Overcoming temptation isn't easy, but always remember that God is on your side to help get you through it. Read this excerpt from Elder Russell M. Nelson's new book Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do for more.
In this world, each day is a day of decision. President Thomas S. Monson has taught us that “decisions determine destiny.” The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions that will affect our eternity.
As children of God, we should love Him with all our heart and soul, even more than we love our earthly parents. We should love our neighbors as brothers and sisters. No other commandments are greater than these. And we should ever revere the worth of human life, through each of its many stages.
Scriptures teach us that the body and the spirit are the soul of man. As a dual being, each of you can thank God for His priceless gifts of your body and your spirit.
With your body being such a vital part of God’s eternal plan, it is little wonder that the Apostle Paul described it as a “temple of God.” Each time you look in the mirror, see your body as a temple. That truth—refreshed gratefully each day—can positively influence your decisions about how you will care for your body and how you will use it. And those decisions will determine your destiny. How could this be? Because your body is a temple for your spirit. And how you use your body affects your spirit.
Your spirit is an eternal entity. The Lord said to His prophet Abraham: “Thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” The Lord said something similar about Jeremiah and many others. He even said it about you.
Your Heavenly Father has known you for a very long time. You, as His son or daughter, were chosen by Him to come to earth at this precise time, to be a leader in His great work on earth. You were chosen not for your bodily characteristics but for your spiritual attributes, such as bravery, courage, integrity of heart, a thirst for truth, a hunger for wisdom, and a desire to serve others.
You developed some of these attributes premortally. Others you can develop here on earth as you persistently seek them.
A pivotal spiritual attribute is that of self-mastery—the strength to place reason over appetite. Self-mastery builds a strong conscience. And your conscience determines your moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations. Fasting helps your spirit develop dominance over your physical appetites. Fasting also increases your access to heaven’s help, as it intensifies your prayers.
Why the need for self-mastery? God implanted strong appetites within us for nourishment and love, vital for the human family to be perpetuated. When we master our appetites within the bounds of God’s laws, we can enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy.
It is not surprising, then, that most temptations to stray from God’s plan of happiness come through the misuse of those essential, God-given appetites. Controlling our appetites is not always easy. Not one of us manages them perfectly. Mistakes happen. Errors are made. Sins are committed. What can we do then? We can learn from them. And we can truly repent.
We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He loves you! He allows you to access His power as you keep his commandments eagerly, earnestly, and exactly. It is that simple and certain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change!
The Lord’s way is the only way for us to experience enduring happiness. His way brings sustained comfort to our souls and perennial peace to our homes. And best of all, His way leads us home to Him and our Heavenly Father, to eternal life and exaltation. This is the very essence of God’s work and glory.
Yes, each day is a day of decision, and our decisions determine our destiny. One day each of us will stand before the Lord in judgment. We will each have a personal interview with Jesus Christ. We will account for decisions that we made about our bodies and our spiritual attributes. May we choose wisely each day’s decisions for eternity.
Get your own copy of Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do for more.