Tuesday, May 24, 2011

War Of Temptations

There are many who will be reading this that have the problems of giving in to temptations. I want to preface this by saying that we have all been subject to temptations. Even Jesus Christ was put through some temptations. I feel I must say that without these temptations, there would've been very little point to coming to this earth to learn, because without temptations, it can be very hard for us to learn. There must be opposition to all things, from the yearnings of the Lord to do righteous works, to the temptations that so easily beset us from Satan. I take some of my sayings from prophets and apostles of the past and present, and hope that something I say will help put into perspective the way we all feel about these things and about how we can overcome them. I also don't say these things as a hypocrite, but as someone who has been through many temptations of all kinds, and have given in to some of them myself. I understand much about what is said below, which is why I feel so inclined to write these things.

We have some wonderful prophets who have given us some amazing counsel. I often think of these prophets as Counselors of God. These men can provide insights into how we can overcome these spiritual dangers. However, the Lord speaks of those who refuse counsel and who “stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house” (D&C 90:5). Remember, our Counselors of God are not here to beat us down and tell us what we're doing wrong. They are here to remind us of what not to do, as well as how to escape these awful situations if you are in them.

C.S. Lewis, a very wonderful Christian writer, once said, "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only realist." I will add on to what C.S. Lewis said by also saying that Heavenly Father "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 (1 Corinthians 10:13). Never assume that you can make it out of the temptation alone. You need the help of the Lord. Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him. What a marvelous and wonderful thing prayer is. Think of it. We can actually speak with our Father in Heaven. He will hear and respond, but we need to listen to that response. Nothing is too serious and nothing too unimportant to share with Him. He has said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mathew 11:28-30). Keep in mind that a yoke is not meant to hold just one, but two. In this case, you would be right next to your Savior from your temptations.

On many days, fighting temptations will not be easy. It is not supposed to be. God’s purpose in creation was to let us prove ourselves. The plan was explained to us in the spirit world before we were born. We were valiant enough there to qualify for the opportunity to choose against temptation here to prepare for eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God. We rejoiced to know the test would be one of faithful obedience, even when it would not be easy.

Several prophets in the past have said that the Law of Chastity, or the law by which we should remain sexually pure in the sight of the Lord, is the law by which Satan is destroying families the quickest. It is so prevalent in today's world that very few people ever consider it uncommon. A Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, said to his son, "Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost?" (Alma 39:5). To everyone who has thought of breaking this law of chastity, please remember that it is the third most serious sin/trap that Satan has waiting for us.

To those who have fallen in this trap of sexual immorality, but who also want to escape, know that Heavenly Father knows who you are. For many of us, chastity is mainly the only thing that besets us. It can weigh us down, and make us feel as though we have let everyone down. To these people I say that you are a very trustworthy person. God has given all of us, His children, some vice(s) that weighs us down. In my opinion, He has given his more serious vices, like chastity, to His children who he feels he can trust with them. He knows that you can overcome these things, though they be very hard. He wouldn't trust you with this "thorn in the flesh" as Paul said, if he didn't trust you with it. Father knows you can do it.

Now for some steps on how you can do it. First, we'll use some scriptures as our instructions on how to start overcoming these temptations. “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19). Look at that list of attributes: submissive (to God), meek (people who are willing to follow Gospel teachings), humble (teachable), patient (in all things, including in temptations), full of love (towards everybody, including your "enemies"), and willing to submit to the Lord. It will be these things that get us close to the Spirit, and away from the influences and enticings of Satan. “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 ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). Christ is my best friend because He is one of the few who can get me out of these temptations fast, even when nobody else knows I'm going through them. Having Him be your "go-to Guy" will help you have Him be your Foundation, or your Rock.

Many of us, including myself have wondered, what is going to happen during our time of judgement? What am I going to be judged for exactly? Will I ever be forgiven? Can I not be judged for the sins which have stained who I am? Are there unforgivable sins? These are just a few of the troubling questions that seem to plague our minds as we contemplate our final day of judgement. Thankfully, we have all of these answers and more. We are going to be judged according to the works that we have done in this life (see 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Ne. 15:32, 2 Ne. 25:23, Mosiah 3:24). We will also be judged according to the desires of our hearts as well (see Alma 12:14, D&C 137:9). You can be forgiven of your sins through repentance (see D&C 58:42). There are sins that are more serious than others (see  Matt. 12:31, Alma 39:5) but 99% of sins can be repented of and forgotten of the Lord.

So now the question arises of, how can know if I am forgiven? That is a question that is not asked very much, but thankfully we have the answer to that as well. I have a few charts I wanted to add to help illustrate these points.

Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose. They are linked together in such a way that they never disagree with one another.

When we ask for forgiveness, or when we pray in general, our message gets sent up by the Holy Ghost, through Jesus Christ, to Heavenly Father. Our pleas for forgiveness will reach His ears every time.

Heavenly Father's response, which we have to be listening for, will come back through Jesus Christ, our mediator, and the Holy Ghost will deliver the message to us, saying whether we are forgiven or not.

When you are forgiven, you will have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with you. Since he will be willing to be around you, and since those Three don't disagree, both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would also be willing to be around you. You will know that you are forgiven.

What will the Holy Ghost feel like when He's around you? You will feel one or any combinations of these feelings: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, or any other kind of related feelings (see Galatians 5:22-23).

I hope this has helped you out on how to seek forgiveness, and how to avoid temptation. I know that as we look to Heavenly Father, He will help us out with anything that we need. "... for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him" (3 Nephi 13:8), so "ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Luke 11:9-10).

1 comment:

  1. A lot to think about.....thank you! I especially like the quote from CS Lewis - I'd never heard that before.


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