“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1John 2:16)
Most of us know this, but it is good to be reminded… there are really only three ways in which we are ever tempted.
The temptation of the flesh (our physical desires). The temptation of our eyes (wanting things that we see). And the temptation of pride (elevating our own self-importance).
As we recall, way back in the Garden… this was the tempter’s tactic with Eve.
As Eve was considering whether or not to give in to the tempter’s ploy, Genesis records her thoughts: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was a delight to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” (3:6) The devil appealed to her flesh, her eyes, and her pride. We all know (and are living in!) the rest of the story.
We may also recall that this was the tempter’s same approach with Jesus in the wilderness. He appealed to His physical needs (flesh). He showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth (eyes). And, because He was too important to die, He tried to goad Him into throwing Himself off the highest point of the temple (pride).
Every temptation is a version of one of these three things – but, ultimately, all of them boil down to one… who will be “calling the shots” of our lives = who gets to be God?
The tempter’s schemes are simple, but effective. They allow him to keep a tight rein on this world’s people.
The sad thing is that it also allows him unwarranted access into the lives of many Christians.
Think about our addictions.
They are our bodies calling the shots. Ruling over us – and our decisions to give in to them strengthens their hold over us. It is a vicious, never-ending circle. Our fleshly desires can be a relentless beast!
Think about our ambitions.
“Climb the ladder of success. Get to the top. Assert yourself. Eat that “other dog” before you are eaten. Be somebody – no matter who you may have to trample to get there. Make yourself important.”
Think about our attractions (what we see daily).
The entire commercial industry is based on getting us to see something “awesome” and getting us to want it… no matter the cost. We can’t watch TV (or go to the movies for that matter) without being inundated with “get this, be that, take control of your life – you can’t live without it.”
We often forget who is behind all this. He doesn’t have to be smart – as long as he is subtle. Get us to think how he wants us to think. Get us to reject the thoughts of the One Who made us – Who is always right and true.
And I’m just talking about us… God’s people. We aren’t even really talking about the people of this world. He doesn’t even really have to work on them… they’ve already bought in – because all those three lusts… are just human nature.
We need to challenge ourselves, as Christians, to live in the freedom Jesus has provided – freedom from the lies and deceptions of the enemy of God. And freedom IN the deliverance that Jesus won for us at the cross.
And we need to become people of the Word again. So we can meet every temptation of the enemy just as our Liberator met them… “It is written!”