22 December 2013

With faith, and prayer, and humility, and sources of strength from an eternal world, we are able to live unspotted in the midst of a world of temptation. -Howard W. Hunter

It's hard not to confuse the feelings of sin, and temptation, and guilt and normality. It's hard to determine whether the guilt you are feeling is good, and helpful, or unnecessary and ultimately damaging. What I have found is there are two kinds of guilt - and those two kinds of guilt come from two different sources.

Unfortunately, in mortality, we will be plagued by temptations; some addictive and destructive. If the Savior Himself was given temptations to deal with, how we could expect any differently makes no sense. Somewhere along the way I think some people have misconstrued the idea that temptation isn't good - in and of itself. Temptation isn't always good. Some desires are normal and needed and actually a very good thing, and then there are desires that are dark, and wrong, and sometimes, even evil. Again, each kind of desire come from two different sources. What we do with those desires, is our choosing of which source we will heed.

In our world, we are plagued with temptations and desires of just about every kind. Sins dealing with morality come by the dozens. Some are prone to addictive behaviors dealing with the word of wisdom. Temptations can come in all forms and every form: anger, depression, resentment, judging, and awareness, just to name a few. There is righteous, necessary judging, and then there is unqualified and unkind judging. There is healthy awareness of the evils around you, and then there is the constant and unrelenting and unproductive awareness of the evils around you. Again, our reaction to temptation is evidence of Who we render our loyalty to.

There is a balance: a balance that is hard to define, and frankly, I believe a balance that every mortal signed up for in the pre-mortal life. We don't necessarily define the balance... The Lord, thankfully, has defined most of it for us; however, our agency is a gift designed to make us choose. The most incredible part? We have a Father in Heaven Who, if we ask worthily and faithfully, with a meek spirit and with a lowly heart, will guide us and teach us exactly what that balance is. We won't always know - hence the Atonement. We won't always know - hence the free agency. We won't always know - hence the need for diligent and consistent righteousness. But ultimately, after we have proven ourselves, after long and diligent efforts, The Lord will make it easier for us. The line will become a little more clear. The balance will seem to weigh a little more easily. The testimony and strength we gain along with the way will ultimately, make it a whole lot easier as to which source we give power to.

Yes, temptation can be a weakness, or it can be a reminder. It can be an unnecessary and unwarranted feeling of guilt, or it can be a loving reminder from God, a God who lets us know we still need Him. We need direction. We need help. We cannot do this on our own. Temptation can be His gentle reminder of His love, His trust, and His faith in us. And I choose, to let it be a reminder of who I really am, who I can be, and hopefully, through His goodness and glory and grace, will become.