For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)The natural man is an enemy to God! As scary as the thought is, reality is much more frightening. I am indeed an enemy to God. All who have sinned, fall short of the glory of God. No unclean thing can dwell in His presence. Thankfully, we can overcome this barrier due to the miraculous Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to apply this to our lives, we must do as King Benjamin says. I've often wondered why "putting off the natural man" has been such a great challenge in my life thus far, to not desire for the things of the world, but to submit and fully set my heart on God.
As we learn from lessons that are taught through our personal study, through church attendance, or even by life experiences, many of us know what it is we should be doing in our lives or even what we should be wanting. It is unfortunate that for many of us, that what should be, isn't. Elder Oaks, in the most recent General Conference spoke on how we change our desires.
Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.
How do we develop desires? Few will have the kind of crisis that motivated Aron Ralston, but his experience provides a valuable lesson about developing desires. While Ralston was hiking in a remote canyon in southern Utah, an 800-pound (360 kg) rock shifted suddenly and trapped his right arm. For five lonely days he struggled to free himself. When he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a three-year-old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. Understanding this as a vision of his future son and an assurance that he could still live, Ralston summoned the courage and took drastic action to save his life before his strength ran out. He broke the two bones in his trapped right arm and then used the knife in his multitool to cut off that arm. He then summoned the strength to hike five miles (8 km) for help. What an example of the power of an overwhelming desire! When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.
We should remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent. So motivated, we will seek for that condition described by the Prophet Joseph Smith, where we have “overcome the evils of [our lives] and lost every desire for sin.” That is a very personal decision.It is important for all of us to remember that we will be judged according to the desires of our hearts. When we work on our desires, mold them so that they are aligned with with the will of God, our lives will be blessed.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. (2 Nephi 10:24)