“Once we reach the age of accountability, trials and temptations are universal. Sometimes they can become heavy burdens, but they also give us strength and growth as we successfully overcome them” (Hugo Montoya “Tested and Tempted—but Helped” Ensign or Liahona November 2015).
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3).
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Have your family read James 1:2 and then ask:
Is there anything that seems strange about this verse? How does the Joseph Smith Translation change this verse? (See footnote 2a.) How is it still strange even with the Joseph Smith Translation? In what ways might a person “count it joy” because he/she has “many afflictions”? (James 1:3–4.)
Have a family member read James 1:12 and then ask:
What does James say is an additional affliction? What happens to you, and to the temptation, the more you resist it? What is the source of most temptation? What are the consequences of giving in to temptation? How can afflictions and temptations bless us?
Share the following insight from Rulon G. Craven: “Temptation is a necessary part of our earthly experience. The Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith explains the reason why we are tempted: ‘It must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet’ (D&C 29:39). . . .
“As eternal beings living this earthly experience, we will not be free from temptation. Temptation implies an inner struggle to do that which is right. . . .
“Elder George Q. Cannon said: ‘Unless they [individuals] were exposed to temptation they never could know themselves, their own powers, their own weaknesses nor the power of God. If Satan had no power to tempt mankind, they would be in a state where they could neither know good nor evil; they could not know happiness nor misery’ . . .
“Through obedience to gospel principles, the enticements of the world lessen in our lives. With each right choice we make, we spiritually empower ourselves. The accumulation of right choices builds inner spiritual strength and divine character. We should expect temptation, for without temptations there would be little education and little character improvement” (Ensign, May 1996, 76–77). Now ask your family:
How can temptation be a blessing to us? When is temptation not a blessing? What must we do so that temptation will help us grow rather than bring us to misery?
Conclude with the promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13, and your testimony of this principle.
(Adapted from: Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The New Testament, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006])
Read the following story and think about a time you resisted temptation.
When the bell rang at the end of class, Brian turned around in his desk. “Hey, Chris, have you seen the ads for the latest video game?” Chris grinned. “Yes, it looks awesome!” “Do you have it?” Brian asked. Chris shook his head. “It’ll take me forever to save enough money. But I wish I could play it right now!” Chris really wanted the new video game. His mom had seen the game and said it was okay for him to get, but he had to buy it himself. But he knew it would be months before he could afford it. “Guess what?” Brian said. “I got it yesterday!” Chris’s jaw dropped. “No way!” Brian nodded. “Do you want to come over tomorrow and play it?” Chris nearly jumped out of his chair. “Sure I do! That’d be great!” As soon as Chris got to Brian’s house the next day, they settled in front of the TV. Chris couldn’t stop smiling as he earned points and advanced level after level. But after a while, Brian put down his controls. “Let’s go outside,” he said. Chris reluctantly put down his own controls and followed Brian out the back door. They played tag and then hide-and-seek. Chris was hiding behind some bushes when he realized that Brian was taking a long time to find him. “Where is he?” Chris thought. Chris left his hiding place. After a minute, he smelled smoke. Was something burning? He followed the smell around the corner of the house and stopped in his tracks. Brian stood in front of him, smoking a cigarette. Brian smiled and held out a cigarette toward Chris. “Here. It’s fun,” Brian said. Chris stared at the cigarette. “No,” he said. Brian puffed on his cigarette. “Tell you what,” he said. “If you smoke with me, we’ll go back in and play the game some more.” Chris felt like time had slowed down. He thought about how much he wanted to play the game and then he thought about the long months it would take him to save his money for his own copy. But then Chris thought about the cigarette and what it would mean to smoke it. He thought about the promise he had made to the Lord to never smoke. Chris stood up straight. “No. I won’t do it for anything.” Brian looked stunned. But Chris turned away and walked home. When he got there, he sat down on the sidewalk in front of his house. He felt a little sad, but he was proud that he had the strength to make the right choice.
(Chris Deaver “The Strength to Choose” April 2010 Friend)