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Three Avenues Of Temptation


1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love 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 pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


In this passage we see Satan's three main avenues of temptation:


1. The lust of the eyes - means forbidden longing or desire, covetousness, following after the sight of the eyes.

2. The lust of the flesh - means carnal desires, fulfilling the appetites of the flesh; fulfilling physical appetites outside of the will of God.

3. The pride of life - means selfishness, self-seeking; self-advancement.
pride = (Strong's #213) boasting, bragging, (by implication) self-confidence.
life = bios, physical life (as opposed to spiritual life, zoe).

Contrast the pride of life with charity (love) in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

We see Satan using these three main avenues of temptation in his temptations of Eve and Jesus:



Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.


The tree was good for food - the lust of the flesh.
It was pleasant to the eyes - the lust of the eyes.
A tree to be desired to make one wise - the pride of life.

Eve disregarded the Word of God (the command given previously to Adam) and gave in to the temptation.



Matthew 4:1-3 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.


Temptation to turn the stones to bread - the lust of the flesh.


Matthew 4:5-6 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 any time Thou dash thy foot against a stone.


Temptation to tempt God and endanger Himself - the pride of life, ie. you are so important God won't let you hurt yourself recklessly.


Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.


Temptation to worship Satan to receive the kingdoms of the world - the lust of the eyes.

Jesus overcame all these temptations by continually meditating on and submitting Himself to the Word of God.


Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.


Matthew 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.


"Viewing the Old Testament in its unity, and the Messiah as the apex in the column of its history, we admit - or rather, we must expect - throughout points of correspondence between Moses, Elijah, and the Messiah. In fact, these may be described as marking the three stages in the history of the Covenant. Moses was its giver, Elijah its restorer, the Messiah its renewer and perfecter. And as such they all had, in a sense, a similar outward consecration for their work. But that neither Moses nor Elijah was assailed by the Devil, constitutes not the only, though a vital, difference between the fast of Moses and Elijah, and that of Jesus. Moses fasted in the middle, Elijah at the end, Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. Moses fasted in the Presence of God; Elijah alone; Jesus assaulted by the Devil. Moses had been called up by God; Elijah had gone forth in the bitterness of his own spirit; Jesus was driven by the Spirit. Moses failed after his forty days' fast; when in indignation he cast the Tables of the Law from him; Elijah failed before his forty days' fast; Jesus was assailed for forty days and endured the trial. Moses was angry against Israel; Elijah despaired of Israel; Jesus overcame for Israel." (Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah, Volume 1 Page 295)


There is another aspect of these temptations I would like to look more in-depth at later: the questioning and doubting of the Word of God, but will save that for another study.


I will end on this neat observation that the Lord pointed out to me this morning in my studying.


Look at the comparison between these two passages:


Matthew 4:8-9 Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.


Revelation 21:10-11 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;


The first passage deals with the kingdoms of the world, the temporal glory of them, and the temptation to turn aside to gain that "glory". The second passage deals with the Kingdom of Heaven, the eternal glory thereof - and we know for a fact that this city shown here is the Lord's! Jesus did not have to compromise to gain it! In fact, had He done so, He would have lost it for Himself and for us! Praise the Lord that the Son of God was faithful and did not give in to the temptations of the Devil!


Written September 6th, 2004
Jerry Bouey

Eagle's Wings Ministries


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