Tag Archives: temptation

Flirting with Temptation

I think many people believe that they are strong enough or have enough self control that they think they are fine when they flirt with temptation.  They are not making any ‘big’ mistakes they are just allowing themselves a little pleasure.  Maybe this describes you to some degree.

I would like to share a story and some counsel from Elder Randall K. Bennett’s talk entitled “Choose Eternal Life.”  He starts off with a story:

“Years ago, while at the beach with my family, I noticed signs and flags warning us of a strong current flowing away from the shore into deep, turbulent water. Invisible to my untrained eyes but easily detected by lifeguards on a nearby watchtower, the powerful current posed a danger to all who left the safety of the shore and entered the water. I remember rationalizing, “I’m a strong swimmer. Swimming will be great exercise. I’ll be safe in the shallow water.”

Ignoring the warnings and feeling confident in my own judgment, I entered the water to enjoy a “refreshing” swim. After a few minutes I looked up to locate my family on the nearby beach, but the beach was no longer nearby! The deceptive current I had been warned of had captured me and was quickly pulling me away from my family.

Confidently at first and then desperately, I tried to swim toward shore, but the unforgiving current dragged me farther and farther into deeper, rougher water. I became exhausted and began choking on inhaled water. Drowning became a real possibility. My energy gone, I frantically and finally called out for help.

Miraculously, it seemed, a lifeguard was immediately at my side. I wasn’t aware that he had watched me go into the water. He knew the current would capture me, and he knew where it would take me. Avoiding the current, he swam around and just beyond where I was struggling; then he patiently waited for me to call for help. Too weak to swim to shore alone, I was and still am grateful for his rescue. Without his help I never could have made it back to my family…

In reality we have only two eternal choices, each with eternal consequences: choose to follow the Savior of the world and thus choose eternal life with our Heavenly Father or choose to follow the world and thus choose to separate ourselves from Heavenly Father eternally.

We cannot successfully choose both the safety of righteousness and the dangers of worldliness. Wading or dabbling in worldliness may seem harmless, but so did my “refreshing” swim!

Like the current that could have changed the course of my family’s lives, today’s currents of worldliness, deceptive philosophies, false teachings, and rampant immorality seek to drag us away and eternally separate us from our families and from our Heavenly Father.

Our living prophets, seers, and revelators both see and seek to warn us of the often subtle but dangerous worldly currents that threaten us. They lovingly invite, encourage, teach, remind, and warn us. They know that our safety depends on choosing to follow (1) the insights we gain during daily scripture study, pondering, and prayer; (2) the guidance of the Holy Ghost; and (3) their prophetic counsel. They know that there is safety and ultimately joy only in and through our Savior, Jesus Christ, and living His gospel. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks just taught, our Savior declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”4

Later in his talk He quotes Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

“President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught:

“Small errors and minor drifts away from the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring sorrowful consequences into our lives. It is therefore of critical importance that we become self-disciplined enough to make early and decisive corrections to get back on the right track and not wait or hope that errors will somehow correct themselves.

“The longer we delay corrective action, the larger the needed changes become, and the longer it takes to get back on the correct course—even to the point where a disaster might be looming.”

Let us not flirt with temptation.  Let us not put our toes in enemy territory.  Why not stay as far away from the edge as possible?  There is safety and peace there.  There is where we are able to encircled about in the Savior’s arms of love.

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We have power over Satan

"There is hope because God loves all of His children"

Temptations

All of us are faced with the temptations.  Sometimes these temptations are extremely difficult to overcome.  But we can overcome them!  In the New Testament this is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13 which says:

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

The Lord makes a way for us to escape and flee from temptation

We have power over Satan.

Joseph Smith once said:

“All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not.”

Boyd K. Packer expanded on this thought as he said:

“So every living soul who has a physical body ultimately has power over the adversary.  You suffer temptations because of your physical nature, but you also have power over him and his angels.”

What are we doing with this power that we have?  Are we choosing to follow Satan by succumbing to temptations?  We have our agency and are able to choose good or evil:  eternal life or everlasting misery.

If we choose evil there is a way back.

I love Boyd K. Packer’s words on this subject.  He says this in his talk entitled “Counsel to Youth:”

“If the adversary should take you prisoner due to misconduct, I remind you that you hold the key that will unlock the prison door from the inside. You can be washed clean through the atoning sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ.

You may in time of trouble think that you are not worth saving because you have made mistakes, big or little, and you think you are now lost. That is never true! Only repentance can heal what hurts. But repentancecan heal what hurts, no matter what it is.

If you are slipping into things that you should not slip into or if you are associating with people who are pulling you away in the wrong direction, that is the time to assert your independence, your agency. Listen to the voice of the Spirit, and you will not be led astray.

I say again that youth today are being raised in enemy territory with a declining standard of morality. But as a servant of the Lord, I promise that you will be protected and shielded from the attacks of the adversary if you will heed the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit.”

I testify that we can be made clean through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  He is the one who saves us.  There is no other way that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again, but through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The way is clearly marked.  Let us remember to follow the Lord and heed the promptings and warnings that come from His Spirit to flee evil and cleave to that which is good and full of light.

It’s so tempting…

Is it really worth it?

Temptation

Temptation hits all of us.  We all have specific things that we struggle with more than others.  Spencer W. Kimball said this about what separates those who are good from those who choose not to be:

“The difference between the good man and the bad man is not that one had the temptations and the other was spared them.  It is that one kept himself fortified, and resisted temptation, and the other placed himself in compromising places and conditions and rationalized the situations.  Hence, it is obvious that to remain clean and worthy, one must stay positively and conclusively away from the devil’s territory, avoiding the least approach toward evil.”

Even when we allow ourselves to slip just a little, we are entering into the devil’s territory.  And when we do this, he has more power over us to drag us down to the gulf of misery and endless woe.

We must ever be careful

We must ever be careful.  Satan is just waiting for us to take one wrong step.  And once we do, he is there to snatch us up like a spiritual crocodile that wants to destroy all that is good.

I like this comment made by George Albert Smith concerning staying on the Lord’s side:

“My grandfather used to say to his family, ‘There is a line of demarkation, well defined, between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s.  If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord.

When I have been tempted sometimes to do a certain thing, I have asked myself, ‘Which side of the line am I on?’  If I determined to be on the safe side, the Lord’s side, I would do the right thing every time.  So when temptation comes, think prayerfully about your problem, and the influence of the Spirit of the Lord will enable you to decide wisely.  There is safety for us only on the Lord’s side of the line.'”

Let us remember always to stay on the Lord’s side of the line.  He will help us.  Paul teaches us of the help He will give in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

When you are tempted to do that which you know you would be better not to do, remember and lean on the Lord.  He will help.  Strive always to be found on the Lord’s side of the line.

To remain strong and true.

We can move forward with faith, trusting on the Savior.

What we must do

Many times in my life I have made mistakes and messed up my life.  Then, I need to return to living a righteous life again.  I repent of the mistakes I have made and move forward.  That is what we must do:  move forward.

When we continually look back at all of the wrong things we have done and beat ourselves up for it, we let Satan win.  We allow Satan to have control and then we often mess up again.  But we can remain strong and true as we place our trust in and on the Savior, Jesus Christ.  As we have faith in Him we can remain strong and true.

We are able to move past the pain and hurt that comes with sin and continue the process of repentance by turning always to the Savior.

The Scripture.

I have recently re-read a scripture that I find great comfort in.  It is in the Book of Mormon in Alma 5:60.  It states:

“And now I say unto you that the Good Shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto His voice He will bring you into His fold and ye are His sheep; and He commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.”

How many of us allow the ravenous wolf among us?  How many of us allow temptations into our lives?  How many of us allow ourselves to get bitten and give into sin?  But we can hearken to His voice and return to Him!

I love how the scripture gives no place for doubt what side we are on and who we are are.  We are His sheep.  And as such, we have promised to hearken or listen to and follow His voice.  He will bring us home to Heaven.  He will bring and guide us to true happiness.  He shows the way.

Mistakes

While we may mess up and make mistakes in our lives, there is always a way back.  And that way back is found in the Savior, Jesus Christ, in His atonement and sacrifice for each one of us.

Staying True

I have found in my life that it is easier to stay true to what is right as I continue to do the small things and think of the Lord.  As I read my scriptures daily, pray morning and night, attend church and partake of the sacrament, and attend the temple, I have a firmer foundation on the Lord and I have a stronger faith and desire to do what is right.  I know that as we build our foundation on the Savior we cannot fall as it explains in Helaman 5:12:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which yea re built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

We must cease fighting against God.

Safety for the Soul

Following the Lord: not knowing beforehand what you should do

Listening

As we listen to and obey all of the commandments and words of the Lord, we are able to overcome the world and all of our trials and tribulations.  As we obey, the Lord is with us to bear us up and strengthen us.  He helps us to choose the right and to come unto Him.  He protects us from the evil influences of the world.  There is a scripture in 1 Nephi 15:24 in the Book of Mormon, which states:

“And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God; and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”

It is vital that we cleave unto the word of the Lord.  As we do so we will be blessed beyond imagination.  I had an instance in my life where I decided not to listen to the Lord’s prompting voice because of my own desires.

Stitched Toes

I was about ten years old and had a really good friend who came to my mom’s daycare.  One day, while my mom was out shopping and someone else was watching the daycare, my good friend left with her mother who came to pick her children up.  I was disappointed that my mom wasn’t back, because I wanted to ask if my friend could stay the night.

A couple minutes after they left, my mom came home.  I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself.  I wanted my friend to stay over.  I was downstairs and started running up what we called the ‘long flight of stairs’ in my family.  I stopped when I got about three steps up.  I thought I had heard someone tell me to use the other stairs.

I turned around to look and see who was there, but there was nobody.  I stood there and thought about it for a bit, then decided to keep running up the stairs.  This was the fastest way to get to my mom anyway and I wanted my friend to come back over.

As I ran, I put my foot a little to close to the edge where the eight foot tables were stored, and my toes caught the metal edge underneath one of them.  I was going so fast that as my toes caught on the edge, they started sliding down.  Before I knew it, I was down five or six steps crying very loudly.  My toes hurt, and they were bleeding.

I couldn’t move.  Luckily my mom heard me and came running down to see what was wrong.  She quickly got a cold cloth to wrap my toes in and brought me to the car.  We went to the hospital, and I got stitches.

I learned a great lesson that day, and have since had it reaffirmed to me many times after.  That lesson is that when the Lord commands or prompts you to do something, you do it, even when you don’t see the logic behind it.

Not Knowing Beforehand

Nephi, in the Book of Mormon had this lesson brought to his attention as well as he was going back to Jerusalem to obtain the plates.  He says in 1 Nephi 4:6:

“And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that I should do.”

Sometimes we do not know and do not understand the things that the Lord wants us to do.  We just need to move forward in faith and know that the Lord will always provide a way for us to do His will.  We can see the great faith that Nephi had of this principle as he states in 1 Nephi 3:7:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father:  I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them.”

The Lord’s Help

The Lord helps us to do His will, and as we obey and follow His commandments, He trusts us with more.  This is seen in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 of the New Testament as the Lord gives the ones who increased their talents even more.  As we are given and obey more commandments and promptings of the Lord, He is able to trust us more.  In return, He blesses us greatly.

As we choose to follow the Lord, He allows us to fly higher and higher, to become better and better people.  I have seen in my life that rules and commandments and promptings of the Lord to live a certain way, do not restrict us.  They allow us to be free and safe.  By having safety for our souls by doing the Lord’s will, we are able to accomplish great things we never thought we could accomplish.

Why Me?

Why me?

Living the good Life

So, things are going just fine in your life.  You go to school and/or  have a job, have time to spend with your family, can’t remember the last time you seriously broke down and cried.  Yeah, you have little things that go on that need to be fixed, but you are happy.  You have friends and enjoy talking with and spending time with them.  They love being around you because you are happy and help them to feel happy as well.

Life is going good.  You are doing the things you are supposed to be doing and making choices that help to lead you back to your home in heaven.  You are making decisions that lead you to true happiness.

This seemed to be my life last September.  And then October came.

The Hard Times

I honestly didn’t really recognize a huge shift in my life to begin with.  Things start small and they build up over time.  I noticed that I wasn’t as motivated anymore and I was easily irritated with little things.  I still went to work and when I was with friends and other people, I put on a happy face the best I could.  I didn’t want people to worry about me.

Trying to be something other than what I really was, made it even harder when I was alone.  I started becoming extremely weepy with no motivation.  I would often turn down invitations to do things with friends and I started isolating because I didn’t have the energy to pretend to be happy.

One night, I quit my job after breaking down crying in the middle of the restaurant.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  It seemed as if my happy, good life came to an abrupt end, like I was thrown against a huge mountain and put into the fire.

Perhaps you as well have had this experience in your life.  You wonder why something happened to you.  You wonder why you are dealing with a particular trial.  You can’t seem to remember doing anything wrong or anything that would have caused this to happen.  Why me?  you ask.

Why Me?

Sometimes hard times come because we have done something wrong in our lives and need to be brought back to our senses to get back on track.  But the times you really ask yourself why me are perhaps when you cannot see something that you have done terribly wrong that would cause a particular trial in your life.

Why was it me who lost a child?  Why is it me that is going through depression?  Why is it me who has to battle with cancer?  Why is it me who has an abusive parent or spouse?  Why is it me who can’t find a job?  Why is it me who seems to have certain temptations?  Why is it me that has to move to a new place?  Why is it me who was laid off work?  Why is it me who seems to have no friends?  Why is it me?

In Revelations 3:19 in the New Testament it reads:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

The Lord loves us.  He wants us to become even better people.  By chastening us, he allows us to not become complacent, but to grow spiritually and physically.    We must remember that even during our period of trial, He is there to help us and to make us light.  In Mosiah 24:14-15 in the Book of Mormon it reads:

“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God do visit my people in their afflictions.  And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”

The Lord knows what each of us need and who needs us perfectly.  By going through afflictions and hard times in our life, not only are we refined to become more like Christ, we are also better able to help and comfort those around us.  We learn things that we never may have learned had it not been for a particular trial.

The little steps and ways we react to situations in our life, help determine the person we ultimately become.  Sometimes people around us need to know what is going on in our lives so that they can help.  It is usually easier to overcome hard times in your life when you have a support system in place to help you and to lift you up.  Remember that Heavenly Father is always there.  We just need to pray for His help.  Perhaps as we choose the small steps that lead to true happiness always, we can know that as we face challenges in life, something is not wrong with us.  We can know that our Heavenly Father is just trying to refine us into more beautiful people.