Well Worth The Effort

Blog #71 October 10, 2023

Mark 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father, and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people;

The growth of lasting relationships in God's Kingdom require covenant. These two passages speak of covenant and reveal to us both what covenant requires and what it promises. In covenant we can find either an assurance of joy, or a burden of responsibility. That which separates one from the other is a choice we make. The marriage covenant is a type and shadow of our covenant with God. Our spouse can be either our adversary or our friend. God can be either a loving Father or a constant overbearing critic. These two passages also point out that covenant is a labor of common purpose. All involved have duties to fulfill. In God we will learn to appreciate our duties, accept them willingly and grow in them joyfully.  

Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God.

For our life to flourish within covenant we must understand its true nature. In the world today the most common understanding of covenant is based on Leviticus 20:7. Covenant to the world is an agreement we make with God in which He sets the terms we agree to and we are bound by His needs and His restrictions. There is a time when we are young where this type of agreement might apply, but according to the needs of the Kingdom, the attitude implied by Leviticus 20:7 challenges the very reason for covenant. In his first letter to the Christians of Asia Minor Peter testifies that the true purpose of covenant is the pursuit of oneness between those involved. 

1 Peter 1:13-16 
1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance;
1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Unity begins with the onset of like minds and common understanding. Within covenant unity flourishes and becomes oneness. As those involved strive to grasp the fullness of covenant, they become one in fulfilling the needs of covenant. Such is the unity we seek in our fellowship with the Father. Such is the fellowship afforded by covenant.

Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed; and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 

Solomon uses the word fountain to express an attribute within covenant that inspires us to grow in the unity of oneness. 

From Strong's Concordance H6979: mâqôwr {mâqôr} (properly), something dug, a source (of water, also of tears, blood) (figuratively), a source of happiness, wisdom, progeny

When we allow covenant we make in marriage to become the source of our joy, growth itself becomes joy, and we strive to grow. If we identify our covenant as bondage, we will become determined to escape from that bondage. As it is with the covenant of marriage, so it is in our covenant with God. Notice that source of happiness and wisdom we seek is defined as something we dig or construct for ourselves. This is important.  

Proverbs 5:18-19
5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed; and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 
5:19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 

Covenant whether for the purpose of marriage or to seek redemption and a chance to labor with the Father through the sacrifice of Christ, is meant to be our source for stability, security, and joy. This can only happen when we take advantage of the oneness offered by covenant. We must realize that covenant is more than just an agreement. It is more than a contract. Covenant creates a new reality constructed by those involved for the purpose of fulfilling a common need. In marriage two seek to create a reality where both are equal partners in a life that allows each to express their need to love and support the other. This is a very apt description of our covenant with God. Covenant becomes a foundation for oneness when each realizes that one purpose, and continued commitment to that purpose fulfills the needs of both parties. 

Psalms 127:1 Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Recognize that the ways of the Kingdom of God are the source of covenant and the foundation of its strength. Only the ways of truth, righteousness, and love can insure that a covenant created will grow to stand the test of time. How can two become one if they lack trust? It sounds silly, but it manifests itself as truth when applied to a covenant attempted without the foundation of trust. It will not grow. It will be no more than a useless attempt at unity. If two are to become one each must trust, respect, support, and love the other. In this the covenant of marriage and our covenant with God are the same. The need for oneness in purpose is a truth of God. Anything less is not of God, and it will fail. Christ prayed to God that this truth might be ours to accept.

John 17:20-23 
17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one;
17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

DC 6:15b Where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them; even so am I in the midst of you.

3 Nephi 5:33-34
5:33 And I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me, and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me;
5:34 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The oneness of covenant is the foundation of all we seek to achieve. The adversary seeks to undermine and destroy all covenants that lead to and define God's Kingdom. On this Satan builds his Kingdom.

3 Nephi 3:17-18
3:17 Now the cause of this iniquity of the people, was this: Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
3:18 And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people, to do all manner of iniquity; therefore they had not enjoyed peace but a few years.

Understand how the disease of pride infects our labor and destroys our willingness to grow in the ways of God. Our covenant with God is covenant of growth. We voiced to God our need to grow in the ways of truth and righteousness and this very need became our portion of the covenant we made with God. God voiced a need to receive those that would share in His labor and teach them the ways of righteousness that they might grow to be a testimony before the world of His willingness to redeem humanity from their fallen state. By covenant God promises to nurture us in that growth. When we refuse to grow that covenant is broken. 

2Nephi 12:35-38
12:35 Wo be unto him that shall say, We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough. 
12:36 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little: 
12:37 And blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; 
12:38 For unto him that receiveth, I will give more: and from them that shall say, We have enough, shall be taken away even that which they have. 

We have seen this happen in the world. The churches of the world refuse to recognize the fullness of covenant. For them baptism by water is the fullness of growth possible to a world without the physical presence of Jesus Christ. For them, patience is a necessity and tradition is a mainstay. Without traditions, they have nothing to sustain a membership that has neither the way, nor the means to establish the foundations of Zion. In fact any effort to do just that would have little support from membership and none at all from leadership. The effort would probably be considered disrespectful if not outright heresy. Their worship adheres to strict tradition (This is the way it has been done for years). Study uses tradition as a proof of the validity of their teachings (These are the teachings my parents and grandparents were raised with. They must be true). They even use scripture to validate their traditions. 

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.

The one thing they have forgotten is that strict adherence to traditions and rituals destroy the need for growth. It turns those actions, which are meant to be heartfelt into mindless repetition. In this, tradition becomes a god unto itself. This is what our Father is warning us of. The pride which causes us to convince ourselves that we have all we need also cause us to turn away from God’s Spirit and the growth it offers. It destroys the humility, which is our true strength. When we follow leaders who in pride profess the absolute need of the traditions they represent, we cease to have any reason to consider the Spirit as anything more than token representation of our need to be patient and wait on Christ to return.

2Nephi 12:39 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

God is our leader and none other is worthy to be our companion in a covenant seeking the Kingdom. We must always remember this and stay eternally humble to this precept. If we seek out any other as our confidant in the Holy ways of the Kingdom, we turn away from He who lifted us up out of an eternity of loneliness filled with the sins of the world. We were but babes in the ways of the Kingdom when we made covenant. God truly is the dearest companion of our youth. If we turn away from Him, we have committed nothing less than adultery.

Mosiah 1:17-20
1:17  And moreover, I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people which the Lord God hath brought out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I do, because they have been a diligent people in keeping the commandments of the Lord. 
1:18  And I give unto them a name, that never shall be blotted out, except it be through transgression.
On reading this passage from Mosiah, my first question is, "What is our new name"? In covenant Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, and Jacob became Israel. Who do we become in covenant with God through Jesus Christ?

Mosiah 3:11 There is no other name given, whereby salvation cometh, therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God, that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.

Consider all that is offered. Christ considers God His Father. In the name of Jesus Christ we can do the same. Christ is capable of judgment, but in His ministry on earth He condemned no one. In the name of Jesus Christ we can be free of the need to condemn others. In that freedom we can be fully absorbed in the love God offers the world. Christ reached out to all who would listen to the offer by God of salvation unto redemption and a return to His presence. In the name of Jesus Christ, we can do the same. In the covenant marriage the wife takes on the name of her husband. In the name of Jesus Christ as His Church we are allowed this same honor. In the name of Jesus Christ we become a family with God as our Father. In the name of Jesus Christ we become siblings together, today, tomorrow, and forever. We can bask in life assured of our place God's eternity.

Psalms 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Grasp fully the truth of covenant with God, and know that any effort required of us to attain this relationship with God and each other is well worth the labor. It is a state of the heart where our neighbor becomes our sibling, our savior becomes our brother, and the omnipotent creator of the universe becomes "Daddy". 

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption; whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Like I said, "Well worth the effort".


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