LIFE’S THREE TEMPTATIONS

Let me illustrate by the following movie. A young man drives up to his house in an expensive red Maserati car. His home is worth millions of dollars. He goes to his swimming pool where his wife, a past Miss America, is lounging by the pool. Is it possible that the eyes of men are never satisfied? Are you coveting his life? Why him and not you?

“Do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 1:15-17)

The Bible tells us there are three ways that Satan tempted Adam and Eve and Jesus. These are the same ways he will tempt each of us: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (I John 2:16) “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)

The story of the young man above could cause lust of the eyes. What we see is what we want. It can be an unsatisfied desire for wealth, pomp and the beautiful things of the world. Some women will talk about the life they should be entitled to, the things they should have and other woman shouldn’t live the way they do. Satan used the story in Luke 4:3 – “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Lust of the flesh comes from our bodies wanting food, intimacy and a craving for the forbidden. Lust is a perversion of love. Lust seeks sex outside of marriage. It is trying to provide the bodies desires in the wrong way. Satan knows how to use our eyes and our bodies against us.

I am reminded of a minister who had an affair. Many found out about it. He lost his job. His wife divorced him. His children refused to associate with him. Two years later he was at the grocery store and ran into the woman with whom he had the affair. He apologized to her and was sorry for the problems that the affair caused. The woman replied—you don’t need to apologize, I knew I could bring you down! My reaction was: There was no excuse for what the minister did but this was a very evil woman. The devil knows who can and who can’t be tempted. Many times Satan’s demons are putting temptations in front of us. Before we yield: Think, is this Satan’s lure? Is he trying to bring me down?

The pride of life is allowing pride and arrogance to become sinful. It can be a temptation to want acceptance, fame, power to be somebody important. It can also be a pride that we don’t need God. I think it is best described as lacking humility. It can be thinking we are more important than we really are. We see it in persons who tear down another verbally.

We as Americans believe that we have been blessed so much that we forget that it was God Who provided it. Life is all about ourselves and we take the credit for all of the material things we have accumulated. We take pride in who we are, what we have and what we have accomplished without giving God any credit. This is why Scripture warns us about the Pride of Life.

We must be continually aware how the Devil will tempt us. Our self-centered natures long for so many things. This is why we are told that we must die out to self and allow the Holy Spirit to check and guide us to live according to God’s ways.

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