Sunday, April 17, 2016


Discernment is a great attribute to have. The ability to make a clear headed decision is one that is lacking in society today! There is a scripture in The Book of Mormon that illustrates how important decisions in our life can be.
It is in 2 Nephi 2:27

 27 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.

This scripture puts the cards on the table quite candidly. The prophet who is speaking (Lehi) says that many key choices we make lead us into following one of two paths: Captivity & death through the adversary's decisions or liberty and eternal life through Christ's admonitions! 

We will all be tempted, it is just a fact of life. Even Christ himself was tempted! In Matthew we read the story of his temptation...

 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Christ's temptations at first glance are not extremely relateable. I admit, I have never had the inclination to make stones into bread, nor jump off of the temple...However when you take a second look you will realize there are some great lessons we can learn from this. 
The first temptation was physical. Christ had been fasting for 40 days when Satan tried to get him to make stones into bread! I can barely fast for 40 minutes without getting hungry! Obviously we all have physical temptations in this life. Some might feel inclined to commit adultery, some people are lost in the cesspool of addiction, not seeing a way out. Christ proclaims that his Father operates on a higher plane. Through the word of God and through prayer, he overcame this first temptation, and we can too!
When Satan tried to tempt Jesus to jump off of the temple, he was trying to play of Christ's emotional needs. He said that if he were to cast himself off of the temple that sisnce God loved him so much he would send his angels to catch Jesus and he would see how much he was loved. I can 100% relate to the emotional temptation Jesus felt. All of us will feel inadequate or abandoned at some point in our lives. I know especially on your mission it gets really lonely and you feel isolated from your loved ones & friends who you want to see everyday! Who can say that they haven't ever felt lonely before?
The last one was a social temptation. C'mon who doesn't want to be king of the world? Since Jesus was perfect he would have been a perfect king and everyone would have loved him. I think everyone from age 5 to 500 wishes they could be a celebrity. Jesus knew he was going to have a VERY tough life. When Satan showed him all of the kingdoms of the world, he was offering him an "easy way out" or a cushy easy life instead of the tough job he had  before him. 
All of us will have one if not all three of these types of temptations throughout our existence here on earth. The key to helping make these decisions is discerning where they come from. Because let's be honest when we re tempted normally Satan in the disguise of the witch from snow white doesn't come out of our closet at night and exhort us in a raspy voice "cheeeeeat on your tesssst tomorrow" and cackle as he rides away on a broom... If that's the way it was then I am pretty sure we all wouldn't cheat on the test the next day!! However many of the temptations we face sound a lot more like us than the wicked witch of the west. 
There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that helps us judge and discern our thoughts and inclinations. It is found in the Book of Moroni in chapter 7
11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
 12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
 13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
In our lives we will have to discern a lot of voices. It is important to hear your coach tell you NOT to blitz. It is important to understand what your girlfriend means when she says she is "ok". You need to know when your mom isn't messing around. But most of all we need to recognize and understand the voice of the Lord. If we hear and recognize his voice we will be able to overcome all of our challenges and temptations we face in this mortal life.  
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. (Alma 5:38)
Elder Clancy

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