We Can Do/Have/Be…Wha? PART 3
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. 1 John 2:15-16 (NASB)
So today, as I continue with this series on understanding temptation, I have some bad news to share with you all. Are you ready…brace for impact…it’s gonna be a doozy…like a nuclear bomb in the desert…sand going everywhere…FACING TEMPTATION IS A LIFELONG STRUGGLE!! And here is the crux of the biscuit in it all, this will happen in the life of trusting believers in Jesus Christ. It is not a maybe, as a matter of fact, for us folk who understand that Jesus IS Lord and Savior it is a constant, daily struggle. And it all came from that moment in The Garden, AND we can bring it into three categories…a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.
So here is what the physical pleasure part would sound like, in the terms of hunger, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Now jettison to Matthew 4, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” In both cases there is challenge to partake of food but where Adam and Eve fell for self-gratification, Jesus’ rebuke to the adversary was classic, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” To be honest with you, I don’t think Adam and Eve saw it coming but when given the choice they chose themselves. Jesus understood His enemy and was not overcome by him. In both cases the physical craving of food is real but trusting on the goodness of God prevailed.
Now about the craving for everything we see…”She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious” It’s easy to live by sight, isn’t it? Dare I even say that it easy to worship by sight? (i.e. Golden Calf) Sometimes I wonder if we covet a god that will serve us (like he is supposed to?) That’s what happens in our hearts when we live by sight. We see something then, if the tree is beautiful and the fruit looks delicious, we want it. We even think we can go to the Throne of Grace and petition for it but the God we petition to is not The Golden Calf is He? In Mark Shaw’s booklet “Understanding Temptation” he put it like this, “In the lust of the eyes temptation, God’s omniscience, or perfect wisdom, is challenged by a desire in the heart to trust in one’s own best thinking and ideas.” Hmmmm….
Now the adversary knew that Jesus would look upon Jerusalem and pray for it so in his own challenge to God’s perfect wisdom why not just give Jerusalem (along with many other kingdoms) to Jesus in exchange for worship of him. Once again, understanding the enemy and not being overcome by him won the day, “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only Him.” Even the serpent has to understand that the LORD is his God and that it is futile to think otherwise. But Satan lives by sight, doesn’t he? (Because he can only see himself as God) Anyway…
The next time I join you we’ll walk into that pride of life stuff. It gets messy in that muck and miry so don’t forget your glosses (you old-timers get that one). Until then think about what you look at and ask yourself if it is really worth it. Proverbs 4:25 say’s, “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” 2Corinthians 10:7 say’s, “Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do.” And there’s this slice of advice from 1Thessalonians 5:22, “Stay away from every kind of evil.” If we desire to possess what God has not yet given to us (or maybe plans on not giving at all) regardless of consequence the only thing that can be gleaned from it is regret. Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and blogs weekly for Freedom Fighter
Think About This: “Observe a solemn principle: There are times when hearts grow so hard and ears so dull that God turns us over to endure the consequences of our choices.”—Max Lucado
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Paul, a servant[a] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began[b] 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; Titus 1:1-2