I don’t know what it is, but when you’re struggling within your faith, it seems as if Heavenly Father reaches out to you more. The thing is-and this is vital-you have to be willing to listen. He knows your heart and knows what is going on with you. You may not understand it-but He does.
I’m struggling. Not just with spiritual things but in all things. I wonder when the things of the past few years that have crippled my mind, body and spirit will come to an end and I can walk away with some appreciation of the lesson(s) learned.
During this time, one of the things I think I’m supposed to be learning is being more equipped to resisting temptation. I’m an impulsive person. I like to say I go by instinct, but the truth is… it is more out of my own selfishness.
What is temptation?
The word “temptation” is from the Latin root word tentare, to try or to test, its meaning deeply rooted in Judaism and the Old Testament.
Temptation is based on lies and distortion. It is an incitement to sin. It is a confusing concept because on one hand, we hear temptation as a good thing. Advertisers use this word to get consumers to buy what they’re selling. Here’s something else in which boggles my mind when it comes to temptation: we’re made in the image of God so we naturally desire goodness and beauty, however, what we may forget is we’re also prone to sin and we’re easily tricked. It is naturally easy for us to accept the appearance of goodness, to embrace it and want to be it, especially if it we think we have found an easier and painless way to achieve it. We want instant gratification.
Temptation is not itself however, sin.
I read somewhere once that those who find themselves beset with temptation on all fronts can probably consider themselves called to prayer and service even more. I know in my own life it is only when I’ve let down my guard or succumb to laziness when the urge to resist the temptations that are sinful is difficult. It is easier to do what is wrong without trying to do what is right.
Pride leads to sinful temptations
My short-term memory is damaged due to illness and this has caused many problems in my relationships. Mainly because of my own pride in not telling people that hey, I don’t always remember what the heck we talked about yesterday, so if I were to meet you somewhere-and didn’t- it is because of not remembering. This has led many to believe I’m not a good friend or not dependable, when it reality, it isn’t the case. I’ve been tempted to lie to cover up this problem and actually have. Pride is another virtue in which can lead to the temptation of sin.
This is what I know: When we decide (and we must decide this!) to live a life of building our faith by praying for strength and wisdom, see evil for what it is, and desire to have the clarity to be virtuous we will be equipped to see beyond the appearances of what seems to be good. We will be wise enough to see beyond the enticing promises of sugar-coated ‘easiness’ and sinful desires.
Be tempted to do good
We also need to remember that being children of God and wanting to serve Him will never be easy. When we have decided (again, it is a decision!) to diligently serve our Heavenly Father, the attacks from the adversary will be relentless. To conquer sinful temptation we need to be humble and trust in God. Let us not be arrogant and feel we are too confident to ask Heavenly Father for help to avoid sinful temptation.
Be tempted to always pray, to study our scriptures, to do good in our community, to love one another-even our enemies-strive to succumb to the good temptations.
Rely on God, not religion
Religion is not your safeguard. I don’t care what religion you are. The relationship you have with your God is your safeguard. Relying on Him-and not the practices of your religion-is of the utmost importance. Don’t get me wrong here-I’m not saying religion is a bad thing-I’m only saying it can’t be the ONLY thing and it cannot replace your relationship with God.
Accepting it will never be easy
Avoiding situations where the temptation to sin is great, should be a no-brainer. It isn’t rocket science, but still we will always struggle. It is in our nature not to want to miss out on what seems to be fun and an exciting time. Not allowing ourselves to fall into situations to begin with is the easiest way to go…
But whoever said life was going to be easy?