My passage of scripture for today is taken from Matthew 4, which is concerning the three temptations of Jesus by the devil in the wilderness. So, as I began to pray and to ask the Lord Jesus what he would want me to learn from this passage today, he brought to mind this scripture in 1 John 2, which is also concerning three temptations by Satan (the devil).
1 John 2:15-17 NASB: “Do not love the world nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”
As I read this, I began to see how Jesus’ three temptations and these three temptations parallel each other – the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes. And, I also began to see how Jesus modeled for us how to resist Satan and to flee temptation, and how to put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us (Eph. 6:10-20).
Jesus did not love the world of sin, and he did not lust after the things this world has to offer, but his desire was always to please his Father in heaven.
Matthew 4:1 ESV
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
First and foremost, we must understand that God does not tempt us to sin. But, he allows (permits) Satan to tempt us (see the story of Job in the Old Testament).
For, not only did God create the angel in heaven who would later rebel against him, who would then become Satan (the devil), who would then tempt Adam and Eve to sin against God, but he allowed Satan to continue to exist after he rebelled against God, and then to tempt man (humankind). And he created humans, knowing, too, that they would be tempted of Satan, and that they would sin against him.
But, I believe he allowed all of this so that we would have to choose him over sin and Satan, and so he would also draw us to his saving grace. For, he wants a people who would choose to love and to obey him. He doesn’t want marionettes on strings, or that is what he would have created.
Lust of the Flesh
Matthew 4:2-4 ESV
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Hunger and thirst can take many different forms. For, we can hunger for love, acceptance, attention, sinful pleasure, clothing, housing, food and/or drink. We can hunger for what is good, beneficial and necessary for us. Or, we can hunger and thirst after what is harmful to us and sinful.
But, even if what we are hungering and thirsting after is good, and it is necessary, and it is a legitimate need, Satan can find ways to twist that to his advantage by getting us to turn it into something that is not good, and that is not beneficial, and which is dishonoring to our Lord.
For, he will tempt us to take matters into our own hands, to doubt God, to not trust the Lord to meet our needs, and he will even tempt us to find sinful ways to meet what are legitimate needs. He will try to convince us that God is not paying attention, that he is not powerful enough to handle our circumstances, and that if we want action, we have to do it ourselves.
So, the encouragement here is to not put our main focus on what will satisfy our flesh, but it is to put our main focus on what is eternal, on what can satisfy our need for salvation from sin, and on what will direct our paths toward God and toward his righteousness and holiness.
For, scripture teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things which are needed will be added to us (Matt. 6:25-34).
Boastful Pride of Life
Matthew 4:5-7 ESV
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Satan was tempting Jesus here to respond in pride, and to prove himself to be who he said he was. But, he was also trying to get him to doubt God, for Jesus was God, and Satan was trying to convince him to doubt himself and that he had to prove himself to be who he was.
This is not saying that there won’t be times when we will need to defend ourselves. There were times when Jesus did defend himself to his accusers, as did Paul, but there were times, too, when they humbly accepted false accusations, persecutions, and rejections, etc. for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel of our salvation, and with a willingness to die in order to see others go free from sin.
And, there are going to be times in our lives, too, when we are being mistreated, or falsely accused, or taken advantage of when Satan will tempt us to be prideful and to want everyone to think well of us.
So, he will try to get us to come to our own defense, on our own, in order to try to convince others that we are not who they may think we are, or that we are better than they think we are. And, so we will have to resist him, and sometimes we will have to humbly accept people thinking ill of us when it is undeserved.
So, we will need the wisdom of God in these situations, and we will need to examine our own hearts and motives, too, as to when it is beneficial to defend ourselves against false accusations and when we are being prideful in just wanting everyone to think well of us.
Lust of the Eyes
Matthew 4:8-11 ESV
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Satan will also tempt us with the lust of the eyes, and he will try to convince us that, if we want all the things we are seeing with our eyes, that we have to compromise our faith and our convictions in order to get what we want.
He will convince even Christians that they have to lie, and steal, and commit adultery, and cheat, and manipulate to get what they want. He will convince them that they have to take matters into their own hands “to help God out,” or that the only way to get what they want is to do what is evil in God’s eyes. And, he will get them to believe their own lies, too, and to convince themselves that evil is good and that good is evil.
And, he has convinced so many people who call themselves Christians, too, that they can have their sinful addictions and still have heaven, too, if they will just buy into his lie which says that God requires of them no repentance or obedience. He has tricked so many people into believing his lies, too, for the lust of their eyes and of their flesh and their pride of life superseded any loyalty or devotion they may have felt for God alone.
So, we need to know Satan’s lies, his deceptions, his tricks, his manipulations, and his subtleties, too, in how smoothly he is able to introduce lies and to get people to accept them. And, then we need to be those who are in the Word daily, walking in the truth, and putting on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s schemes against us.
For, if we love (prefer) the ways of this sinful world, the love of the Father is not in us. But, the one who DOES the will of God lives forever (1 Jn. 2:15-17; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
Praise Be Told!
An Original Work / December 28, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
He was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for all our sin.
Our chastisement was upon Him.
By His stripes, we now are healed.
He has witnessed all our trials,
And the sins we choose to wear.
Yet, while we were dead in our sin,
Jesus died, our sins to bear.
He himself bore all of our sins
In His body on a cross,
So that we might die to our sin,
And live for His righteousness.
By faith in the pow’r of Jesus
And His blood shed for our sins,
We can be forgiven our sin,
And have life with God in heav’n.
He will lead us and He’ll guide us
In the way that we should go.
He will comfort and protect us,
Because Jesus, we do know.
Though He disciplines for our good,
He will heal us – Praise be told!
Do not fear, your Lord is with you.
Just have faith in Christ your Lord.
Friday, July 12, 2019