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Temptations and Trials

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Life is a time of struggles, trials, and temptations as well as a time to prepare ourselves to meet God by being tested. Temptations come in all forms but they are not of God. Experiencing temptation isn't a sin but we must be careful not to put ourselves above being tempted. Having a humble attitude will help us recognize our weaknesses and seek help in overcoming temptation.

Preparation to Be with God:

This life is a time to prepare ourselves to be with God. When the great plan of happiness, and the creation of the world, was presented to us in the pre-existence Christ said:
"We will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (Abraham 3:24-25.)
Mortality, our time on earth, is the time we have been given to choose between: good and evil, right and wrong, God and Satan- the devil.

Test of Obedience:

Life's temptations and trials test our worthiness, our faith in Christ, and our obedience to God's commandments. Trials and making choices between good and evil are necessary to God's plan. The prophet Lehi from the Book of Mormon taught the following to his children:
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other" (2 Nephi 2:16.)

Temptations Not of God:

But temptation does not come from God, as James explains in his epistle:
"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" (James 1:13-14.)

Temptation Not a Sin:

Being tempted is not a sin. Christ himself was tempted of Satan. The sin comes if we succumb to that temptation, falling into "the captivity and power of the devil" (2 Nephi 2:27.) Throughout our lives we must turn to our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, for help in overcoming difficult trials and temptations.

Not Above Temptation:

No one is above temptation. One of Satan's many tools is to deceive us into believing that we are safe- strong enough to withstand temptation on our own. President James E. Faust warns against putting ourselves above temptation:
"One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation. They delude themselves into thinking, 'It cannot happen to me....' Some people think their age and experience make them better able to withstand temptation. This is a falsehood" ("It Can't Happen To Me," Ensign, May 2002, 46-47.)

Recognize Weaknesses:

To overcome trials and temptations we must recognize our weaknesses and take full responsibility for our actions:
"When we place blame for our actions on others, or circumstances that we find ourselves in, we can never gain the strength to change. Some have a tendency to rationalize their behavior or to make excuses." (L. Lionel Kendrick, "Strength During Struggles," Ensign, Oct. 2001, 24).

A Humble Attitude:

Trials do not make us humble; our attitude toward them does. If we choose not to be humble we will only draw further away from our Savior. Sometimes "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea he trieth their patience and their faith" (Mosiah 23:21.) At times we may feel that our trials would be easier or our temptations would be less if the Lord would bless us with heavenly miracles or signs and wonders. We should pay heed to the words of President James E. Faust when he said:
"Seeing an angel would be a great experience, but it is far greater to come to a knowledge of the divinity of the Savior through faith and the witness of the Spirit" ("It Can't Happen To Me," Ensign, May 2002, 48.)
Although life is full of struggles, trials, and temptations, we are not alone. We can turn to our Heavenly Father, Jesus, the scriptures, our family and friends, and other resources such as books, church/community leaders, and online information for help. There's a wonderful book called, "Putting on the Armor of God: How to Win Your Battles with Satan," by Steven A. Cramer, which exposes Satan's lies and can help strengthen us against temptations.

Also see the related articles, "Trials of Our Faith," and "Suffering is Necessary."

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