Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Withstanding Temptation Through Christ

Today's Mormonism message comes from the recordings of St. Matthew.  When we need guidance what better place can we go for help than the scriptures?  And who could be a better teacher than Christ himself?  With that knowledge I'm going to use a story of Christ to explain how we can resist the devil's temptations (and therefore be closer to Christ).

As I typically do, first I'll share the story and then give my explanations and thoughts.
JST Matthew 4:1-11
1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be with God.
2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights and had communed with God, he was afterwards an hungered, and was left to be tempted of the devil,
3. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5. Then Jesus was taken up into the holy city, and the Spirit setteth him on the pinnacle of the temple.
6. Then the devil came unto him and said, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:  for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee:  and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8. And again, Jesus was in the Spirit, and it taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9. And the devil came unto him again, and said, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:  for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11. Then the devil leaveth him...
In the beginning of this, before the Tempter even approached Christ, we read that Jesus was fasting and 'communed with God.'  This is one thing we can do to withstand temptation.

Joseph B. Wirthlin has said:
"Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.  It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit.  It can strengthen us against time of temptation."

After fasting many days the devil approached Jesus, tempting him.  In reply Christ says, "It is written," and then goes on to quote scripture.  Scriptures are another tool we can use to withstand the devil's temptations.  In reading the scriptures we learn the stories of Christ, we learn the gospel, and most importantly we learn about our relationship with God.  And with this knowledge we are better prepared to face trials and temptations.

A family, in the July 2012 Liahona magazine, wrote the following:
"We read the scriptures and study the teachings of Jesus Christ with our parents every evening.  When we hear Church leaders speak in conference and quote stories from the scriptures, we recognize the teachings because we have studied them in our family.  We understand the importance of daily scripture study.  We know we are Heavenly Father's children, that He lives, and that He and Jesus Christ love us."

When we know that Jesus and Heavenly Father love us and we love them, then we are more likely to listen to God's will over the devil's.

The next time Satan approached Jesus Christ to tempt him, Jesus answered with, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."  Again Christ is showing his knowledge of the scriptures.  With a knowledge of the scriptures comes a knowledge of the commandments of God.  If we know God's commandments then we should already know for ourselves that following Satan's temptations is wrong.

The final time that the devil tempted Jesus the reply from the Savior was, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."  In addition to the scripture just quoted I'd like to add another one:

"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (3 Nephi 13:24)

With these statements by the Savior we can learn a great truth in connection to withstanding temptation.  If we are serving Christ then we cannot be serving Satan.  We serve Christ by going to church, by showing charity, by doing temple work, etc.  When we are doing these things we are building stronger defenses against temptation.

And now a quick summary.  These are some things we can be doing to withstand the temptations of the adversary, as shown by Christ is his mortal ministry:

  • Fasting
  • Prayer
  • Scripture Study
  • Learning/Following the Commandments
  • Follow Christ (Church participation, Temple work, etc.)

As is always the case, if you have any questions you can ask the missionaries. (Click the picture below.)

Chat With a Missionary Here

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