Do you want to be happy? What makes you unhappy? President Russell M. Nelson said: “If you want to be miserable, break the commandments—and never repent. If you want joy, stay on the covenant path.”1 Isn’t it simple to be happy? Just make covenants and keep them in your lives. Let us review some things that can help us to stay on the covenant path and make us happy.
According to Elder Dale G. Renlund, “the term covenant path refers to a series of covenants whereby we come to Christ and connect to Him. Through this covenant bond, we have access to His eternal power. The path begins with faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, followed by baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost.”2 We renew these covenants every time we partake of the sacrament.
Beginning with the baptismal covenant, we make more covenants throughout our lives. Again, Elder Renlund said: “The covenant path leads to the ordinances of the temple, such as the temple endowment. The endowment is God’s gift of sacred covenants that connect us more fully to Him.”3
Sometimes when we make covenants, we fail to keep them. When this happens, how can you return to the covenant path? Let me share some examples of returning to the covenant path.
A little over a month ago, I received a message from a returned missionary who had served with us. He said: “The last while has been tough. Battling anxiety and depression every day has been weighing me down, and it is very difficult. I feel alone and just miserable. I have been praying for the guidance of our Heavenly Father for peace and comfort in what I can do to battle the hardship. … While I was praying, I felt the prompting of the Spirit tell me that I needed to be paying my tithing in full. … I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I immediately felt the urge to do so. With the desire to do so, I felt the prompting that ‘if you pay your tithing, everything will be OK.’ I am still struggling to find peace, but I do have a testimony in our Savior and that through my obedience, I can feel and find the peace I am looking for in my heart and mind. I have recently decided to come back to the Church and to seek the Spirit in all that I do.”
Now he is doing very well. You also may ask Heavenly Father for peace, but the answer may be different than what you anticipate it will be. As long as you seek to know of the Savior and pray to Heavenly Father, He will give you a customized answer for you.
President Thomas S. Monson taught:
“The greatest lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.”4
“When we keep the commandments, our lives will be happier, more fulfilling, and less complicated. Our challenges and problems will be easier to bear, and we will receive [God’s] promised blessings.”5
When I was called to be a bishop, it was during the most difficult time of my life. I was a young father in my early 30s, but I was in trouble financially because of family challenges. I couldn’t find any solution, and I thought the challenges would never end. I was exhausted financially and emotionally. I started doubting my spiritual strength as well. It was at that difficult time that my stake president extended the calling to me. I accepted the call anyway, although it was hard.
My wife also had an interview with the stake president, but she could not say yes, and she did not say no either but kept shedding tears. She cried for the whole week, asking Heavenly Father, “Why now?” and “Do You really know each individual?” She didn’t get an answer, but I was sustained as bishop on the following Sunday. She did not ask Heavenly Father those questions anymore but supported me in my calling for six years.
On the Sunday when I was released, my wife heard a voice while she was receiving the sacrament. The voice whispered to her, “Because it was too hard for you to walk, I called him as a bishop in order to hold you and walk for you.” Looking back at the past six years, she realized that all of the many challenges that seemed to be endless had now been resolved along the way.
We learned that when we think it is not a good time for us to receive a calling, it may be the time we need that calling the most. Whenever the Lord asks us to serve in any calling, whether it is a lighter or heavier calling, He sees our needs. He provides the strength we need and has blessings ready to be poured out upon us as we faithfully serve.
There are many other things that distract us from staying on the covenant path. No matter what it is, it is never too late to turn our hearts to Heavenly Father for help. Elder Paul V. Johnson taught us: “When we follow Satan, we give him power. When we follow God, He gives us power.”6
King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon testifies: “I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.”7
My wife says that our marriage yokes us together, and because of that she can do things she couldn’t do before. For example, ever since she was young, she has had a hard time going out in the dark, but it is not hard anymore because I go with her. She is short and cannot reach to the high shelves unless she uses a chair or ladder, but I can reach the things from high shelves for her because I am taller than her. Taking our Savior’s yoke upon us is like that. As we yoke ourselves to Him, we can do things we couldn’t do on our own because He can do the things we cannot do for ourselves.
Elder David A. Bednar said: “Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the Lord Jesus Christ. In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”8
President Nelson also taught:
“Yoking yourself with the Savior means you have access to His strength and redeeming power.”9
“The reward for keeping covenants with God is heavenly power—power that strengthens us to withstand our trials, temptations, and heartaches better. This power eases our way. Those who live the higher laws of Jesus Christ have access to His higher power.”10
“Keeping covenants actually makes life easier! Each person who makes covenants in baptismal fonts and in temples—and keeps them—has increased access to the power of Jesus Christ.”11
My dear brothers and sisters, do you want to be happy? Stay on the covenant path. Your life will be easier, happier, and filled with joy. Our Savior is inviting us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”12 He is the living Christ. He carries our burdens and makes our life easier. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.