Temptation we can escape
As I am flying out to spend the weekend with my awesome, amazing and beautiful girlfriend, Taylore... I asked a good friend, Brett Cain (y'all, he's an amazing author and you really should check out his books) to write a guest blog for me! Thanks so much, Brett!
It is a great honor to write an entry in Matt’s stead. He is one of the greatest guys, and finest writers I know.
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. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
It really is that simple.
We can bear all temptation.
Simple, but not easy.
Certainly I have fallen short more times than I can or care to remember. But the Lord “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:31)
Not because He has unreasonable expectations of us, not because He is looking to catch us doing something wrong, not because He is eager to punish. But because we have been given all the tools we need to avoid, escaped from, and resist temptation. We cannot say, “that temptation was more than I could bare.” We cannot say that someone else “made me do it”.
…I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. (Mosiah 4:29)
Which sounds disheartening. You mean that there are innumerable ways to mess up? Certainly, yes.
But what is encouraging is there are only so many forms that temptations can come in.
Temptations and sins are separate.
Sin is when we give way to temptation.
If we do not allow ourselves to be overcome by temptation, then we are able to mitigate the damage. Like scattering the seeds from a dandelion. If you don’t disturb it, it’s contained. Have you ever seen a spider’s sack of eggs burst? That is what happens when we yield to temptation. Innumerable potential poisoners. But before hatching, it is a tiny and squashable foe indeed.
President David O. McKay said that “every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of three forms:
(1)A temptation of the appetite or passion;
(2)A yielding to pride, fashion, or vanity
(3)A desire for worldly riches or power and dominion over lands or earthly possession of men” (Teaching of Presidents of the Church: David O McKay , 82).
Jesus Christ, our perfect exemplar, eschewed temptation expertly, and in a way we can all emulate. He cited scripture, which we can all do, by memorizing or “treasuring up in our minds the words of life”, we can recite these when faced with temptation.
Or better yet, we can simply open them up, on our phones even.
Christ also put into practice the self-denial, restraint, discipline, and patience that is required of all of us.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught that when Satan tempted Jesus with bread that the invitation to sin was not in the eating. Certainly there is nothing wrong with eating. Rather the temptation was to satisfy a physical need the easy way, by “abuse of power and without a willingness to wait for the right time and the right way.”
Regarding the Law of Chastity, the temptation to break it is not that of physical intimacy. Physical intimacy is ordained of God. The temptation is to satisfy a passion without the bonds, guardrails, and commitment that comes with marriage. Instead, it is to do it “the easy way”. Without the work required to make a marriage strong and lasting.
Sex is a commodity that can be ill-gotten by “divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.” (Mosiah 4:29)
The temptation isn’t having money. The temptation is stealing it, to get it quickly without having earned it.
The same goes for any temptation.
It is the easy way out.
Elder Holland went on to teach that even the Son of God had to wait. When you find yourself tempted just hold up a hand, like a traffic cop, and say to yourself (or your tempter) “wait”. Mentally detach and tell yourself, “I do not like (or will not like) the way this action will make me feel.”
Discipline equals freedom.
Discipleship equals freedom.
There is great power in self-denial.
The more you exercise it, the more power you have.
Say no to weakness.
Say no to the easy way.
Say no to yourself.
You are stronger than you think, and more importantly God is mightiest of all and He will not let you be tempted above that which you can crush.