Deceive Me Not by Gary E. Stevenson
Content by Lydia Defranchi-Nelson
Wouldn't it be a lot simpler if Satan appeared to us like he did to Moses and very obviously tried to get us to sin? It would probably be a terrifying experience, but worshiping Satan is Sin 101--that's an easy temptation to see through. But he wouldn’t be called the Master of Lies if he hadn’t gotten a little better at deception over millennia of trying to tear us down.
C.S. Lewis is so clear-eyed in The Screwtape Letters: “It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”
It’s the little sins and the sins of omission that slowly lull us to sleep. I’m constantly coming back to this so it must be something I need to hear: social media CAN be a force for good if used right, or it can slowly chip away at our self-esteem and gnaw at our attention, dulling our laser-beam focus on the Savior and our most important work.
In the age of the attention economy, Satan is expert at numbing us to our purpose in life. We allow others and our to-do lists to so easily set our priorities for us, and before we realize it, we’ve spent an entire day on things that matter less. Even a very good thing, like trying to be a good mom, can be subverted and submerge me in daily tasks when I would most benefit from taking a minute to focus on my relationship with the Savior first.
My greatest personal struggle is keeping a clear focus on my priority. And to be clear: we still have unexciting daily tasks that just have to get done. But when those things crush us and make us lose sight of God, we’re being hoodwinked. We’re not seeing the forest for the trees.
So how do we discern? One helpful tool is understanding that Satan stresses and the Spirit stills. It’s a clear signal I’ve been on my phone for too long when I’m irritable with my kids. Or that my priorities are mixed up when I feel I just don’t have time for my calling in life. And Elder Stevenson reminds us that following the prophet is always a safe anchor; President Nelson has consistently pleaded with us to develop our ability to receive personal revelation. Are we listening?
It’s hard work. But we can do it – we need to do it – to have the Spirit’s influence and be able to call down personal revelation and priesthood power into our lives. Nephi’s rallying cry gives me courage: “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (2 Nephi 4:28)
I AM STATEMENT
I AM clear-eyed in discerning my daily purpose. I AM not fooled by Satan’s deceptions.
FAITH IN ACTION
Make time to re-center yourself on your spiritual priority each day this week. It doesn’t need to be huge – Hide from your kids in a closet for five minutes to pray! Or take ten minutes of your lunch break at work to sit in your car with your journal! – but don’t forget to take that brief moment to re-center. You’ll emerge clear-eyed and more able to handle challenges, and to reject Satan’s daily deceptions.
One of Satan’s most deceptive tricks is telling us nobody understands us, that we’re alone in experiencing or feeling something. It’s a lie, of course, because even if the entire world doesn’t understand, the Savior knows. And even if the sister you minister to is in a very different stage of life or has a completely different lifestyle, chances are there is somewhere you can connect. Try reaching out in person, or via a text or phone call, and ask sincerely how she is doing, and then listen.