Attributes - Life as Mrs. Wilson

24 March, 2016

Attributes

For the past few months, my main focus of study in the gospel has been Christlike attributes, and when I finished studying each individual attribute I found myself pondering attributes from a whole different perspective. If there is a list of specific attributes of Christ, is there a list of specific attributes of Satan? If there are Christlike attributes, what are some Satanlike attributes? From careful study and prayer, this is the list that I have felt inspired to compile:

1. Fear
Throughout my life, I have found that Satan is extremely fearful. In the premortal life, he suggested a plan in which we would all make it back to Heavenly Father. Each of us would make it back, not a one of us lost - a guaranteed way back to safety. Sounds pretty great, right? Wrong. With this plan, there would be no choices. No agency. No joy.  And why do I think so many followed this plan? They were afraid. They were afraid that if they came to this earth and had to make all the right decisions on their own, they might not make it back. And yes, that is a scary thought - sometimes for me too. So I get why some of our siblings followed that plan. The thought of not making it back to God is a scary one. However, the difference between Satan and Christ in this regard can be summed up in one word: faith. Faith and fear cannot dwell together. Satan is a man of fear, and Christ is a man of faith. It is vital for us to choose faith over fear, for living in fear is exactly what Satan wants us to do (because it's exactly what he's doing).
2. Vice
Vice is immoral or wicked behavior, so it is pretty obvious why this would fall under the list of Satanlike attributes. We live in a world full of compromise. Wicked is seen as good and is often even sought after. Righteous behavior is increasingly becoming frowned upon and seen as wrong or naive to the public eye. The idea that following the commandments of God is silly or naive is not in this world by accident. Satan wants us to feel embarrassed for choosing the right. He wants us to feel silly and like outcasts for not drinking that coffee or for waiting until marriage to move in with each other. Vice is a dangerous attribute that must be avoided, and can be avoided through the opposite attribute - the Christlike attribute - virtue. 
3. Ignorance
Ignorance is defined as a lack of knowledge or information. While we obviously cannot learn everything while on this earth, it is imperative for us to increase our knowledge on a daily basis. Russell M. Nelson has stated, "Education is yours to obtain. No one else can gain it for you. Wherever you are, develop a deep desire to learn". How important it is to be educated! Seek to be educated. Seek to gain knowledge. If you do not understand something, study it out and pray about it. God is all-knowing. Knowledge itself is a Christlike attribute, so when we pray to obtain knowledge we are blessed with a greater desire to learn and greater comprehension of what we learn. Our mind can be opened and ready for inspiration when we seek to learn. Avoid ignorance at all costs. D&C 131:6 reads, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance". And if it is impossible for us to be saved in ignorance, then it is clear to see why Satan wants us to be ignorant and have no desire to learn.
4. Self-willed
We are to align ourselves with God's will in every aspect of our lives. Satan is headstrong, wayward, and unrestrained. He also desires for us to obstinately do what we want in spite of the wishes or orders of God. This attribute of being self-willed may seem like an easy one to avoid at first thought, but being self-willed is a lot more common in our lives than we may realize. I have had several occurrences in my life that have brought me to frustration, specifically in questioning the timing of certain events. I would think, this wasn't part of my plan! And how silly it was for me to think that way. Of course this wasn't part of my plan - but it was part of His plan. It is so crucial for us to accept and do our best to understand and follow God's will for us. The occurrences in our lives do not happen by chance. God has a greater plan for us. It is greater than we can comprehend and we need to let go of our own self-willed behaviors to follow His will with exact obedience.
5. Intolerance
In the church, we are specifically taught to be tolerant. This is not a teaching to be taken lightly, for it applies to every single one of us.  We should always stand for our beliefs, however, we should never be intolerant to someone elses beliefs. There is, of course, a difference between tolerance and acceptance (i.e. we can accept a person and love them without accepting their actions). If you find it is difficult to tolerate someone's wrong behavior, consider the freedom of choice. That is why we are here on earth, after all. We fought for agency in the pre-existence. Saying that someone is wrong for what they believe, being agitated when someone shares their differing beliefs, or being unwilling to listen and try to understand someones beliefs is being intolerant. And that is a Satanlike attribute. Remember, Jesus Christ loves every single person equally. Elder D. Todd Christofferson has said, "Even if we disagree with the opinions of others, we must speak in love and kindness".  We must be willing to alter our opinions (when needed) and soften our hearts. Be patient! Be loving. Be tolerant. We are all brothers and sisters. It is okay to politely disagree with someone but I think this world could use a lot more love and a lot less intolerance. 
6. Apathy
Years ago, a friend of mine bore her testimony about the dangers of apathy towards the gospel. I remember listening to her speak and being overwhelmed by the spirit confirming the deep truth of what she was saying. We must have a passion for the gospel. When we lose that passion and become apathetic to the promptings of the spirit, our testimonies will ultimately diminish. Apathy is a dangerously easy trap to fall into. How often do we respond with "I don't care" to a meaningful question? Not having an opinion can lead to a lack of solid standards. If we have an 'I don't care' attitude towards life, it is so much easier to sin because we simply do not care about the consequences. 
7. Worldliness
From the beginning, Satan reveled in fine clothing and money. He was well aware that worldliness would be a great trap for people to fall into. It is easy to get distracted and misled by the things and ideas of the world. We live in a very worldly time, and it can be hard to avoid this attribute.  It is vital for us to keep an eternal perspective in mind. Ask yourself, 'Do I really need a new (fill in the blank) when what I have works perfectly well?' or 'Will this matter in eternity?' Dallin H. Oaks has told us that "As we draw farther from worldliness, we feel closer to our Father in Heaven". I also testify that the things of this world do not and never will compare to the beauty and glory of the gospel. By drawing farther from worldliness, our lives will enhance and we will indeed feel closer to our Heavenly Father. 
8. Inattention
When I received the inspiration for this attribute, I was actually a bit surprised. Yet the more I studied and prayed, the more it made sense. The day I received this inspiration, I was driving home from school. I got cut off 4 times within 10 minutes. I almost got hit by another car twice. And every time this happened, I didn't feel anger towards that person, but felt sorrow for them. I felt sorrow for their inattention. I worried for their safety and began to ponder. Why are there so many people that just aren't paying attention? Why don't they care? And I realized that this was an attribute. When we let ourselves become distracted from what is around us, we are more susceptible to danger. This is not just on the road. When we look at our phone instead of our spouse, for example, we are putting our relationship in danger. We distract ourselves so easily that we forget what is right in front of us. Maybe we go to our church meetings but our minds are elsewhere. That inattention is detrimental to our spiritual growth and thus makes it easier to be tempted.
9. Pride
I feel as though we easily recognize one aspect of pride (being puffed up), but often times forget that pride is also punishing ourselves for who we are. Thinking you don't deserve what you have, or thinking you deserve more than you already have is also prideful. I spent a lot of my life believing that I didn't deserve what I had and that I was worthless to God and to those around me. I was constantly comparing myself to others, telling myself how much better they all were than me. It took me a long time to realize that hating myself and not accepting God's love was actually being prideful. It is prideful to think less of ourselves, and so that is one of Satan's greatest tactics to try and defeat us. Every single thought of self doubt - that is something that Satan thrives off of. It is up to us to be humble enough to allow the atonement to work through us and allow Christ's love into our hearts and minds. We must be humble enough to accept that we have great worth! Do not allow Satan's lies of not being good enough or being inadequate stay in your mind - it will lead to a path of pride, which is indeed a Satanlike attribute.
10. Laziness
In today's world, many minute tasks are done for us automatically to free up time for us to focus on greater undertakings; however, we are often careless or lazy with this extra time. It is SO easy to be lazy. And I don't want to confuse laziness with relaxation - because some days we all just need to spend an hour or two winding down. However, when these actions (or lack of actions) become a habit, that is when the danger creeps in. It is easy to skip church because we are tired or don't feel like dressing up. It is easy to skip scripture study because we'd rather watch a little Netflix. It's easy to skip daily exercise because we want to sleep in. The thing is though, this life isn't supposed to be easy. It's a test. Life is supposed to be challenging and difficult and exciting and wonderful! If you feel that your life is mundane, do a self analysis. You probably have a lot more time and energy than you think you do. Set that alarm an hour earlier. Get up without hitting snooze. Put your phone away! Get outside. Be diligent. I promise, being lazy is easy but it will not make you happy. You will always feel better after a productive day - and there's a reason for that. When you are productive and diligent, the spirit can more easily dwell with you and you can be more open to revelation. However, when you are lazy, why would the spirit want to stay at all? 

Each Satanlike attribute is directly opposed to a Christlike attribute. As the scriptures teach us, we cannot serve two masters. Likewise, we cannot become fully like Christ until we have rid ourselves of all Satanlike attributes. Preach My Gospel has a list of Christlike Attributes that we are to strive to obtain. And you know something pretty great? You can pray to receive each of these Christlike attributes for yourself! By mapping out a list of Satanlike attributes, I have found that I am more careful in my day to day life. Diligently praying for those Christlike attributes really changed me. Once I received some of those beautiful gifts I knew I never wanted to risk losing them. I believe that by knowing and understanding the adversary, we are more likely to overcome and be triumphant. By recognizing and turning away from these Satanlike attributes, I wholeheartedly believe that we will have greater strength to overcome. So next time you are fearful or want to have a daylong Netflix binge, remember where those thoughts come from (trust me, they're not from God).  

(visual: ashlin gubler)