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Throughout His ministry, the Savior constantly encouraged His disciples to look outside themselves and do more than was expected. His counsel was to magnify their lives while at the same time avoiding sin. He knew that our eternal progression hinges on our attitude toward the Lord and to others.
"Be ye therefore perfect," He declared, "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
The struggle for perfection whether in achievement of a goal or completeness in the gospel seems a daunting task. However, the Lord assured us that by obeying His commandments and increasing our spirituality, we, too, can attain eternal life and a perfect existence with Him and Heavenly Father.
Our task is to avoid temptation and put off "the natural man" and look beyond our own selves and become the best we can be.
The booklet, "True to the Faith," provides several steps we can follow to help us in our journey.
It reminds us we can defeat Satan through the gift of agency, by choosing good over evil (see pages 174-176). We can "humble (ourselves) before the Lord, and call on His holy name, and watch and pray continually that (we) may not be tempted above that which (we) can bear" (Alma 13:28). Heavenly Father will strengthen us as we withstand temptation. Here are other things we can do:
Center our lives on the Savior. The prophet Helaman counseled his sons, "Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation, that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you" (Helaman 5:12).
Pray for strength. When the resurrected Savior visited the Nephites, He said, "Ye must watch and pray always, lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Therefore, ye must always pray unto the Father in my name (3 Nephi 18:18-19).
Study the scriptures daily. As we study gospel truths and apply them in our lives, the Lord will bless us. Nephi taught, "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 unto blindness to lead them away to destruction (1 Nephi 15:34; also Helaman 3:29-30).
Fill our lives with goodness. We have so much good to choose from that we do not need to partake of evil. When we fill our lives with goodness, we leave no room for anything else.
Avoid tempting places and situations. We cannot avoid temptation completely, but we can avoid places or situations where we are likely to be tempted. We can also avoid inappropriate material in magazines, books, television, movies and music and on the Internet.
Strive to influence others for good. As latter-day disciples of Jesus Christ, we can be in the world but "not of the world." In addition to avoiding temptation ourselves, we can influence others to live good and wholesome lives. We can set a righteous example, be good friends, participate in community service, and, as appropriate, let our voices be heard in defense of moral values.
Never hesitate in your decisions to withstand temptation. Strive to follow the example of the Savior, who "suffered temptations but gave no heed to them" (Doctrine and Covenants 20:22). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the Lord never wavered. His answer was quick and firm: "Get thee behind me, Satan" (Luke 4:8). Through our righteous thoughts, words and actions, we can answer the temptations of the adversary with the same conviction. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:7-8).
By living the commandments, looking for the good, avoiding evil and inappropriate places, we can complete our journey and enjoy the eternal blessings promised by the Lord.