Prepare to Resist Temptation
Prayerfully select and read from this message the scriptures and teachings that meet the needs of the those you visit. Share your experiences and testimony. Invite those you teach to do the same.
How Can an Eternal Perspective Help Us Resist Temptation?
Alma 34:39: “Be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.”
President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95): “Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy. The law of opposition makes freedom of choice possible; therefore, our Heavenly Father has commanded his children, ‘Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you’ (Moses 6:33). He has counseled us to yield to his spirit and resist temptation” (“God Will Have a Tried People,” Ensign, May 1980, 25).
Coleen K. Menlove, Primary general president: “Even within the Church there are people who aren’t happy or people who are usually happy but who experience intermittent times of stress, worry, challenge, and discouragement. That, too, is part of the great plan of happiness. Mortality is a time of testing and trial, which means that there must be times when we feel pain and emotional discomfort. However, by patiently trusting in the eternal plan, we can experience daily happiness and have hope for ‘ever-after happiness” (“Living Happily Ever After,” Ensign, May 2000, 12).
How Can We Prepare Ourselves to Resist Temptation?
Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”
President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency: “As we love the temple, touch the temple, and attend the temple, our lives will reflect our faith. As we come to these holy houses of God, as we remember the covenants we make within, we shall be able to bear every trial and overcome each temptation” (Be Your Best Self , 56).
President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency: “We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat” (“The Great Imitator,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 35).
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “When you have taken a determined stand for right, when you have established personal standards and made covenants to keep them, when temptations come and you act according to your standards, you will be reinforced and given strength beyond your own capacity if that is needed. Difficulty comes when you enter the battle of temptation without a fixed plan” (“Do What Is Right,” Ensign, June 1997, 53).
What Can We Do When We Succumb to Temptation?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Occasionally we may stumble. I thank the Lord for the great principle of repentance and forgiveness. When we drop the ball, when we make a mistake, there is held out to us the word of the Lord that he will forgive our sins and remember them no more against us” (“Don’t Drop the Ball,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 48).
Elders come prepared to share personal challenges and/or success experiences.
“God Will Have a Tried People,” Ensign, May 1980, 25
“Living Happily Ever After,” Ensign, May 2000, 12
“The Great Imitator,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 35
“Do What Is Right,” Ensign, June 1997, 53
“Don’t Drop the Ball,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 48
Questions & Answers
“How do I resist temptation?”
Strange as it sounds, temptation is necessary for our spiritual growth. If we weren’t tempted, we wouldn’t be able to choose between good and evil (see D&C 29:39). And if we couldn’t choose good when offered an alternative, we couldn’t grow spiritually (see 2 Nephi 2:11–30).
One key to resisting temptation is consistent obedience. If you give in sometimes, the temptation is harder to resist in the future. If you resist consistently, you get stronger and it is easier to resist in the future. Much of the strength to resist comes from the Savior’s Atonement working in your life. As you do your best to learn the Savior’s teachings and follow them, the Lord strengthens you to withstand temptation.
The scriptures teach other ways to resist temptation:
“Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan” (D&C 10:5).
“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” (1 Nephi 15:24).
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7–8).
Also, it’s important to know that it’s not wrong to be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). You can look to His example—and the examples of many others in the scriptures—to help you.
Pray for Strength
To withstand temptation, we first need the will and the sincere desire to choose the right. It helps me a lot if I imagine a situation in advance and then choose the right. Another thing that helps me is prayer. If we will pray for strength, seek out spiritual nourishment, and choose carefully where we hang out, then the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion to be with us and to warn us.
Support Each Other
I think that by reading the scriptures daily, praying, exercising self-control, and following the words of the prophet, we can resist temptation. Resisting temptation strengthens your faith and shows your commitment to Heavenly Father to keep the covenants you have made. Having friends in the Church can also help us because we can support each other. It takes a lot of courage to say no. Remember, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). When we overcome temptation, we draw nearer to Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father.
Share Your Beliefs
In high school, most of my classmates invited me to drink alcohol and watch pornography. I always said no because I do what the Savior wants me to do. I remember Him and keep my covenants. Sometimes my friends and classmates do not tempt me because they already know what my religion is. Sharing our beliefs and testimony with others—especially with friends, classmates, neighbors, and family—will lessen the temptation in our surroundings. I know that by living the gospel, we can overcome the temptations in our lives.
Listen to the Holy Ghost
I have found that when temptation comes, the Holy Ghost tries to warn me to choose the right. Do things—like praying and reading your scriptures—that keep the Spirit with you and avoid places where the Holy Ghost can’t come.
Stand in Holy Places
My older brother always tells me to “stand in holy places.” I found that this means to stand where temptations are less present or less severe. My stake president said, “Don’t just resist temptation—avoid temptation.” There will be times when you have to resist temptations, but it becomes easier to live the gospel when temptations are not there to tempt you.
We Can Decide to Do Right
The gift of the Holy Ghost helps us tell the difference between good and bad and helps us realize when we are being tempted. We should remember that temptations are tests that help us know when we do right and when we don’t; and we should know that if we follow the Lord, He won’t allow us to be tempted more than we can withstand (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). We always get to decide whether to choose the right road instead of the wrong one.
Role-play Choosing the Right
I think it’s important to make up my mind ahead of time about choices I will be faced with. I was unexpectedly faced with a tricky situation, and the outcome was positive because I had already made up my mind that I would not back down from my standards. Even though I am sometimes uncomfortable, my family practices role-playing so I know what to say or do when faced with temptations.
Have Good Friends
Having good friends who choose the right is something you can do to resist temptation. They set a good example. You can call them if you are tempted. They will help you choose the right. Good friends can remind you to pray, read the scriptures, and obey.