Today, “living right” can be a confusing concept, especially if you spend much time on social media where any voice can declare real truths or false concepts about God and His plan for His children. Thankfully, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ to know how to live so that we might be better prepared when we die.
The Battle of Controlling Ourselves
Melvin J. Ballard, gave a talk to help us live correctly. He said, “The greatest conflict that any man or woman will ever have … will be the battle that is had with self,” explaining that Satan, “the enemy of our souls,” attacks us through “the lusts, the appetites, the ambitions of the flesh.”6 So the primary battle is between our divine and spiritual nature and the carnal natural man. Remember, we can receive spiritual help through the influence of the Holy Ghost that “teach you all things.” (John 14: 26 in the Bible)
David O. McKay said: “Man’s earthly existence is but a test as to whether he will concentrate his efforts, his mind, his soul, upon things which contribute to the comfort and gratification of his physical nature, or whether he will make as his life’s purpose the acquisition of spiritual qualities.”
The Natural Man and Woman is an Enemy to God
This battle between our carnal and our spiritual natures isn’t a new thing. “the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.”
(Mosiah 3: 19 in the Book of Mormon)
The Apostle Paul taught that “they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8: 5-6 in the Bible) One of the most important things we can learn in this life is how to emphasize our eternal spiritual nature and control our evil desires. Before this earth was formed, we lived in heaven as sons and daughters of God. The Lord said to the prophet Job “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding…Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38: 4-7 0n the Bible)
We Are the Sons and daughters of God
This is who you and I really are and who we have always been: a son or daughter of God with spiritual roots in eternity and a future overflowing with infinite possibilities. You are—first, foremost, and always, a spiritual being. And so when we choose to put our carnal nature ahead of our spiritual nature, we are choosing something that is contrary to our real, true, authentic spiritual selves.
Choose the Spiritual Over the Worldly
Still, there’s no question that flesh and earthly impulses complicate the decision-making. With a veil of forgetfulness drawn between the premortal heaven and this mortal world, we can lose sight of our relationship to God and our spiritual nature, and our carnal nature can give priority to what we want right now. Learning to choose the things of the Spirit over the things of the flesh is one of the primary reasons why this earthly experience is part of Heavenly Father’s plan. It’s also why the plan is built upon the solid, sure foundation of the Atonement of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so that our sins, including the errors we make when we yield to the flesh, can be overcome through constant repentance and we can live spiritually focused. Now is the time to control our bodily appetites to comply with the spiritual doctrine of Christ. That is why we must not procrastinate the day of our repentance. “..I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.. which is given us to prepare for eternity”. (Alma 34: 33 in the Book of Mormon)
Repentance, therefore, becomes an indispensable weapon in our battle over self.
Pray For Help
Every night in prayer with your Father in Heaven, ask to be forgiven of anything you did wrong and promise to try to be better tomorrow. I believe this helps our spirit remind our body who is in charge.
I encourage you to think about where you are now in controlling your carnal nature and empowering your divine, spiritual nature so when the time comes, you may pass into the spirit world to a joyful reunion with your loved ones and benefit from the Lord’s great plan of happiness and continued progression.
Some of the article came from a talk of M. Russell Ballard in the October 2019 General Conference