We can bring the greatest of all liberties into our individual lives by living true and correct principles. This liberty comes to us as we learn to live as though Jesus Christ were walking beside us. We gain this freedom as we invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.
The liberty principle for today is number eighteen in a series of true principles suggested by Elder Richard G. Scott in his book
21 Principles – Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit. I will merely introduce the principle and suggest that you obtain Elder Scott’s book in order to truly understand this principle. Elder Scott explained that principles “are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and challenging circumstances.” You can see principle #1“True Principles of Freedom” here.
Principle #18 is the simple fact that the temptations of Satan can either destroy us or make us stronger as we resist them. “Satan knows that correct principles, when observed consistently, will render an individual increasingly resistant to his temptations. He has developed a comprehensive plan to undermine or destroy each one of them. For example, to dispose of faith, Satan would plant and cultivate in us the seeds of selfishness. He knows that if left unchecked, these seeds will grow into a monster that can enslave the divine spirit in man. Selfishness if ate the root of sin. It leads to unrighteous acts that debauch and deprave the soul. It reinforces destructive habits that produce a dependence on chemical or physical stimulants that destroy the mind and body. Satan’s program is based on immediate gratification of selfish desires. He urges us to participate now and pay later. However, the full, terrible consequences of payment are never revealed until it is tragically late. The Spirit of the Lord can overpower the stifling effect of selfishness. That cherished Spirit comes with faith, repentance, obedience, and service.
“So that you will be forewarned, I will show you how Satan works. Let us imagine a boundary line, and assume that on one side of this boundary are all of the good things that can be done in life. They are arranged so that they get better and better as one moves farther from the boundary. On the other side are all the wrong things that can be done. They go from bad to worse. At the boundary it is difficult to discern what is right and what is wrong. That is where Satan tries to tempt righteous people. It is a twilight zone where you cannot clearly discern between what is good and what is bad, so it is easy to become confused. Live well within the area of good and you won’t have any problems with temptation” (pp. 85-86).
The “twilight zone” described by Elder Scott is real and very dangerous. People often believe they can walk in this area without getting into trouble. These people are foolish because they do not understand the danger of “just one drink” or “just one cigarette” or “just a little necking” or “just one R-rated movie.” People who are wise stay far away from the line of demarcation.
President George Albert Smith declared, “There is a line of demarcation, well defined, between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of the line one inch, you are in the tempter’s power, and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly, because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 232.)
When we are in the Lord’s territory, we are free to come and go as we desire; once a person steps across the line of demarcation and enters the territory controlled by Satan they lose freedom to come and go as they choose. The deeper a person goes into Satan’s territory the stronger the shackles he places on them.