A long time ago, in our premortal life, we faced two beings who knew us well and would have massive impacts on our lives: God and Satan.
All of us on earth, everyone who is reading this post, chose to follow God. Whatever reasons motivated us, we chose Him. When we chose God, we immediately made ourselves enemies to Satan, and no matter how we live our lives now, he still considers us his enemies.
So here we are now, on earth, and we still face this question: Who will I follow? There are so many choices in our lives, and temptations are thrown at us constantly. As we face the constant battle of life, we have to realize that the struggles we face aren’t necessarily general to everyone.
Satan knew us in the premortal life; he still knows us now. And God knows us even better than Satan does. Each challenge we face is set up just for us, to test us, to see what choices we make and if we continue to follow God or not.
Each choice comes back to that same first decision: God or Satan. Both know us, and both focus on us as individuals. But the consequences of choosing one over the other are completely different. So let’s take a look at these consequences and how God and Satan each see us.
I’ll start with Satan because I’d rather end the post on a hopeful note, and ending with Satan wouldn’t be hopeful. At all.
Satan, like us, is one of God’s children. However, the first time we had to choose if we would follow God or not, Satan AKA Lucifer (back then) chose not. And convinced a lot of other people to follow him instead. So basically, he rebelled against God, the Almighty Creator of the universe, and, even worse, tried to take over God’s role. (I’ve talked about this before, in my post “What’s So Bad About Satan’s Plan?” so for a more in-depth discussion of Satan’s issues, check it out.)
The result of Satan’s rebellion was being kicked out of God’s presence and becoming the devil. And everyone who followed him ended up in the same boat. Essentially disowned, miserable, and furious that they had to deal with these consequences.
Remember, they had a choice just like we did. So the consequences are a result of their choices and are completely fair.
Following Satan from the first led to absolute misery and regret. And it hasn’t changed.
I like the example of Korihor for this. He was an anti-Christ and taught that the teachings of Christ were foolish. He claimed that there was no Christ because the people hadn’t seen Christ. And a lot of other things too.
Eventually, Korihor faces the truth – that he had been deceived by the devil and now had to face the consequences of fighting against God.
I think this example is interesting because Korihor fights so hard to support the devil’s teachings and discredit the truth of Christ, but in the end, he still faces the consequences that all who follow Satan must face.
The verse that ends Korihor’s story is the main reason I used him as an example:
60 And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.Alma 30:60
Satan uses his followers to destroy the faith of others, but in the end, there is no pay-off for supporting and following Satan. It still leads to hell, to misery, to suffering. And seeing us face those consequences just like him is what Satan lives for.
Satan does know us. He knows what we could become if we followed God, but instead, he focuses on our weaknesses, flaws, and mistakes. Then he turns those things around on us to try and make those imperfections all we can see in ourselves as well.
When we follow Satan, we trip into this net of lies about ourselves that he’s created. He targets each of us with our specific weaknesses and does everything he can to limit our perspective to these flaws instead of our divine potential.
Now for the hopeful stuff.
See, even though Satan knows us and our flaws, God knows us better. We are His children, and though He sees our flaws and weaknesses, God knows that there is more to us than those imperfections. When God looks at us, He chooses to see us for the progress we make and the potential we have.
He knows that we need to make changes and become better. He knows that we sometimes need His help to make it through. And He loves us enough, in spite of our imperfections, that He gives us the chance to try again.
That’s why He sent our Savior, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice Himself. Every second chance we have comes from Christ.
When we recognize how God chooses to see us, we can see ourselves as we really are and as we really can be. Every potential we have inside of us is a real possibility. We can actually be that person who has overcome flaws and weaknesses.
We need to choose to follow Christ so we can see ourselves and the people around us clearly. That knowledge helps us move past our insecurities, fears, and doubts. We don’t have to end up “dragged to hell” like Satan. We can be raised to heaven when we rely on our Savior.
It’s all really that simple. Follow Satan, face the consequences of misery and hell. Follow Christ, experience the consequences of forgiveness and love.