“Searching the Scriptures: How to Face Temptation,” Ensign, Aug. 1973, 68
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev. 21:7.)
We are told in scriptures both ancient and modern that temptations do not come from God, but from Satan, or are a result of our own desires or weaknesses.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13–15.)
The Book of Mormon offers this explanation:
“Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity. … And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people … [and they were] carried about by the temptations of the devil whithersoever he desired to carry them. …” (3 Ne. 6:15–17.)
Even Jesus experienced temptation in all its forms. Alma prophesied:
“… he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” (Alma 7:11.)
And the angel told King Benjamin that Jesus would “suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death.” (Mosiah 3:7.)
We read that Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15.) And Abinadi declared that Jesus “suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation. …” (Mosiah 15:5.) And it was revealed to Joseph Smith that Jesus “suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.” (D&C 20:22.)
The Lord knows how to rescue us from the power of temptation, and since the devil has this great ability to tempt and entice us, it is necessary that we know the way of deliverance and of escape from his power. We read that Jesus suffered temptation “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:12.)
Peter said that “the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Pet. 2:9), and in these last days the Lord has given assurance that he “knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted” (D&C 62:1).
Following are some of the ways that the Lord has designed to protect his people from the temptations of Satan.
The scripture says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7.) When Jesus resisted temptation, the tempter himself began to lose confidence, and even began to plead.
At first Satan tauntingly said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Upon being rebuffed, he tried another approach: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down [from the temple]. …” Again he was rebuffed by Jesus, so the devil “sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” This time, in desperation, Satan said unto Jesus, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Again Jesus rebuffed him, and “then the devil leaveth him.” (See Matt. 4:3–11.)
Therefore, as the scripture says, “Blessed is the man that endureth [resisteth] temptation. …” (James 1:12.) In like manner, Alma said to teach the people “to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Alma 37:33.)
Prayer is a defense against the power of temptation. Jesus said:
“… ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him … lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (3 Ne. 18:15, 18.)
And Moroni counseled:
“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; … ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptations, but that ye will serve the true and living God.” (Morm. 9:28.)
Also, Alma enjoined: “… be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptation of the devil, that he may not overpower you, … for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.” (Alma 34:39.)
However, some would not use the help available, “neither would they observe the performances of the church to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily, that they might not enter into temptation.” (Alma 31:10.)
Added to these things, the Lord has provided a way to shield his saints:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13.)
“… humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit. …” (Alma 13:28.)
But error brings the chastening of a loving Father, that we may be forgiven and blessed:
“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you … whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation. …” (D&C 95:1.)
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:7, 11.)
And to the faithful he has said:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Rev. 3:10.)
Finally, Paul said it precisely: “Be not overcome of evil; but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21.)
Thus, through obedience to the Lord’s commandments and being willing to receive correction from his servants, one may obtain “the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.” (D&C 124:124.)
Finally, the scriptures counsel that we should help one another to overcome temptation. Jesus said to Peter:
“… behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31–32.)
And with much affection for the sinner, Paul said:
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:1–2).
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. … For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Rom. 15:1, 3.)
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak. …” (Acts 20:35.)
As Jesus has helped us, so should we help one another. How should we deal with temptation? Avoid it, resist it, and pray for help from God, through the grace of Christ, to overcome it.