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Blog

10 Tools for Battling Temptation

By Mormon.org
man kneeling praying

Make the Choice Now

The first tool for battling temptation is preparation. Decide, here and now, what you will do when temptations arise (see Joshua 24:15).

Apostle Richard G. Scott said, “A decisive, correct choice made once and consistently kept thereafter will avoid much heartache. You then can use your energy in keeping your resolve rather than repeatedly wrestling with the same challenge.”

Avoid Temptation

Next, make a list of times, places, and situations that leave you vulnerable to temptation. Find ways to avoid these unsafe environments.

When President Gordon B. Hinckley was a young boy, the city health department would post notices on the homes of those in the neighborhood who were sick with diphtheria or smallpox. This taught him “to watch for signs of danger and evil and stay away.”  

When you feel tempted to make a wrong choice, follow Joseph’s example and flee (see Genesis 39:12).

Pray for Help

Prayer is one of the quickest ways to get help when you are tempted. We can pray anywhere, anytime, and the Lord will answer.

The Lord promises, “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).

As we prayerfully seek the Lord’s help to overcome temptation, He will come to our assistance.

Read the Scriptures

When you struggle with temptation, you can find strength—as Christ did—in the scriptures.

After Christ had fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, the devil tempted him, saying, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3).

Christ answered this temptation with a verse of scripture. He said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Listen to Uplifting Music

Each thought you have is like a play acted out on the stage of your mind. From time to time, that play may become derailed as unworthy thoughts take center stage. Music can be an emergency channel through which you replace immoral thoughts with wholesome ones.

“As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away,” said Apostle Boyd K. Packer. “For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.” 

Exercise

Exercise can be a great diversion from temptation, but more than that, establishing a regular pattern of exercise requires determination and self-discipline.

President Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle, taught, “Physical conditioning through regular exercise requires self-mastery too.”  

As you develop more control in one aspect of your life, it will increase in others as well.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

When we are struggling, one of the most difficult things to do is look outside of ourselves and our immediate circumstances. Keeping a gratitude journal will help you see how the Lord is blessing you despite your circumstances.

In his message “Recognize, Remember, and Give Thanks,” President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency encourages us to record blessings received throughout the day. He promises that if we do we will see the Lord’s hand in our lives in ways we had not noticed throughout the day.

Serve Others

When we serve others an unmistakable change occurs in our life. Our problems somehow seem smaller, and our ability to overcome challenges increases.

Elder Richard G. Scott said, “As you lose your life in the service of Father in Heaven’s children, Satan’s temptations lose power in your life.”

Look for Support

The people around you can be some of your greatest supporters in the battle against temptation.

Moroni 6:5 describes a group of people that met together often, “to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.” That’s the definition of a support group!

Surround yourself with people like this, who encourage and uplift you.

Find Strength in the Savior

Our ultimate source of strength against temptation is our Savior, Jesus Christ. As one who “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6), He knows every pain and temptation you experience and how to overcome each of them.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30).

Here are some additional suggestions for winning the fight against temptation.