I’m pretty sure that I am safe in saying that all of us are faced with temptation. Satan will see to that. I know I am safe in saying that God, who loves us, will not tempt us.
In James 1:13-15, we read, “No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.”
The usual definition of temptation is that it is a solicitation to do evil. In James 4:17, we read “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
In 1 John 2:15-17, the Apostle wrote, “Do not love the world or the things of 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.”
When John speaks of the “world”, he is not referring to the created world. Rather it is that system of rebellion and pride that seeks to displace God and His rule.
So, these are the primary areas where Satan tries to entice us to do wrong or evil — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
In Genesis 3:4-7, we read how Satan came to the Garden of Eden and tempted Adam and Eve.
“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
So, we see that each of them was tempted in the three areas we have mentioned: 1. “The tree was good for food.” Here we have the lust of the flesh.
2. “It was pleasant to the eyes.” Here we have the lust of the eyes.
3. It was a tree “desired to make one wise.” Here we have the pride of life.
In Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13, we have Satan tempting Jesus in exactly the same way but the outcome was totally different. Keep in mind Jesus fasted and prayed 40 days and nights.
1. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Here we have the lust of the flesh. Matthew 4:3
Christ’s response — “Jesus said to him, it is written again, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
2. “Then, the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands, they shall bear thee up, lest at anytime you dash your foot against a stone.’” Mathew 4:5-6
—Here we have the pride of life.
3. Last, we read “the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “all these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9)
— Here we have the lust of the eyes.
Can you, for a moment, consider the audacity of Satan wanting the Creator (Jesus) to bow down and worship the created one (Satan)? From the time of his fall, Satan has craved worship. He will offer you and me anything if we will just serve him, but he will never tell you the cost of serving him and rebelling against God who loves us.
Satan can dress his temptations up so that they look so appealing. The writer in Hebrews 11:24-26 wrote,
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the Son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward.”
Notice the phrase “the passing pleasures of sin.” The pleasures of sin are short-lived. They do not last and they leave us with a sense of shame, guilt, remorse, loss, and failure.
What should we do when we are faced with a desire to do something that is obviously not of God?
1. Resist the devil. James 4:7
2. Draw near to God. James 4:8
3. Repent and grieve over our sin. James 4:9
4. Humble ourselves in the sight of God. James 4:10
5. Confess our sin to God who loves and will forgive. 1 John 1:9
6. Answer the devil with God’s word that we have memorized and hidden in our hearts. Psalm 119:11
7. Confront the adversary with the authority you have as one who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and who is filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
· God is our Helper. Psalm 54:4
· The Holy Spirit, who is given to us and indwells us in “another” Helper given to us. John 14:16; 15:26
8. Pray and invite the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and strength as you face the tempter. Proverbs 3:5-6; James 1:5-8
I pray that each of us sharpens our spiritual senses so that we can identify when a desire is not of God, but of Satan and that we will be quick to confront him with the truth about Jesus, using God’s word like a very sharp sword.
Let us go on in the victory that is ours in Christ.