An important characteristic of God is that He is perfectly reliable. As we strive to become more like Him, He gives us opportunities to emulate that characteristic.
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say,” He told a group of church leaders in 1832 (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). Is His agency limited in any way? He voluntarily limits it when He makes promises, and He invites us to do the same. In the following verse, He instructed nine church leaders “to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:11). This covenant would enable them to trust one another as they worked together “to manage the affairs of the poor” in two locations with limited communication between them. After describing the great blessings which the church would receive over time, He said, “Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:15).
One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon, according to the Title Page, is to make the house of Israel aware of the covenants of the Lord, so that they can understand “that they are not cast off forever.” When we understand God’s reliability in keeping His promises, we become eager to enter a covenant relationship with Him. It then becomes our task to learn to be as reliable in keeping our promises to Him as He is in keeping His promises to us.
“We are willing to enter into a covenant with our God,” said the people of King Benjamin, “to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days” (Mosiah 5:5). Those people didn’t become perfect all at once, but they were willing to bind themselves, to constrain their future behavior by making promises to God.
In his first message as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson urged church members to “keep on the covenant path.” He said, “Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere.” He also encouraged those who have stepped off the covenant path to “please come back…. Our Father in Heaven cherishes His children, and He wants each of us to return home to Him” (“As We Go Forward Together,” Ensign, April 2018. Remarks delivered 16 January 2018 in a broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple.)
Today, I will be grateful for the Lord’s willingness to bind His future actions by making promises to me. I will strive to emulate Him by keeping the covenants I have made with Him and by keeping the promises I make to others.