Tuesday’s Torch 564
December 3, 2019
Today I’d like to discuss a method of avoiding temptation. This method requires preparation and study so a lot of people don’t really use it. But it is such a great method that even the Savior himself used it.
Jesus had been fasting for many days and he was very hungry and probably running extremely low on energy when we read the following in Luke 4:3-8.
“3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Following those verses there are a couple other temptations that he responds to in the same fashion. His response was to quote scriptures. He knew the scriptures. He used what had previously been written as his response. He did this very much to show us how to resist temptation. As we read and seriously study the scriptures, we will know ahead of time the ways to resist temptation. We will both recognize the temptations as being contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we will know the proper response to stay true to the knowledge that we do have.
Satan attempted to use his own distorted logic to get the Savior to falter. Satan and many others will try to entice us to do many things that will steer us off the path of righteousness, and if we don’t know any better, or if we rely only on our judgment or the words or judgment of others we can falter. But as we have built up a knowledge of the scriptures and as we turn to study of the scriptures then we will not be fooled.
Trust me when I say this: acting in a manner contrary to the scriptures doesn’t pay. As we study the scriptures to seek help with the choices we need to make, we will be strengthened so that we can’t be led astray by false logic, or rationalizations or justifications. And if you look back and see yourself having fallen victim to any of these things due to having let your guard down: make the changes necessary to reverse course and to get back on track. The scriptures will help you do that.
Remember, even Christ himself used the scriptures to contend with Satan. Why would we think that we could make the right decisions when faced with various temptations just by thinking about it or even prayer? Prayer and pondering are indeed valuable parts of a wonderful equation, but without the answers contained in the scriptures, we will be led astray. So follow the perfect example of the Savior, and do as He did. Study and seek the correct answers and do it now. If you learn that you have made mistakes, do what is in your power to fix them. And learn even more so that next time Satan or anyone tries to convince you that doing the wrong thing is ever right, or that the end justifies the means; not only can you resist the temptation, but you will know exactly why and have the scriptural ammunition to fight back.
I’ve made many decisions in my life while meaning well and having good intentions, some that I thought a long time about; but void of the influence of the gospel contained in the word of God, and without knowing or seeking out those truths, they were the wrong choices. God does not ever and will not lead us down paths that require us to go against the Gospel and against what we are taught in the scriptures.
So I challenge each of you and myself as well. Evaluate what choices you have made and are making, and decide if you’d have made the same choices if you were quoting scriptures to respond to the circumstances and options placed before you? Said another way, would the scriptures have supported you?
I will say this without reservation or hesitation, if a decision requires you to go against the gospel, it is the wrong decision and will not lead you down the path of righteousness. No matter how pure your intentions or how strongly you rationalize or justify it. The right things will be backed up by scriptural evidence and gospel truth. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16