Have you ever noticed that there aren’t any pictures of Satan? I mean any without horns and blood dripping from his fangs. Like respresentations of the real dude. First off, it’s not exactly a piece of art you’d want displayed above your mantel, I think. But also I believe it’s because we don’t like to represent Satan. We don’t like to talk about him, we don’t like to think about what he looks like, we like to pretend he doesn’t exist. This is because we know he’s the enemy of all righteousness. Yet, how often do we let him into our hearts, even just a little bit? Right now I’d like to talk pretty openly about Satan.
The Devil. Lucifer. The Enemy of our Souls. The Tempter. The Evil One.
So many names for one man, so much wickedness stems from him. All wickedness, in fact. In the beginning, he was like us in the premortal life. A spirit child of our Heavenly Father, our brother. In the grand council before this life when Father presented us His plan to send us to Earth, let us learn for ourselves good from evil, and provide a Savior for us to be able to return to Him, Satan had another idea. He wanted to send us down, sure, but force everyone to do good, and therefore eliminate Heavenly Father’s purpose in sending us in the first place. There was a war in heaven, and Satan along with 1/3 of Father’s precious children who tragically chose to follow him were cast out.
But, as part of God’s plan for us, Satan and his followers are allowed to tempt us on the earth. They are literally with us everywhere (sorry for the scary thought, bear with me!) I’ll never forget the day that my seminary teacher told us SATAN HATES YOU.
What a powerful statement! How rarely do we really ponder on the reality that we each have a real enemy bent on our distruction, just like the bad guys in all the childhood movies. He hates that we have what he can never have- a body, a family, a chance for eternal exaltation one day. And he is bent on dragging us down to the dismal future in store for him. BUT GOOD NEWS! We, like the dashing prince and beautiful princess in those stories have the power to overcome him.
“Light always overcomes darkness.” -The Saratov Approach
But, it’s not without a fight. And Satan always pushes the hardest when something good is about to happen; that’s why Joseph Smith felt him almost to the point of distruction just before the first vision; that’s why such great efforts had to be made to protect the Gold Plates; it’s why couples about to be sealed in the temple experience opposition; and that’s why every preparing missionary feels him pushing.
Now, I haven’t talked to every missionary that has ever served. But I have talked to many, and every. single. one. will tell you that Satan’s opposition increased incredibly either right before or after recieving their mission call. I always knew that Satan was there, kind of. But never before have I actually felt his presence pushing on me. No lie, Satan’s influence has actually made me physically ill before.
But here are a few tools I’ve developed for fighting back. Keep in mind, I’m mostly speaking to myself. 🙂
- Recognize the reason Satan is working so hard on you. He’s terrified by the prospect of all the lives you will bless, and the souls that you will release from his grasp. Also recognize that what you’re feeling is not God punishing you. If you feel disappointed about your call for a long time, it’s Satan. If it’s harder to be kind to those you love, it’s Satan. If you feel tempted to do something wrong that you’ve never even considered, it’s Satan. If you feel discouraged, inadequate, unloved, alone, afraid, or empty, it’s SATAN. Heavenly Father would never send you those feelings.
- See it as an actual battle. I always wondered why the war chapters were in the Book of Mormon, going on and on about preparations for battle, battle, and picking up the pieces after battle. I’ve finally found the answer to that- because the spiritual battles we wage today against Satan’s army are just as real as those fought between the Nephites and the Lamanites. We need to take our shield of faith and fight valiantly just as the Army of Helaman if we are to win this very real, very present battle before us.
- Fight darkness with light. Satan making you feel alone? Pray. Satan making you feel complacent? Get up and get your Preach My Gospel. Satan making you feel inadequate? Read your patriachal blessing. There are so many resources avaliable before us to fight the Adversary, so USE THEM, even when you don’t feel like it.
I testify that we CAN overcome Satan. Our Father in Heaven who loves us infinitely would never send us on this mission to earth to fail. And if you’ve been called to be a representative of Jesus Christ, He would never send you on your mission to fail. Don’t give in to any negative feelings or sin that would beset your progress. You are loved! You are of worth! You can do anything through Christ! Love, Kearis.