I remember when I was a child in primary and I was learning about baptism, I never thought it was fair for the people who got to get baptized when they were older. Like if a 75 year old man got baptized, he was forgiven for 75 years worth of sins. Whereas, when I got baptized at age 8, I was only forgiven for 8 years worth. It didn’t really seem fair to me. It took a long time to truly appreciate that what I was getting out of baptism was worth so much more than an extra couple of decades worth of sins. I was joining myself with the Lord and His church, and pledging myself to do my part in building his kingdom. I was getting the opportunity to have direction and guidance and purpose in my life that other people spent decades searching for.
As most kids I think do, I set a goal for myself that I would never sin again. That maybe, just maybe, I could pull off being the first person ever to live the rest of their lives without sinning after baptism. Guess what? Didn’t work. It was a couple weeks later that I realized that without noticing, I had sinned in the last few weeks. That without keeping an eye on things, somehow I had become unpure again – tainted. It was disappointing, sure, but from there is where I got to truly begin my lifelong journey of discovery of one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us – forgiveness.
The Lord is the one person in our lives that will ever and always offer us ultimate chances at forgiveness and renewal. Once you are baptized it is inevitable that you will sin again. It’s a part of life. But the beauty of baptism and the Atonement is that you get a chance to apologize and try and do better next time – to change the behavior.
Now, along the way, when you start to sin, Satan is going to find every opportunity he can to make you feel like there’s no going back. Like what you’ve done is too horrible, too awful, and that even if you did repent you’d probably just screw it up again, so why bother trying? He’ll work to convince you that if you sin a little now, you can always repent later. I mean, that’s what it’s there for right? He’s a devious master of misdirection, and he knows each of us personally – what our weaknesses are, and how to attack them. But there are ways to avoid his pitfalls. In 1 Corinthians, 10:13, we are told, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Now, one of the beauties of having the Book of Mormon is that we get further enlightenment. In Alma 13:28-30 we learn: “ 28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

29 Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his crest.

30 And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death.”

We are told the ways to avoid temptation are through humility, prayer, calling upon the Lord, listening to the Spirit, being meek, submissive, patient, full of love, long-suffering, having faith, the Love of God which is charity. Through these things we can avoid temptation and keep ourselves clean and pure continually before the sight of the Lord. Remember, God does not expect you to be perfect, but he does expect you to try. It won’t be easy, but you have the Lord, your friends, the missionaries, priesthood leaders, scriptures, and a dozen other places to look for help. All you have to do is ask.

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