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They say you can only count on two things: Death and taxes. But there’s actually a third thing, and that’s Satan trying to trip you up, just when you feel you are finally making progress.
Think about it. When are we most likely to feel the very powers of Hell, combining to stop us? When we have plans to attend the temple, do family history work, invite someone to read the Book of Mormon, repent, or pursue any other worthy goal. It’s so consistent, it’s as if it’s a law of nature.
Ask any missionary when their investigators struggled the most and were tempted to quit. It’s when they set a baptism date. And how many crazy disasters have popped up at the last minute, just as you’re getting ready to head to the temple? You could almost set your clock by these calamities.
Look at the goal of daily scripture study. Let’s be honest: This is not some Herculean task. It’s certainly no harder than watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, dawdling over Pinterest posts, or text messaging. And we find ample time for those easy activities, every day. Yet spending a few minutes in the Standard Works—you’d think this was studying for the Bar Exam, or overhauling a car engine. We struggle, we anguish, we pray for help— What? To sit down for a few minutes with our scriptures?
Satan will never try to keep us from extraneous activities, or even from the “goods” in the good-better-best scenario. As long as we’re neglecting the truly saving ordinances, the refining sacrifices, the activities that bring us closer to our Savior—he will leave us relatively alone. But the minute we shift our focus to things of eternal importance, he’s on us like a shark.
An investigator in our ward recently confided to me that she was hesitant to commit to the gospel, because she knew Satan would put a big target on her back. We laughed, because just saying that was an acknowledgment that she knew she’d found the truth, and that Lucifer would try to block her progress. She is still taking lessons and persevering.
One of the many great purposes of the Book of Mormon is to teach us his tactics, and how to recognize the enemy. So let’s watch for these obstacles whenever we strike out on a noble course of action. Let’s know they’re going to pop up, and label them exactly what they are: Distractions. And let’s know who’s doing a little happy dance whenever we turn from our purpose, waste time, or lower our standards.
Then let’s roll up our sleeves, plow through the obstacle course, and stay on track. Every time you feel the adversary tugging at you, stop and notice what it is that’s upsetting him. What marvelous thing have you done that has caught his attention? And then use him as a reverse barometer—his tactics are evidence that you’re about to do the Lord’s work. Feel a target on your back? That’s actually a pretty cool thing.
Watch the music video of Hilton’s song, What Makes a Woman, from her new musical, The Best Medicine (with music by Jerry Williams). Her books and YouTube Mom videos are available on her website, here. Hilton currently serves as a Relief Society President.