“Questions & Answers: Resisting Temptation,” New Era, Dec. 2013, 42–43
Strange as it sounds, temptation is necessary for our spiritual growth. If we weren’t tempted, we wouldn’t be able to choose between good and evil (see D&C 29:39). And if we couldn’t choose good when offered an alternative, we couldn’t grow spiritually (see 2 Nephi 2:11–30).
One key to resisting temptation is consistent obedience. If you give in sometimes, the temptation is harder to resist in the future. If you resist consistently, you get stronger and it is easier to resist in the future. Much of the strength to resist comes from the Savior’s Atonement working in your life. As you do your best to learn the Savior’s teachings and follow them, the Lord strengthens you to withstand temptation.
The scriptures teach other ways to resist temptation:
“Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan” (D&C 10:5).
“Whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them” (1 Nephi 15:24).
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:7–8).
Also, it’s important to know that it’s not wrong to be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). You can look to His example—and the examples of many others in the scriptures—to help you.
To withstand temptation, we first need the will and the sincere desire to choose the right. It helps me a lot if I imagine a situation in advance and then choose the right. Another thing that helps me is prayer. If we will pray for strength, seek out spiritual nourishment, and choose carefully where we hang out, then the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion to be with us and to warn us.
Esther G., 18, Lower Saxony, Germany
I think that by reading the scriptures daily, praying, exercising self-control, and following the words of the prophet, we can resist temptation. Resisting temptation strengthens your faith and shows your commitment to Heavenly Father to keep the covenants you have made. Having friends in the Church can also help us because we can support each other. It takes a lot of courage to say no. Remember, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). When we overcome temptation, we draw nearer to Jesus Christ and to our Heavenly Father.
Nancy S., 19, Tultitlán, Mexico
In high school, most of my classmates invited me to drink alcohol and watch pornography. I always said no because I do what the Savior wants me to do. I remember Him and keep my covenants. Sometimes my friends and classmates do not tempt me because they already know what my religion is. Sharing our beliefs and testimony with others—especially with friends, classmates, neighbors, and family—will lessen the temptation in our surroundings. I know that by living the gospel, we can overcome the temptations in our lives.
Romeo P., 19, Negros Occidental, Philippines
I have found that when temptation comes, the Holy Ghost tries to warn me to choose the right. Do things—like praying and reading your scriptures—that keep the Spirit with you and avoid places where the Holy Ghost can’t come.
Rachel O., 13, Pennsylvania, USA
My older brother always tells me to “stand in holy places.” I found that this means to stand where temptations are less present or less severe. My stake president said, “Don’t just resist temptation—avoid temptation.” There will be times when you have to resist temptations, but it becomes easier to live the gospel when temptations are not there to tempt you.
Aaron L., 18, Utah, USA
The gift of the Holy Ghost helps us tell the difference between good and bad and helps us realize when we are being tempted. We should remember that temptations are tests that help us know when we do right and when we don’t; and we should know that if we follow the Lord, He won’t allow us to be tempted more than we can withstand (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). We always get to decide whether to choose the right road instead of the wrong one.
Juan T., 19, Montevideo, Uruguay
I think it’s important to make up my mind ahead of time about choices I will be faced with. I was unexpectedly faced with a tricky situation, and the outcome was positive because I had already made up my mind that I would not back down from my standards. Even though I am sometimes uncomfortable, my family practices role-playing so I know what to say or do when faced with temptations.
Emelyne P., 14, Wyoming, USA
Having good friends who choose the right is something you can do to resist temptation. They set a good example. You can call them if you are tempted. They will help you choose the right. Good friends can remind you to pray, read the scriptures, and obey.
Sam E., 17, Washington, USA