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Why I Keep the Word of Wisdom When I’m Repeatedly Faced with Temptation
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Why I Keep the Word of Wisdom When I’m Repeatedly Faced with Temptation

The author lives in Utah, USA.

Drinking alcohol and coffee was a daily routine of my coworkers, so I often felt like an outsider. But remembering the why behind the Word of Wisdom helped me stay strong.

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Growing up, I was often exposed to alcohol, tea, and coffee, mostly when I would spend time with my extended family. My immediate family and I are the only members of the Church among my relatives, and sometimes it felt disheartening and isolating when others would look down on my beliefs. But I knew God was real, I had faith in His restored gospel and in my baptismal covenants, and I knew He wanted me to make good decisions.

When I moved to London, England, in my early twenties, I began working at an international bank. Everyone lived off tea and coffee to get them through the workday on our fast-moving trade floor. On my second day of work, my manager made me a cup of tea. I thanked her but explained that I don’t drink tea—she quickly offered me coffee instead.

I knew she was just being kind, but I was determined to keep my standards. Although I felt a little awkward, I explained in greater detail why I don’t drink tea or coffee, and I was able to share some of my beliefs with her, including the Word of Wisdom.

That was a great experience, but similar situations didn’t always go as well.

Facing Temptation

As time went on, being surrounded by the normalcy of others drinking alcohol made it difficult for me to keep my standards. Going to pubs with clients and coworkers was a regular circumstance I would find myself in. I grew tired of having to explain myself when I turned down a drink, and sometimes I just wanted to fit in.

But beyond wanting to fit in, I wanted to be an example of a disciple of Jesus Christ, so I learned a few ways to help me resist temptation:

  1. I prayed for strength each morning to make good decisions.

  2. I often listened to conference talks or hymns on my way to work.

  3. I kept my favorite scripture taped to my bathroom mirror to read each day: “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things” (Alma 26:12).

  4. I enlisted the help of my closest coworkers, asking them to support me when others would offer me “just one drink.” They could tell when I was feeling uncomfortable and would kindly jump in and order me a “sparkling water on the rocks” to help me avoid feeling awkward during these gatherings.

  5. I worked with many other religious individuals who had similar morals. There were a few practicing Muslims whom I bonded with, and we often sat together during work functions so we could have strength in numbers. Surrounding myself with like-minded people who respected my standards helped me immensely (see Ecclesiastes 4:9–10).

  6. I strove to focus on my baptismal covenant to “always remember Him” (see Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79), which helped me feel the Spirit more abundantly. I had promised to follow God and be a disciple of Christ, and seeking to always remember the Savior helped me keep an eternal and infinite perspective in the most finite moments of temptation.

Remembering a Higher Purpose

But what has helped me most in resisting temptation is knowing that the Lord has a higher purpose for keeping all of His commandments, including the Word of Wisdom. And I know that remaining true to the commandments has always blessed my life in so many ways. (See Doctrine and Covenants 82:10.)

I’ve realized that the Word of Wisdom is more than just going without alcohol and other strong substances. Heavenly Father gave us this commandment to help us maintain good health and practice self-mastery, to protect us from potentially crippling addictions and other consequences, and to allow us to find greater wisdom and knowledge (see Doctrine and Covenants 89).

I’ve seen that when we demonstrate obedience to the simple things the Lord asks of us, our capacity and desire to keep all of His commandments grows, and we can learn to overcome even greater temptations and challenges (see 2 Nephi 28:30).

I know that Heavenly Father loves me and that through His strength and the Savior’s, I can overcome peer pressure and temptation. I always remember Alma 7:11–12, which explains how the Savior understands all we face—pains, afflictions, and even temptations. He knows how “to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

As I have relied on Jesus Christ to help me in my weaknesses, I have felt His strength enter my life, and I more fully see that He truly does understand us. And when we are faced with temptation, He is ready to help us see the bigger picture and choose well. All we need to do is turn to Him.