The Sefer Chasidim writes that he has a wonderful way to control one’s evil inclination so that one will not commit any sins. He says that any time one is confronted by a sin and the evil inclination is pushing one to do it, one should consider that if they would decree that he should change his religion, he would definitely give away his life for the honor of Hashem, and does he really think that controlling one’s evil desires is more difficult than giving one’s life away? It is therefore fitting for him to conquer his desire for the sake of his Creator. We see with our own eyes that most Jews would give their lives away to sanctify the name of Hashem, but there is not even one who will completely conquer his inclination and be a righteous man who does only good and will never sin. The reason for this is either that the evil inclination does not persuade one so much when it concerns giving away one’s life or that everyone considers the sin of changing one’s religion to be extremely great, as opposed to other sins which the inclination manages to minimize in the eyes of the creations, or because a person thinks that death takes only a second and anyway everyone dies in the end, and by giving away one’s life one will be saved immediately from the evil inclination, and invited to life in the Next World, whereas to conquer the evil inclination to do other sins is much more difficult, for the evil inclination is always chasing him.
However, in actual fact, the giants of ethical thought have already told us that one should disregard the insignificance of the sin and only regard the magnitude of the Master who commanded us not to do it, and remember that anyone who transgresses the commands of the King notwithstanding its magnitude, is considered a rebel. They wrote also that one who follows the advice of his evil inclination, even when committing only a minor sin, is considered like an idol-worshipper, for in the same way as the idol-worshipper abandons Hashem and accepts a star or planet as a master and leader, so too this man accepts his inclination as a master and leader who will judge and command him. Furthermore, since we have explained that when his inclination forces him to transgress a commandment that the inclination to do so is actually much stronger than when giving up one’s life, so according to the magnitude of difficulty so too is the amount of the reward.