Consider your favorite sins. When you succumb - is it because you don't know any better? Nay. (That's right, I'm pulling out the "nay".) We typically "know better" when we fall short - we just don't "do better". And the disconnect there is the brilliance in Satan's psychological tactics. After all, the bird who thinks he's a snail will never fly.
Yet here we are, more extreme than birds and snails - deity in embryo (Acts 17:28-29). And yet we're often our own enemies when it comes to progression. We recognize our mistakes, decide that we must not be worth it, and abandon our potential. We lose track of our divine worth - and we sell ourselves short.
Consider this anonymous quote that's found in Spencer W. Kimball's "The Miracle of Forgiveness" (ch. 12):
The height of a man's success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. There is no other limitation in either direction and this law is the expression of eternal justice. He who cannot establish a dominion over himself will have no dominion over others. He who masters himself shall be king.So back to your favorite sin... in that clutch moment when you could go either way - what thought leads you to fail? Self-abandonment. If not self-abandonment, then ego. We either underestimate the strength of the temptation, or we underestimate our own worth. Either way, we're missing the truth.
Young Women in the church grow up learning values during their Personal Progress course. Two of these reflect the notion of what we're worth - Divine Nature, and Individual Worth. The boys, on the other hand, are usually too cocky to begin with, so they don't need any reminding of what they're worth. Just put those punks to work.
The counteracting notion to self-abandonment is listed in the same quote. Self-mastery. Bryant S. Hinckley, father of President Gordon B. Hinckley, said this in his book entitled, "That Ye Might Have Joy":
When a man makes war on his own weaknesses he engages in the holiest war that mortals ever wage. The reward that comes from victory in this struggle is the most enduring, most satisfying, and the most exquisite that man ever experiences. … The power to do what we ought to do is the greatest freedom.So there it is - the key to fulfillment in this life is self-mastery. In theory, it sounds great - just switch into "mastery mode" whenever a challenge approaches, and leave the abandonment to those who don't strife to improve. However, we all stumble - we all fall short, and we're all going to have a few things on our record that Satan the psychologist will remind us of in those ever important moments. Here's the second half of the story: there is help.
Satan loves to play our past against us - because, as Paul wrote to the Romans, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." So he's got a card or two to play there. But Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ also have a few cards to play. They remind us of our future. One side pulls you back to your past, the other lifts you to your future. Consider the oath and covenant of the priesthood:
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
We're to become "joint-heirs" with Christ. Not servants - not second-class citizens in the kingdom of heaven - but equals. Our imperfections are replaced with the merit of Christ as we come to Him and repent. And that's good enough for us to enter into the kingdom. In time, we'll truly master ourselves and we'll become perfect. The process of perfection is more a derivative in this life than an integral. And when we've all been where we are to go for a while, our track records will show that we belong.
We know that God is the same "yesterday, today and forever". That if His character were to change, He would lose his power and "cease to be God". So it will be with us. Christ enables us the time to become perfect, and once there, it's up to us to continually choose it. The true record is not the mistakes that Satan reminds us of, but the cleanliness of Christ and the potential of children of God.
With that in mind, we work to master ourselves, to fulfill our divine nature and to exist in the truth. Without Christ, we'd have to buy into the traps Satan lays for us - we'd have to sell ourselves short. But there's not depreciation standard that's mandatory for children of God. We're allowed to be worth more - to attain higher glory in time, in spite of our mistakes. Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ enables qualification for the Spirit now, and perfection in the world to come.