The “Temptations of Jesus” give great insights on confronting Satan and resisting sin. (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Center your life in Christ and Follow the Savior’s Example
The Savior “suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:22). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the Lord never wavered. His answer was quick and firm: “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Luke 4:8). James counseled: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7–8).
Centering one’s life on the Savior. The prophet Helaman counseled his 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).
Each of the Savior’s responses to Satan’s temptations included the phrase, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4; 7; 10). Christ’s knowledge of the scriptures prepared and strengthened Him to turn aside from temptation. The Savior later taught, “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
Our own desires and lusts make us vulnerable to temptation
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth for death.
When we transgress, we withdraw ourselves from the Spirit
…after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved—
We will never find happiness by doing iniquity
But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye has sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
God will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist
1 Cor 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.
The Lord will prepare a way for us to keep the commandments
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 commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Put on the whole armor of God to withstand the devil
Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places….
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
A mighty change of heart removes all desire to do evil
And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.
Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
We can overcome the “natural man” by yielding to the Spirit
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 enticing 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.
“Hold to the rod” to overcome temptation
1 Nephi 15:24
“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”
Deny yourselves of ungodliness by loving God with all your strength
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
Resist Temptation Through Prayer
Pray for strength. When the resurrected Savior came to the Nephites, He taught the multitude: “Ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:18–19). In the latter days He has given similar counsel: “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:5).
Overcome sin by searching the scriptures
Merrill J. Bateman
“There are certain blessings obtained when one searches the scriptures. As a person studies the words of the Lord and obeys them, he or she draws closer to the Savior and obtains a greater desire to live a righteous life. The power to resist temptation increases, and spiritual weaknesses are overcome” (“Coming unto Christ by Searching the Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1992)
Decide once and for all to resist the same temptation
Spencer W. Kimball:
Now may I make a recommendation? Develop discipline of self so that, more and more, you do not have to decide and redecide what you will do when you are confronted with the same temptation time and time again. You need only to decide some things once. How great a blessing it is to be free of agonizing over and over again regarding a temptation. To do such is time-consuming and very risky.
Likewise, the positive things you will want to accomplish need to be decided upon only once–like going on a mission and living worthily in order to get married in the temple–and then all other decisions related to these goals can fall into line. Otherwise, each consideration is risky, and each equivocation may result in error. There are some things Latter-day Saints do and other things we just don’t do. The sooner you take a stand, the taller you will be. (President Kimball Speaks Out, 1981, p. 94)
The nearer we get to perfection the more we lose any desire to sin
We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with him. (DHC 2)
Remember, You Are a Child of God with a divine heritage and destiny
The Savior withstood the temptations of Satan, in part, because He remembered his identity and purpose. Before the adversary departed, Christ told Satan, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7)
David A. Bednar
“It is interesting to note that the overarching and fundamental challenge to the Savior in each of these three temptations is contained in the taunting statement, ‘If thou be the Son of God.’ Satan’s strategy, in essence, was to dare the Son of God to improperly demonstrate His God-given powers, to sacrifice meekness and modesty, and, thereby, betray who He was. Thus, Satan attempted repeatedly to attack Jesus’ understanding of who He was and of His relationship with His Father. Jesus was victorious in meeting and overcoming the strategy of Satan.” (“The Character of Christ” BYU-I Religion Symposium January 25, 2003).
Stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible (Story)
The story is told about an Old West company that was hiring teamsters to drive its stage coaches through a mountainous area.
Three men applied for the job.
The boss gathered them together in his office and asked the group, “How close can you drive the team to the edge of the cliff as you round the mountain?”
The first applicant bragged that he was skilled enough that he could drive the stage coach within three feet of the edge of the cliff.
The second person boasted that he could drive the team and coach within one foot of the edge of the cliff.
The third man simply replied, “I would drive the coach as far from the edge of the cliff as I possibly could.”
He got the job!
“Don’t fly your jet in the trees”
[Like Joseph in Egypt] it is important that we beware of compromising situations than anything else we can do. We must avoid them. If we don’t, we will run the great risk of being overcome.
In my experience, I have found that it is very, very dangerous to fly just high enough to miss the treetops. I spent twenty-six years flying the navy’s airplanes. It was very exciting to see how close I could fly to the trees. This is called “flat hatting” in the navy, and it is extremely dangerous. When you are flying just high enough to miss the trees and your engine coughs once, you are in the trees.
Now let’s pretend that the navy had a commandment—“Thou shalt not fly thy airplane in the trees.” As a matter of fact, they did have such a commandment. In order to really be free of the commandment, it becomes necessary for me to add a commandment of my own to the navy’s commandment, such as, “Thou shalt not fly thy airplane closer than 5,000 feet to the trees.” When you do this, you make the navy’s commandment of not flying in the trees easy to live, and the safety factor is tremendously increased. (“Live above the Law and Be Free,” Gen. Conf. Oct. 1973)
Monitor and Strengthen your Six “Vital Signs” of Spiritual Health
During my frequent visits to the doctor’s office, six things always take place. First, they take my weight. (Bad start.) Second, they check my blood pressure. Third, they take my pulse. Fourth, they check my temperature. Fifth, the doctor listens to my heart. Sixth, the doctor listens to my lungs. These six things occur regardless of the reason for my visit with the doctor.
These six “vital signs” provide the doctor with very important information. These six “vital signs” are basic indicators of our physical health and well-being.
The scriptures and the prophets teach that even more important than our physical health is our spiritual health. Nothing will ever be more important than our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Redeemer.
As there are six “vital signs” of our physical health, there are also six “vital signs” of our spiritual health and well-being.
The six “vital signs” of spiritual health are:
(2) scripture study,
(3) pondering and meditation,
(4) obedience an dkeeping the commandments,
(5) church activity, and
(6) Christian service.
As Bishop, whenever I met privately with ward members, I always gave them a spiritual “checkup.” I checked their six “vital signs” of spiritual health. I did so regardless of the reason for the visit. This gave me very important information about the spiritual health and well-being of the members of my ward.
The Lord taught us that receiving certain blessings is based on living certain laws. “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20-21) Thus, in order to receive the blessings associated with spiritual health and strength, we must abide by the laws of spiritual strength. (Brett London)