In his sermon in the synagogue, before teaching his people how to “lay hold upon every good thing,” Mormon provided some instruction about how to distinguish between good and evil:
All things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.Moroni 7:12-13
Everything which invites and entices us to do good comes from God.
- To invite someone is to make a polite request or to make them aware of an opportunity. It’s an appeal to the mind.
- To entice them is to try to persuade them to do something, by highlighting the pleasures or the advantages of the activity. It’s an appeal to the heart; it’s the sales pitch.
Lehi taught his sons that being enticed is a prerequisite for exercising agency:
The Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.2 Nephi 2:16
Sometimes, we seem to think that Satan has a monopoly on enticement. We recognize that his temptations can be persuasive, but we forget that God is also working to persuade us do good and to follow a path that will lead to eternal joy. Why shouldn’t the fruits of righteous living be enticing to us? They can be, and they are, but it is up to us to decide which enticements we will focus on, and which ones we will allow to influence our behavior.
Sister Joy D. Jones taught:
We are confronted each day with choices that require us to choose between “the one or the other”—meaning, between light and dark, between pleasure and pain, and between good and bad. The world is filled with enticements for the very purpose of encouraging us to act on our God-given agency. An enticement can come in the form of temptation—which can lead us to doubt, fear, anger, and ultimately the loss of the Spirit. Or an enticement can come through happiness and blessings as encouragement to do good—which can lead us to understanding, confidence, fulfillment, and “the fruit of the Spirit,” which includes love, joy, and peace.“Look unto Him in Every Thought,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 21 August 2018
No wonder one of our Articles of Faith says, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
Today, I will remember that God is actively working to persuade me to make wise choices. I will surround myself with influences which invite and entice me to do good, to love God, and to serve Him.