The gospel of Jesus Christ demands commitment. I've heard it said many times that in each of our lives we will have that commitment tested in incredibly difficult ways and I have recently realized that really is true. All around me I have been seeing friends and family being faced with very important decisions that shape their lives and their character, decisions that at their simplest are a decision of commitment.
The complexities of our lives, the messiness of our emotions, and the reasonable rationalizations we often make can lead us to think otherwise… to think that "this isn't really a test of my commitment to God, I'm committed to Him… this is just what I want right now" or "this just seems to be the right thing because of these reasons" which is a distraction from the plain truth that we already made the choice to do it one way when we originally committed ourselves to God -- so are we committed to that commitment or not?
In the July Ensign President Deiter F. Uchtorf explained that commitment is a little like diving into water in the way that once you've started diving you have to follow through. "Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There's no halfway. We all face moments of decision that change the rest of our lives." If we are avoiding doing what needs to be done, or justifying alternatives, we are not keeping our commitments and "nothing can be more important than keeping a commitment we have made with the Lord." These are the covenants we make within the gospel and our full commitment or lack of will determine our future and our character. "Being only sort of committed to the gospel can lead to frustration, unhappiness, and guilt."
Covenants are supposed to help us keep our commitment to the Lord. When we are faced with the option to delay we can say to ourselves, "well, this alternative is very tempting or that seems like a good reason to wait or do this other thing, BUT I have promised to do this -- so I must. This is why I like the diving analogy so much. In my cliff diving experience, the key to getting myself to dive is just forcing myself over the edge - after that, I'm fully committed and there's no going back. If you see covenants as having already taken the step off the cliff, as already being committed, then there's nothing to be done except to execute the dive and swim back to the surface.
To keep walking to the edge and looking over, to keep thinking about it, makes getting myself to dive harder. I have to just do it. It's a lot the same with my commitments to the Lord. If I start to even consider alternatives and excuses to what I have committed to do…it makes everything more difficult.
We shouldn't be afraid of our covenants. When we made them we had the chance to consider if what we were promising to do really was the best choice. Every time we renew our covenants we have the opportunity to reconsider that. I promised to love God and do what He wants in all things. I really do believe that what He wants, He has stated in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It helps to think "I cannot choose otherwise." That in the same way that I cannot step back onto the cliff once I have jumped, I cannot choose other than what I have promised to God. And I have faith in what He has promised me in return, that as I show him I am fully committed - that I am fully HIS - He will make of my decisions the best results, and make of me my best self.
To me this is a big part of turning oneself over to Christ. My life is His, because my decisions are already made - I am committed to Him.