… 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.