God will judge us in the end “according to the desire of [our] hearts” (Doctrine and Covenants 137:9). But our desires are not static and unchanging. They are affected over time by the decisions we make. As Elder Ulisses Soares recently taught, we are like a metal object, and temptation is like a magnet.
The magnet loses its power over it only when the metal object is placed far from it. Therefore, just as the magnet is unable to exercise power over a faraway metal object, as we resist temptation, it fades away and loses its power over our mind and heart and, consequently, over our actions.“Seek Christ in Every Thought,” General Conference, October 2020
The circumstances in which we choose to place ourselves can affect our desires and the intensity of the temptation we experience. This is why Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “We set our thermostats as to temptations” (“According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” General Conference, October 1996).
Moroni gave the following words of counsel to us, his modern readers: “Strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation” (Mormon 9:28).
Commenting on this passage, Elder Soares said:
Applying these principles in our lives requires more than a mere belief; it requires adjusting our minds and hearts to these divine principles. Such adjustment requires a daily and constant personal effort, in addition to reliance on the Savior, because our mortal inclinations will not disappear on their own. Fighting against temptation takes a lifetime of diligence and faithfulness. But please know that the Lord is ready to assist us in our personal efforts and promises remarkable blessings if we endure to the end.“Seek Christ in Every Thought,” General Conference, October 2020
God is willing to help us. If we want to avoid and overcome temptation, we can. But the process begins with us. And the process involves educating both our minds and our hearts. Brigham Young observed:
It is evident that many who understand the truth do not govern themselves by it; consequently, no matter how true and beautiful truth is, you have to take the passions of the people and mould them to the law of God….
Do you think that people will obey the truth because it is true, unless they love it? No, they will not.Journal of Discourses, 7:55, quoted in Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” General Conference, October 1996
Elder Maxwell explained that the decisions we make shape our desires over time:
Each assertion of a righteous desire, each act of service, and each act of worship, however small and incremental, adds to our spiritual momentum. Like Newton’s Second Law, there is a transmitting of acceleration as well as a contagiousness associated with even the small acts of goodness.“According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” General Conference, October 1996
Today, I will ask God to help me “yield to no temptation.” I will ask Him to help me train my desires through righteous decisions, so that my actions naturally become more aligned with the truth.