In a talk given by Russell M Nelson, he stated that a "pivotal spiritual attribute" is Self-Mastery. Self-mastery, he said helps an individual build a strong conscience, and helps you "determine moral responses in difficult, tempting, and trying situations." I never thought of self-mastery in that way. A strong conscience. But what does it mean to have a strong conscience?
I looked up the definition of the word conscience and it is "an inner feeling or voice acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior." What Elder Nelson wants us to know and understand is that Heavenly Father implanted strong appetites within us that we must learn to control within the bounds of God's law. I personally, had never heard of self-mastery used in this way before. But it makes sense, right? I mean, on a much higher level of thinking it just makes sense. We all have the need to nourish ourselves, to find love, to gain intelligence, to find our purpose. Seeking out the reasons for these ideals is inherently ingrained in all of us. The need to know why we do the things we do -- some in excess, and others not at all.
As we apply these ideals, as Elder Nelson suggests within the bounds of God's law we will enjoy longer life, greater love, and consummate joy. All are blessings predicated upon obedience to God's law. God has established a plan whereby we (His children) will benefit from all that is available. His plan also includes the will to chose.
According to Elder Nelson's talk, temptation, "comes from the misuse of God-given appetite." When we give into the appetites, we become slaves to the very thing that we strive to master. The Lord acknowledges that no one can manage self-mastery perfectly. If we learn from our mistakes and truly repent, we allow the true meaning of the atonement to become apart of our lives.