2013-02-14 - Temptations: Types
Originally Published 2006-02-14
According to John, all temptations fall into one of three categories. 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. (1 John 2:16)
The lust of the flesh indicates the desires or longings of the most basic animal nature. Jesus was tempted to serve himself by using his power to fill his belly. He refuted Satan. "Man shall not live by bread alone," proclaimed Jesus, "but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." But Eve "saw that the tree was good for food". We, too, must strive for God to be the source of our daily bread.
The lust of the eyes points to that which is pleasing to the eye. As Albert Barnes wrote in his commentary, this means, "that which is designed merely to gratify the sight. This would include, of course, costly raiment, jewels, gorgeous furniture, splendid palaces, pleasure-grounds (sic), etc. The object is to refer to the gay vanities of this world, the thing on which the eye delights to rest where there is no higher object of life." It would also include money with which all these vanities can be bought. Jesus was thus tempted with all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus resisted the lure, but Eve saw that the fruit was "pleasant to the eyes." We must look towards that which we cannot see, but by faith know is there.
The pride of life is our "arrogant assumption" as it is called in the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary. It is our desire to be above everyone else. Jesus was tempted to demonstrate his power and authority before men in an all-about-me display, with the angels dashing in to keep him from falling. Jesus did not succumb to this deception, either. But Eve wanted to be made wise. We must be humble in all we do, acknowledging that it is not because of who we are, but in spite of it - by his grace bestowed upon us in our abilities.
No matter the type of temptation there is always a way to avoid sin. Temptation itself is not sin. It is a fork in the road. It is a choice; it is a question. Will you choose to sin, or will you choose to obey? The decision is yours, for you have the ability to do either.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Temptation is knocking. How will you answer?
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted.