Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you daily remember and live your baptismal covenants?
Conveniently enough, this is what I've been studying over the past few weeks. In order to determine how to remember and live your covenants, you must first know what they entail.
The Bible Dictionary mentions that "[the baptismal covenant's] symbolism is beautiful, and its consequences ever so desirable."
I picked out the following scriptures for definitions while doing my personal research.
Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 mentions that those who are to be baptized are "willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins..."
Mosiah 5:8 adds, "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."
In Mosiah 18:9-10, it states that the baptismal covenant means we are "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light. Yea, and willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death...that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments."
Moroni 4:3 is the sacrament prayer that is a reminder of our baptismal covenants: "O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."
Elder Hales, in "The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom" contributes the following thoughts: "When we understand our baptismal covenant and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change our lives and will establish our total allegiance to the kingdom of God...we humble ourselves with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as we recognize our sins and seek forgiveness of our trespasses."
The baptismal covenant consists of taking God's name upon us, being willing to bear another's burden—mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that need comfort, standing as a witness of God, always remembering him, and being obedient to God's commandments. Essentially, it means to become like Christ.
So, let's take each of these separately.
"...willing to take upon them the name of Christ..."
One comparison I've heard is that, like the name of our family here on Earth, we take on the name of Christ and become part of His family. This means that not only do our actions reflect on our earthly family, but also upon our heavenly family. Elder Oaks gave a wonderful talk in April 1985 about taking upon ourselves the name of Christ. (The following snippets may sound disjointed at first, but I promise they will all make sense.)
"We also take upon us the name of Jesus Christ whenever we publicly proclaim our belief in him...
"A follower of Christ is obligated to serve him. Many scriptural references to the name of the Lord seem to be references to the work of his kingdom...
"The Old Testament contains scores of references to the name of the Lord in a context where it clearly means the authority of the Lord. Most of these references have to do with the temple...
"The scriptures speak of the Lord's putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house...
"Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them on us...
"Thus, those who exercise faith in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and repent of their sins and enter into his covenant and keep his commandments can lay claim on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who do so will be called by his name at the last day...
"There is something beyond these familiar meanings, because what we witness is not that we take upon us his name but that we are willing to do so. In this sense, our witness relates to some future event or status whose attainment is not self-assumed, but depends on the authority or initiative of the Savior himself."
There are a few different elements of being willing to take the Lord's name upon us. The most obvious is representing him. On a daily basis, this means living a Christ-like life: being charitable, patient, honest, responsible, forgiving, etc. It also includes sharing the gospel with those we come in contact—even those that already have the gospel.
Taking the Lord's name upon us is focused on our willingness to participate in the covenants and ordinances of the temple. If you cannot do so yet, your efforts to daily live your baptismal covenants can demonstrate your willingness to do so in the future.
Finally, taking the Lord's name upon us includes exercising faith in him and repenting of our sins. To me, this encompasses a few things. First, it means trusting in his plan for me. He knows what will be best for me, and while there are some things that can be fine options either way, there are also some things that are definite no's or yes's. While we don't always understand why in the moment, we will eventually understand. When we barely know what we want, how wonderful it is that the Lord knows what he wants for us. It is up to us, through prayer, to understand what that path is.
Being willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ is essential to our baptismal covenants, and is a main component of the sacrament prayers. In fact, the sacrament is a witness that we are willing to take upon us the Lord's name and always remember him.
"...willing to bear one another's burdens that they may be light. Yea, and willing to mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..."
The important thing is that we are willing to do so and that we are looking for opportunities to help. There are two sides to this. We should be willing to listen when people come to us for help. Often that is all they need: a listening ear, and not someone to solve all of their problems. Additionally, since people won't always come to us for help, it's also developing a sense for who needs our help and what they need from us. The BYU Men's Chorus started singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" as I was writing this, and I think the second verse is especially pertinent.
Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the paths of sin, Some wand'rer whom I should seek;
O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide, Though dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo Thy message sweet, I'll say what You want me to say.
For me, I feel that living this part of my covenant daily means making a greater effort to listen to others and looking for ways to help those around me, something that the Spirit can help guide me to do.
"...to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in..."
Standing as a witness ties in very closely to taking God's name upon us, specifically the first aspect that I mentioned, so I'm going to just tell you to refer back to that section.
"...that they...always remember him..."
"...first, seeking to know and follow His will; second, recognizing and accepting our obligation to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action; and third, living with faith and without fear so that we can always look to the Savior for the help we need."
Following the Lord's will demonstrates our remembrance with him. As our actions are in line with His teachings and promptings, we are in constant remembrance. I've noticed in my own life that when I am consciously trying to follow the Lord's plan for me, I am much better able to remember Him and I have, in my opinion, a better focus to my life. It's not easy to align ourselves to God's will, often because we believe that our path is the best one for us. Additionally, following the Lord means giving up the natural man, a task that requires self-control and the Lord's grace. Elder Christofferson adds,
Though it may not be easy, we can consistently press forward with faith in the Lord. I can attest that over time our desire and capacity to always remember and follow the Savior will grow. We should patiently work toward that end and pray always for the discernment and divine help we need.
The second concept, of being responsible to the Lord for our conduct, is best explained, again, by Elder Christofferson:
Always remembering Him, therefore, means that we always remember that nothing is hidden from Him. There is no part of our lives, whether act, word, or even thought, that can be kept from the knowledge of the Father and the Son. No cheating on a test, no instance of shoplifting, no lustful fantasy or indulgence, and no lie is missed, overlooked, hidden, or forgotten. Whatever we “get away with” in life or manage to hide from other people, we must still face when the inevitable day comes that we are lifted up before Jesus Christ, the God of pure and perfect justice.
Sins do not take care of themselves or simply fade away. Sins do not get “swept under the rug” in the eternal economy of things. They must be dealt with, and the wonderful thing is that because of the Savior’s atoning grace, they can be dealt with in a much happier and less painful manner than directly satisfying offended justice ourselves.
We should also take heart when thinking of a judgment in which nothing is overlooked because this also means that no act of obedience, no kindness, and no good deed however small is ever forgotten, and no corresponding blessing is ever withheld.
Concerning living with faith and without fear, he continues,
Looking unto the Savior in every thought is, of course, another way of saying “always remember him.” As we do, we need not doubt or fear.
In short, to “always remember him” means that we do not live our lives in fear. We know that challenges, disappointments, and sorrows will come to each of us in different ways, but we also know that in the end, because of our divine Advocate, all things can be made to work together for our good. It is the faith expressed so simply by President Gordon B. Hinckley when he would say, “Things will work out.” When we always remember the Savior, we can “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,” confident that His power and love for us will see us through.
Like I said in Board Question #72886, learning to trust in the Lord is one of the greatest lessons you can learn in this life. Trusting in His plan for us keeps Him in the forefront of our minds.
"...to keep his commandments..."
There seems to be an impossible number of commandments to keep, but there's something that I've been using recently to break things down a little bit and, well, make the commandments easier to follow. In Matthew 22:36-40, we find that there are, essentially, two commandments: love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself. Think about it. If you look at every commandment we've been given it, we follow it because we love God or because we love our neighbor (which we do because we love God).
How do we remember and live our baptismal covenants daily?
To remember them, study them. To really remember them, live them. How you live them is, ultimately, up to you. Look at what you need to improve on, and start gradually making changes. Make your own personal study of your baptismal covenants. Take a day per topic and really study and ponder what it means to keep your baptismal covenants. Really applying these to your life will bless you more than you can currently imagine.
P.S. I realize I didn't really answer your question until the very end, and even then I gave you an answer that probably doesn't help much. However, it really is between you and the Lord to learn how to best live your baptismal covenants. The thing is, though, this is a good starting point for you, because knowing what you have to do in general can help you determine what to do specifically.