September 18, 2012

Overcoming Temptation

     Well I have been thinking about how many people fall into temptation. If someone falls into a temptation that I am not tempted with, I tend to think to myself, "why don't they just buck up and deal with it already, how hard can it be." Then I think about my own temptations. I thought about the path of temptation. I thought about the path out of temptations. Its tough both ways.
     Its like hiking. When I was younger, my extended family would take an annual 2-3 day backpacking trip down devils canyon.The path down was tough. It wasn't tough from physical exertion, it was tough because of the terrain. The path was downhill, which is why it didn't exhaust us. But it was pretty steep. It was rocky, lots of pine trees around us, and many pine trees blocking the path. At some places, the trail was overgrown and barely visible. I never went down devils canyon without tripping and slipping. It was painful.
     I think of falling into temptation as the path down devils canyon. What an ironic name for a canyon. temptation is the easy choice, its all downhill. The fact that temptation is downhill often times clouds our mind to the rough and rocky terrain. Perhaps we see no path and continue down because its easy. Slipping tripping and falling on our butts the entire way. Every step into temptation is painful to our spirits. Every step towards temptation dulls our ability to feel the comfort of the spirit, while increasing our feelings of guilt and shame. By the time we reach the bottom and look up, the path is too overwhelming to comprehend.
     The path out of devils canyon had the same rough terrain, and the same blocked trail. Just as the path of the canyon trail is the same on the way out, so it is with repentance. We slowly regain trust with our heavenly father, and slowly invite the spirit into our life each step we take out of temptation. you don't get a one way ticket to the top. But there is a difference. Every step we take out of temptation we will feel more and more of gods love, temptation will have less and less of a hold on us every step we take. Every prayer we make.
    Lets not forget the path out of devils canyon not only had the same terrain, it also had an increase of exhaustion. My grandfather made sure we ate as much breakfast as we could before we left, and when we were stuffed full, he would make us eat another plate of pancakes. We were also told to drink an extra cup of water after satisfying out thirst, before we left from the bottom. This was to protect us from ultimate exhaustion. My grandfather had us do this because years before he hadn't eaten enough, his body quit and started to shut down, he had to have my uncles race to the top of the canyon to find food and bring it back to him so he could complete the journey.
     Christ taught us that he is our living water. When Jesus was with the woman at the well, she gave him water. His response to her was,
      "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,". 
In  second Nephi Chapter 9 it says.
 "50 Come, my brethren, every one that athirsteth, come ye to the bwaters; and he that hath no cmoney, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
 51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your alabor for that which cannot bsatisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and cfeast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
 52 Behold, my beloved brethren, remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give athanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts brejoice." 
 When we reach temptations bottoms, and desire to repent and return to God, We should feast and drink of the goodness of the gospel to start our journey to full repentance. Its hard if you start by simply ready a scripture a day. It is good that we are doing more than we were, but if we wish for Christs help, his grace, we should immerse ourselves in the gospel, as much as we can do.
    After we have immersed ourselves in the gospel, we can start our trek to the top. 
     A few years ago, I went down devils canyon with a friend. This friend tripped at the bottom while we were fishing. He hurt his back. he experienced so much pain on the way to the top he would have stopped if he were on his own. He asked for me to poke him in the back (the part that didn't hurt) with a stick every time he stopped or slowed down. I did this, it hurt him and he wasn't very happy, but we made it to the top.
     On our path to the top we need to recognize we can't do it alone. Sin and temptation have spiritually hurt our backs. We need to pray every step of the way for Christs help. In Mathew 26:41 it tells us. 
  41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
This verse describes us perfectly. Our flesh is weak. prayer gives our spirits power over the flesh to resist and overcome temptation.
     Lets look at some more ways we can overcome our temptations.
We already discussed prayer, but I am naming it again, it is one of the best tools we have in overcoming temptation.
If our temptations come as habits, we can replace those less desirable habits with good habits.
President David O. McKay Quote C. A. Holl when he said " We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits, and we sow our habits and we reap our characters; we sown our characters, and we reap our destiny."  As we put into perspective where we want our destiny, it can help us make the choices to change our habits.
Mahatma Gandhi said, "man's destined purpose is to conquer all habits, to overcome the evil in him and to restore good to its rightful place".
President Mckay told us "we should become so involved in acquiring good quality traits and participation in character-building activities that there is no time to engage in anything worthless or harmful. Our habits should be those that make us susceptible to faith and testimony."
     Don't let the path of repentance overwhelm you. No matter where you are in life the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is readily accessible. God knows and loves you individually. The Lord has said, "For the power is in them (meaning people), wherein they are agents unto themselves." This means that our habits are subject to change and improvement. The devil will never have a hold stronger than we can break with the help of our savior Jesus Christ.
     When we made it to the top of the canyon, we always had soda, chips, and other foods. It was a great feeling to accomplish something so daunting. As we repent, we will also have a great sense of accomplishment. God will bless us in all aspects of our life.


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