Tuesday morning devotion: Choose liberty or captivity

 

 

We are free to choose according to whether or not we want to experience liberty or to fall captive and be enslaved to our lusts and desires.

Satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things – he tempts us to make us lose {our} value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devilMy Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

 

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. 2 Nephi 2:27

 

For we do  not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15, NASB

 

Temptation is part of our mortal existence. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers discusses the nature of how Christ faced temptation without losing possession of His spiritual nature and that of how we face our own temptations. This, of course, is based on the passage Hebrews 4:15. As Latter-day Saint Christians, how are we doing when we face temptation? Are we choosing liberty and eternal life or are we choosing captivity and bondage?

 

One of the most profound doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that of human moral agency. As Lehi taught in his last days on the earth, we have the ability to choose for ourselves how we live our life: Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. The choice is ours to make. It is either liberty or captivity. It is either freedom or bondage. There is no middle ground. In addition, along with our moral agency, we are morally held accountable for those things we choose to think and act upon. Our thoughts become patterns of behavior. Our patterns of behavior become the fruit of our devotion toward the Savior or we are following our own desires.

 

Therefore, when we face temptation, there is also a way ready for us to escape that particular temptation (See 1 Corinthians 10:13). It is the warning of the Lord to Cain – Sin lieth at the door (See Genesis 4:7) that we must heed. Because of this, those who face temptation and fall prey to the adversary do so according to their own lusts and desires (See James 1:14). Hence, we understand the following:

 

Temptation means a test of the possessions held within the inner spiritual part of our being by a power outside us and foreign to us. This makes the temptation of our Lord explainable. After Jesus’ baptism, having accepted His mission of being the One “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1) and into the testing devices of the devil. Yet He did not become weary or exhausted. He went through the temptation “without sin” and He retained all the possessions of His spiritual nature completely intact.

 

Let us have this mindset in us that we must turn from the temptation, not because it calls to us to sin, but because it calls us to take our focus of the precious reality of following after Christ and being made perfect in His image and Likeness.

Scripture Chain 

1) Power over evil – Luke 10:19

2) Safety in Christ – Luke 22:31-32

3) Defeat of the enemy – Romans 6: 20

4) A means to escape – 1 Corinthians 10:13

5) Help in time of temptation – Hebrews 2:18

6) Victory over the adversary – James 4:7

7) Glory and exaltation with Christ – Revelation 3:21

 

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