Sunday, February 21, 2010

Resisting Temptation

We had an interesting (and very good) discussion on agency in Relief Society today. We can't have true agency without opposition, and so we spent a little bit of time discussing Satan and temptation. I was reminded of this quote by C. S. Lewis that I really like:

“A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. … You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.” (It was quoted in the January 2007 Home Teaching Message by President James E. Faust.)

I also thought it was interesting that several of the comments shared in our class contained ideas that President Faust mentioned in this article, like “The devil is not smart because he is the devil; he is smart because he is old.” He's been around a long time, and knows what works and what doesn't as he tries to get people to join his side.

And, "However, 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. . . . Certainly he can tempt and he can deceive, but he has no authority over us that we do not give him. The power to resist Satan may be stronger than we realize. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: 'All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him.'"

One of my favorite "rediscovered" scriptures is 1 Nephi 14:12-14, which reminds us "that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions . . . were small." However, "they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." In spite of the fact that the devil's followers are growing ever larger in number, the winning side is Christ's side. It's empowering to know that we've been given the tools to defeat Satan. We know the outcome of this battle, and we can choose the winning side.

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