Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To not be seduced by devils or men

But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils. (D&C 46:7)

We don’t want to be seduced by doctrines of men or devils. This verse provides a number of keys by which we can prevent ourselves from being seduced:

--Ask of God and do what the Spirit testifies, with holiness of heart

--Walk uprightly before God

--Consider the end of your salvation

--Do all things with prayer

--Do all things with thanksgiving

How will these things protect us?

Doing what the Spirit testifies, with holiness of heart requires us to trust the Lord. It builds our faith. Doctrines of men or devils don’t build faith in God, so when we follow the Spirit, we escape being ensnared with unbelieving doctrines.

Walking uprightly before God requires us to be honest with ourselves about what is right and what is not. It builds our strength to keep the commandments even with opposition. It helps us see things as they really are. Doctrines of men and devils will tend to obscure or reverse notions of what is good and evil, and suggests that we do what is expedient in the moment because of opposition. When we walk uprightly helps us escape those pernicious doctrines.

Considering the end of our salvation helps us keep in perspective the greatness of the goal we are striving for and helps us realize that no sacrifice to that end goes unrewarded. It inspires us to give our best efforts. On the other hand, doctrines of men and devils would teach that certain sacrifices are too great to make, and that all we can look forward to is what we can get for ourselves in this life, and after that comes endless oblivion. Considering the end of our salvation helps us resist and escape the nihilism of the world.

Doing all things with prayer helps us tap into the guidance from God that we need, especially when we are faced with temptation. It helps us stay in communication with our Father in heaven. It helps us remember that He is aware of us and knows us. Doctrines of men and devils would teach us there is no point in prayer, that our prayers will not be heard, that we are unworthy to pray, or that prayer doesn’t work at all. Doing all things with prayer keeps us familiar with that important lifeline that we have.

Doing all things with thanksgiving helps us keep in mind all the great things the Lord has done for us. It encourages us to have reverence for God’s power and fills us with love that makes our obedience to Him easy. It helps us bear our difficulties when we can notice the tender mercies the Lord brings into our lives to help us. Doctrines of men and devils would teach us that we are always getting the raw end of any deal, that things should have been better, that we are entitled to better, and that God is making us suffer for no reason while other people have it easy. Doing things with thanksgiving helps us rejoice even in the middle of affliction.

Somehow these things are really resonating with me right now because of some extra responsibilities I’ve been given that I haven’t been so excited about. I’ve felt like I am at a crossroads somehow where I could choose between being annoyed about it or adjusting to it. Studying this verse has showed me that there are things I can do to keep being dragged down by seducing doctrines that would make it harder for me to adjust.


billspace09-google said...

Verses 8-9 continue the thought, and add two more ways to avoid deception and seduction:
Seek earnestly the best gifts.
Remember that gifts are given to benefit those who love God, and not to aggrandize the gift holder.

Michaela Stephens said...

Good point, remembering spiritual gifts are to help us and not for spiritual aggrandizement helps keep us from being deceived because then we won't idolize someone just because they manifest a spiritual gift, and we'll be able to access spiritual gifts ourselves to serve others. It is also a reminder that manifesting a spiritual gift doesn't give us license to lord over others.

Chris said...

Along this same lines, I like Moroni 7:13,16 which helps us to know how to make a decision about something being from God or not. I especially like verse 16 with its relationship to the sacramental covenant that we make with our Heavenly Father each week.

It is also vital that we examine the voices we hear in our thoughts. Which are from the Spirit? Which are ours? Which are from the opposition? Once we learn how to identify them, we can avoid being seduced by devils or men.