. Saying daily prayer, or more fervent prayers, pondering a passage of scripture, choosing to turn off the TV, listening to a hymn or other uplifting music, choosing to not let the mean words beating inside your mouth come out, choosing to smile, finding ways to say thank you, choosing to be grateful for all of what you do have, and forget about the things you do not.

These are some of the things I am trying to do right now, and I think it is having a positive outcome. I realize these might sound trivial or simple, but if it is the simple things that start us sliding away, then I think it is the opposite simple things that slide us back. For example; It seems that when I say something nice to someone, I have an increased happiness inside and then greater ability to say another nice thing to someone else. When I read one verse of my scriptures it starts getting more comfortable to read several…and so forth. :)


3 Saifuddin April 19, 2008 at 3:12 PM


as-salaamu ‘alaikum. These were some very insightful notes. After reading this, I think you are a man that will appreciate wisdoms in the true and traditional sense of the word. And I would like to share this with you, enjoy.



4 Saifuddin April 19, 2008 at 3:14 PM

sorry… perhaps you could moderate the failed link above.

The word adab used in this link refers to the English word “manners” or “protocol”.


5 Rusty Lindquist April 19, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Mormonsoprano – I couldn’t agree more, thanks for elaborating. Most everything happens by degrees, losing weight, building muscle, getting in shape, getting out of debt, building wealth, learning a language, earning our exaltation, etc. Line upon Line. I explore the principle in further detail here (Decisions Determine Direction).

Thanks for offering your thoughts and adding so much value to this post. I hope you’ll make a regular habit out of that! 😉


6 Rusty Lindquist April 19, 2008 at 7:47 PM

Saifuddin, unfortunately the link didn’t survive. Could you repost it? you can just post the HTTP address, and I’ll make a link out of it.



7 Owen Allen April 19, 2008 at 10:26 PM

The ‘social’ laws of God might just be the bare minimum for human beings to begin our spiritual progress. There is an ideal that, forever out of reach while in human form, nonetheless provides the unreachable aspiration. eg ‘Yet it behoveth the people of truth that the signs of humility should shine upon their faces, that the light of sanctity should radiate from their countenances, that they should walk upon the earth as though they were in the presence of God and distinguish themselves in their deeds from all the dwellers of the earth. Such must be their state that their eyes should behold the evidences of His might, their tongues and hearts make mention of His name, their feet be set towards the lands of His nearness, and their hands take fast hold upon His precepts. And were they to pass through a valley of pure gold and mines of precious silver, they should regard them as wholly unworthy of their attention.
(Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 59)


8 Jared April 20, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Rusty–enjoyed your post.

Two scriptures come to mind after reading this post:

D&C 42:61

Alma 26:22


9 Rusty Lindquist April 20, 2008 at 9:18 PM

Owen: Wow, that’s a beautiful quote, I’m completely unfamiliar with it. Thank you for sharing. There’s a lot of meat in that to chew on.

Jared: Great scriptures. I’ve linked them to make it easier for others to follow and read for themselves. Thanks for contributing.


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