I came across these thoughts this morning in my early study of 3Ne…they serve to give me greater perspective and insight – not new concepts, but deeper and more insightful meaning.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “Surely it should give us more pause than it does to think of how casually we sometimes give to [Satan] who could not control his own ego in the premortal world such awful control over our egos here. We often let the adversary do indirectly now what we refused to let him do directly then.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard: “In the premortal world before we left the presence of Heavenly Father, He warned and cautioned us about new experiences we would have in mortality. We knew that we each would have a physical body of flesh and bone. Never having been mortal before we had no experience dealing with the temptations of mortality. But Heavenly Father knew and understood. He charged us to control our mortal bodies and to make them subject to our spirits. Our spirits would have to master the physical temptations that our bodies would encounter in a temporal world. Spiritual power over the influence of Satan comes to us by keeping the commandments of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
“Satan will seek tempt us at times and in ways that exploit our greatest weaknesses or destroy our strengths. But his promises of pleasure are short-lived deceptions. His evil design is to tempt us into sinning, knowing that when we sin we separate ourselves from our Heavenly Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ. We begin to move away from Heavenly Father’s promised blessings toward the misery and anguish in which Satan and his followers languish. By sinning, we put ourselves in Satan’s power.
“…I understand the struggles you face every day in keeping the commandments of the Lord. The battle for your souls is increasingly fierce. The adversary is strong and cunning. However, you have within your physical body the powerful spirit of a son or daughter of God…If you will pay more attention to your spiritual self, which is eternal, than to your mortal self, which is temporary, you can always resist the temptations of Satan and conquer his efforts to take you into his power.”
Elder Richard G. Scott: “Each of us has observed how some individuals go through life consistently doing the right things… When difficult choices are to be made, they seem to invariably make the right ones, even though there were enticing alternatives available to them…Likewise, we have observed how others are not so valiant in the decisions they make. In a powerfully spiritual environment, they resolve to do better…Yet they are soon back doing the same things they resolved to abandon.”
“Some times the word converted is used to describe when a sincere individual decides to be baptized. However…conversion means far more than that…President Marion G. Romney explained conversion “…Converted implies not merely mental acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in him and his gospel. A faith which works a transformation, an actual change in one’s understanding of life’s meaning and in his allegiance to God in interest, in thought, and in conduct.
“In one who is really wholly converted, desire for things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died. And substituted therefore is a love of God, with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments.” (Me: this does not mean you are perfect, or that you are not capable of being tempted by pleasures of the flesh – but rather that your heart desires to WANT God’s will MORE than your own desires, and love Him enough to make that your daily prayer and effort of faith).
“Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and responding to it.” (Me: I would add, it comes by seeking the word of God, and doing so primarily through immersing yourself daily, in some degree, into the scriptures – you simply cannot do that, and not have a change occur within you.) “You will receive from the Holy Ghost a confirming witness of things you accept on faith by willingly doing them [See Either 12:6]. You will be led to repent of errors resulting from wrong things done or right things not done. As a consequence, your capacity to consistently obey will be strengthened. This cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience will lead you to greater conversion with its attendant blessings.”