As we pursue our quest of Eternal Life, we are not alone. The Lord has given us spiritual influences to assist and protect us.
The Light of Christ
The Apostle John recorded in his Gospel that every person is born into mortality with an accompanying influence from Jesus Christ.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9)
We refer to this influence as our conscience, an intuitive recognition of right and wrong. It is significant that our Heavenly Father, realizing that we would be going to a world of wickedness, gave us protection and strength in the form of a spiritual influence, an influence known among Latter-day Saints as the Light of Christ.
The Holy Ghost
Even though we were given the Light of Christ at our birth, Heavenly Father also gave us an additional spiritual influence, the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We became eligible to receive the Holy Ghost when we were confirmed members of the Church; the statement was made that we might “receive the Holy Ghost”.
In addition to our confirmation, we receive each week as we partake of the Sacrament, an indication that we may receive the Holy Ghost. The Priests pray that the bread and water will be blessed for the souls of those partaking of it. They end both prayers with an assertion that we may have the Spirit of the Lord with us. The sacredness of the Sacrament implies the importance of having the Spirit with us.
The Influence of Satan
In addition to the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, there is another influence that may be with us. This influence doesn’t come from God. Instead, it comes from Satan. We all have had times when Satan has influenced our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
Good and Evil Influences Can Not Coexist
The Lord taught Adam that people who are unclean can not be in the presence of God.
Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence…. (Moses 6:57)
This scripture implies that Satan can not dwell with God, for Satan is the author of unclean things. This scripture also implies that influences from Satan can not coexist with influences from God.
There Is No Vacuum
If we disobey God and do not repent, he withdraws his Spirit from us. This withdrawal would leave us in a spiritual vacuum. However, there is, I believe, no such spiritual vacuum. I believe that as the Spirit removes itself from us, Satan fills the void with his spirit. That is, to the degree we lose the Spirit of the Lord, to that degree we gain the spirit of the devil. This means that we will flip back and forth between the two spiritual influences, a condition that is unstable and will lead to further eroding of our spiritual relationship with our Father in Heaven.
Removing Temptations of Satan
I think all of us try to remove temptations of Satan from our lives. We try to stay away from places and situations that would allow us to be tempted. We try to avoid the use of bad language and pornographic material. We try to avoid friends who would “lead us astray”. The problem with doing these things is that they, by themselves, don’t work very well. Notice that every example I gave of removing temptations is negative: we avoid… This world is becoming so wicked that it is difficult, nearly impossible, to avoid all situations that would allow us to be tempted.
Am I saying that we should stop trying to avoid influences from Satan? No of course not. We must continue trying to avoid him. What I am saying is that we must recognize that this avoidance is not enough. We must do more than that.
Filling Our Lives With The Spirit
The Lord told us to follow him, to truly become his disciples. He told us to keep his commandments and to repent when we commit sin. He promised us that as we keep his commandments and come unto him, he will bless us with his Spirit. He also told us, through the scriptures, that the spirit of Satan can not coexist with his Spirit. So, guess what? As we gain the Spirit of the Lord, we lose the spirit of Satan.
The Positive Way To Change Our Behavior
In addition to avoiding wickedness, we must do positive things to bring the Spirit of the Lord into our lives. Both the scriptures and our modern Prophets have taught us to do these positive things: become truly converted and committed to Jesus Christ; read the scriptures; pray regularly; attend church; attend the Temple; pay our tithing; give service to others; etc.
Because there is no vacuum in our spiritual lives, to the degree that we obtain the Spirit of the Lord, to that degree we lose the spirit of Satan. Let us focus on increasing our companionship of the Spirit.