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Satan's devices

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Before the world was even contemplated, the Great Elohim called all of his children together in a great counsel. A deep silence hung over the conference as our great King explained the last event of our preexistence. Everybody knew it was going to happen, but until this time it was only a rumor. However at this grand meeting the rumors were becoming facts. The scriptures declare "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job38:4-7)

During this meeting we were explained all the blessings connected with the creation. The problem begun when the Father explained the topic of free agency. At this point a child of God, know as Lucifer -- meaning "son of the morning" -- gave his personal proposal. "And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying--Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." (Moses 4:1).

It seemed like a good proposal. According to Lucifer's idea everyone would receive an exalted glory, and not one person would be lost. However, this violated one of God's main goal for us, which was: "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;" (Abraham 3:25). Furthermore, we know that "the glory of God it is the intelligence" (D&C ). But how is it possible to develop intelligence without the free agency?

We also know that "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrew 11:6 ) We know that faith is the power behind the priesthood of God and the priesthood is the creating force of the universe. But without free agency there can't be any faith. Surely our Father explained all these simple and basic principles to us.

Lucifer spake again saying that our Father's plan was too risky because many spirits would fail to achieve this goal. He then reiterated that his plan was much better. But Jehovah, the Firstborn, came forward. " But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me--Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." (Moses 4:2).

Our Father rejected Lucifer's plan and chose Jehovah to be in charge of carrying out His plan. That's when things began to get heated "Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down" (Moses 4:3). "And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him."(Abraham 3:28). "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels... And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." (Revelation 12:7.13).

But if God has a plan to save man, surely the Devil has a plan to destroy man. Neither God nor Satan can take away our free agency, but, even so, they both try to lead us in the direction they want us to go. Therefore, it's up to us to decide which voice to obey, but in the end, the final decision is ours. Thus we see that both God and Satan have rules and limits which they must respect.

If that is so, then it becomes important to understand the process by which we make our own decision.

Many people compare the human brain to a computer, but this is not an entirely correct analogy because dispite similarities there are major differences between the two. The computer analyzes data in an impersonal way and then gives us a mathematically arrived answer. The mind, on the other hand, processes data from a personal and emotional standpoint and it's answer is further influenced by the body's senses and other factors both internal and external. The mind is a living organism while the computer is completely inanimate with no ability to experience emotion.

However, having said that, there are similarities between the two of them. The computer needs to categorize everything into files. Without doing this the computer doesn't know how to retrieve and use information. In other words, it would be blind and dumb. In order for the mind to properly function, it needs to file and categorize the input it receives from the five senses -- i.e., sight, sound, hearing, tasting, and feeling. This is then combined with other bodily senses such as fear, cold, sexual and physical hungry, etc.

The scriptures make clear that because of our free agency man is the owner of his own, personal destiny. The Book of Mormon states, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.... And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given... Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom"(2 Nephi 2:11,26,27-29).

"But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore, he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God" (Mosiah 16:5).

In the book of Alma 7:12 there is an explanation why Jesus can help us in our problems "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh,

that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

It is my firm believe that Satan's ultimate goal is to corrupt our heart, but to do this he first seeks to influence our mind as a way to get to our heart. The heart is the center of our desires, but the mind is the place of temptation. The scriptures make clear that is is out of the thoughts of the heart that the Lord will judge us, but the heart can't think. In fact it was Jesus who said "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21).

There is an intimate relationship between the heart and the mind. The mind receives information, it thinks about it and together with the heart it makes the final decision. The cold, unfeeling decision comes from the mind, while the emotional, passionate decision comes from the heart. The mind knows the difference between good and evil, but the desires of the heart play an important part in any decision we make. We know that Satan doesn't have the ability to know our thoughts, but he does figure out what we are thinking by observing our actions, reactions, and the words we speak. Therefore he knows how and when to influence us when we are not firm in what we want to do.

Here some simple examples: In the garden of Eden, Eve saw that the fruit was desirable, so Satan used that desire to influence her mind. The way Satan saw David watching Bethsabea told him that it would be easy to influence his mind to commit an adulterous act. It's true that it's much easier for Satan to lead people into undesirable situations when that person has a desire to do that which is wrong, but let's take the opposite situation and see how Satan operates. In Genesis 39:7-12 we read "And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out."

In this example we see both kinds of situations. Because of her heart's desire for Joseph, it was easy for Potopher's wife to listen to Satan's voice. And Satan knew what to say to her because he could observe what her wishes were. On the other hand, Joseph preferred to listen the Lord's voice and that was because of the desires of his heart. I'm sure that the woman was very beautiful. Not only that but she was the wife of a powerful man who could assist Joseph in escaping from slavery or even from Egypt. There was tremendous pressure on Joseph to do the wrong thing, but he made a conscious decision with his mind to overcome the natural desires of his body.

The fact that there was temptation is not a sin. This is normal. There is nothing wrong in being tempted. Sin happens when the heart begins to have an impure desire within itself. When that happens, then the heart fails to give the proper imput to the mind that what it is thinking is wrong. Usually the thought about sin is strongly connected to a carnal desire. Although the mind knows it is wrong because of it's knowledge of good and evil, yet, to satisfy the pleasure of the body, both the heart and the mind make the wrong decision for a vain moment.

The Bible tells us, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). The Lord told the very first sinner, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him" (Genesis 4:7). This is the secret. self control!!!!!!

Did Easu have self control? He gave up his birthright because of a simple wish for food. In a moment of hunger he gave away the most important thing of his life. The natural man is an enemy of God, because it is like an animal. To become a saint we need to cast away our carnal nature and become like Christ. This is the way to defeat temptation. It's called self control.

With that understanding, let's take a closer look at the commandments and why they were given to us. The first and the most important reason for having commandments is to inform us of what is right and wrong. That way man can't say that he didn't know. Some people want us to believe that the commandments are out of date and are no longer relevant to our life, but that is only wishful thinking on their part. Every one of them are part of the golden rule. Of course, everyone likes these rules when they apply to themselves. The problem comes when we have to apply to the others.

The second function of the commandments is to help to us develop our personal self control.

What we mean by "self control" is the total dominion of ourselves in every circumstances. For example, the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses were the basic rules people needed to live peacefully together. In fact, these very rules have been adopted as the law by just about every nation in the world. But to live each of these commandments man needs to exercise self control. If he does that then they are not so difficult to be keep.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about self control. The Gospel is designed to discipline our feelings and emotions, and anyone who lives those teachings is son of God because we are living according to His personal standards. The Gospel introduced the total dominion not only of our basic senses, but all of our passions as well. With only the law, mankind had to respect God and his fellow man, but with the Gospel mankind has to have respect for the spiritual things of God and man. This is why Jesus taught "You will know the truth and the truth will do free" When Jesus made that comment, the Ten Commandments were already known. But the truth Jesus was talking about would make man free by elevating his spiritual soul above the natural inclinations of the body. It is by adhering to this knowledge that mankind can again become a son of God instead of remaining as a son of man. It takes living according to God's standards, rather than to the standards of mankind.

Paul explained this to the Romans. He wrote, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin" (Romans 7:7-25).

Going forward in the next chapter Paul explained another important thing. "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him], that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:12-17).

For the Jews, the law was sometimes like a burden. Although they kept it, it was more like a tradition. For many of them, they kept it out of fear for God, but not for the right reason. The Gospel is built on the principle of joy and it should be kept with joy. It should not be a burden to us and we shouldn't keep it just because somebody taught it to us. A sure way to know who the true followers of Jesus are is by the way they handle the trials of life. These trials are necessary. It is easy to say: "I love everybody," or "I forgive everybody." The problem arises when we have to show we mean what we say by the deeds we do.

How can we overcome these trials in our life? Probably Peter was thinking about this when he made this important declaration in 1 Peter 2:9-11 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

Let me illustrate this with two stories. Once a farmer found an egg. He could tell it was not an chicken's egg because it was too big yet he place it among the other eggs in the chicken coop. After awhile the egg hatched and a bird was born. The farmer kept the bird with the chickens and after several months a naturalist passed by. Seeing the bird, he asked the farmer, "Why do you have an eagle in the middle of your chickens, eating their food and acting like them?" The farmer explained how he didn't know that's what the bird was. The naturalist asked if he could take the eagle back to its natural environment and the farmer consented.

The naturalist brought the bird to the top of the mountains and when he had found the right spot, he lifted up the eagle so it could feel the air going under its wings. The naturalist pointed the bird toward the sun and left it to fly. The first impulse of the eagle was go back where it had been raised, but the more it stayed in the air the more it like the feel of the wind and the fresh air. The bird have found its natural habitat and was happy. arcobaleno

This is what Christ did for mankind. He is the greatest naturalist. He has given mankind back their natural, regal dignity to again be a son of God. To behave like a chicken is good only if you are a chicken. Everyone has to fulfill the measure of their creation. We are not brute animals. We are sons and daughters of God! For an eagle to live like a chicken is not only useless but is ridiculous. There is no sense in doing that. Many people behave like chickens only because they don't know they are eagles. But, after the naturalist has shown them the truth about themselves, and they still go back to living with the chickens, they will never know the joy of being an eagle.

Everyone of us has his own personal weakness which makes certain commandments hard for us to keep. The next story illustrates what kind of self control we need to be accepted from the Lord. Here in Arizona we have a method of determining which are the best horses. This is a tradition that has come down through the centuries. There are many qualities that make a good horse, but the most important quality is obedience. To prove whether a horse has this quality, the sellers tie the horse to a post for three days without any food or water. On the third day, which is the day of the selling, they bring the horses near a river and let them go free. When the horse gets a scent of the water they start to run toward the river.

When the horse is just about at the river, the owners whistles for the horse. The whistle means that the horse's owner is calling him back. The natural instinct of the horse is to ignore the whistle and continue heading for the water. There's no doubt that the choice isn't an easy one. In fact many horses don't heed the call of their master, but only the best do. However, the horses that do come back are considered more valuable than all the others and are purchased at a much higher price.

The Lord whistles every hour of our life and he will reward the best ones. As the scriptures state, "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them" (Abraham 3:25). " Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

The great secret to self control can be found in the words of Paul when he wrote, "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

But how does Satan try to lead us astray? To understand this we need to understand the very first principle of the gospel which is "faith in the Lord Jesus." Faith is a great source of power. Without it Jesus Himself could not do anything. (To learn more about his subject, read my articles entitled "Faith and Works" and "Faith and Free Agency.") To have faith in ourselves is the basis for our own personal growth. Therefore, Satan's greatest tool for destroying us is to destroy our faith. This is the way Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Three times he started his temptation with the words, "If You are the son of God...." That little word "if" was designed to place doubt in Christ's faith in Himself and thereby destroy His personal self-confidence, as though to say, "maybe you're not who are you think you are."

Satan does the same thing with us. If he is able to put doubt in our mind to discourage us or to lose faith in ourselves and in what we are doing, then he will have achieved a great personal victory over us. Consider the faith that Joshua had: "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land,which I sware unto their fathers to give them.Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:5-9).

Faith is the opposite of discouragement In fact, faith and discouragement cannot exist together. So, if faith is the first principle of the Gospel, it would only make sense that the first principle of the Adversary is discouragement. Consider what Nephi wrote in the Book of Mormon: "Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep. He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh. He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.

"Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me. And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them. O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

"And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul. Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation. O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

"May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road! O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way--but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy. O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm" (2 Nephi 4:17-34).

If our mind is like a personal computer, and if the Devil is able to insert the virus of discouragement, then our computer will give us the wrong results, and, consequently, we will make wrong decisions. We must remember that "without faith it is impossible to please Him." Discouragement is like poison for the mind because it kills faith. Satan tries to administer this kind of poison to our minds everyday. However, he doesn't do it openly. He does his best work in the dark, where we don't see what he's doing. But if he can inject doubt and discouragement into our mind, then the power of salvation becomes weak in us and so does the power of the priesthood, which is the power to work miracles or receive them.

How does Satan do this to us. There is a story about how to cook frogs. If you put them in boiling water, they will only jump out. However, if you put them in cold water, they will feel comfortable and remain there. Then if you slowly heat up the water, they never notice that the water is getting warmer. By the time the water is boiling, they have been cooked enough that they can't jump out. Satan uses the same principle with us.

Then there is the story of the two frogs who fell into a big container of milk. They both tried to jump out but neither one could do it. Finally, one frog gave up, saying that it was useless to try any more. After awhile, he sunk below the milk and died. However the other frog kept trying and trying. In fact, he tried so hard that eventually his kicking feet had stirred up the milk so much that it turned into butter. When that happened, he had some thing solid to stand on and was able to jump out to freedom. The moral of the story is, when we don't become discouraged, it's amazing the things that we can do.

The second principle of the Gospel is repentance and discouragement is Satan's plan to destroy this principle. Satan tries to make us think we can't possibly repent because we sin too often or because our sins are too big, or that the patience of God has a limit. When we strive to be perfect as the scriptures counsel us, Satan tells us that it's impossible. However, in order to be perfect, we have to repent, so Satan prevents us from becoming perfect but discouraging us from repenting.

How you noticed that Satan doesn't get discouraged? But he seeks to discourage us. However, there have been some who have not succumb to Satan's influence, people like Enoc, Noah, Abraham, Moses and many others. But how did they There are several important principles that will help us gain this kind of quality. The first is prayer which gives us guidance and knowledge of what to do in every situation. The second is scripture's study which will help strengthen our spirits. The third is to fast so we exercise control over the appetites of our body. The fourth is keeping the commandments which will strengthen our self control so that we can receive blessings. And when we receive blessings our faith grows. As the scriptures state, "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (D&C 130:20-21). "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise" (D&C 82:10).

Faith is the courage to do what the mind doesn't believe but what the heart desires. Once when I was in a real trouble I prayed to God with all my heart. A voice came to my mind which said "The more faith you have the more power you give me to help you." I know that this principle is true because God Himself has taught me. The more discouraged we are the more power we give to the enemy of mankind. "And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom" (2 nephi 2:29).

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:49  

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