3 Ways Satan Tries to Tempt Us
I was recently reading a devotional that hit on a particular point that I hadn’t considered before. The sins of this world can be summed up as three things. The desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride of life. Those are the 3 ways Satan tries to tempt us. They are listed in 1 John.
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
1 John 2:16 (ESV)
Let’s look at this a bit further. Then, we’ll look at what our response should be. Man’s fall started with Adam and Eve.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Desires of the flesh – the tree was good for food.
Satan will do anything in his limited power to tempt us and he will use whatever it is about us that he knows will physically distract us. Whether it’s food, sex, drugs or alcohol, satan will try to use it against us. The tree was good for food, but God said not to eat of it. Wine is okay to drink. However, drinking enough wine to distort your thoughts and forgot things is using it to satisfy some need. Food is good to eat and we need to eat, but gorging on a food to eat away the pain or take your mind off things is not. When you use things outside of the will of God, you are trying to get your needs met by some earthly thing.
Desires of the eyes – it was a delight to the eyes.
The tree was pleasing to the eye, but God said not to eat of it. The things of this earth are only temporary. Fulfillment can never come from something that is outside of God. That fulfillment will only be temporary. Every addiction starts with just one attempt. No one goes into an addiction saying “I want to be addicted”. However, the feeling of euphoria is only temporary, and you soon desire more and more until you are consumed. It doesn’t even feel good anymore, now you’re trying to stop the pain. When you go after something that is pleasing to the eye, but is not yours and should not be yours, your temptations may lead you down the wrong path. A temporary feeling of happiness may lead to a lifetime of negative consequences.
Pride of life – when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God.
Eve’s eyes were definitely opened, but she was not like God. She got to see true evil and was removed from the Garden. Satan will try to lure you with fame or some elevated status. Unfortunately, many of us think that this will make us worthy. If you gain your self-worth from what people think of you rather than who you are in Christ, you will become obsessed with keeping up appearances and will lose yourself in the process.
He tried it with Jesus.
Satan made this same attempt with Jesus. When Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, he was hungry and weak. Satan tried to make his move, but Jesus’ response was much different that Eve’s.
The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 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.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”10 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.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV)
Desires of the flesh.
Jesus was hungry, but refused to turn the stones into bread as bread alone does not sustain us. It is the Word of God. After 40 days and nights of fasting, Jesus was weak and extremely hungry. But, he refused this temptation.
Pride of life.
Jesus was told that the angels would protect Him. The promise is from Psalm 91.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91:11-12 (ESV)
If God is willing to do this for His children, then surely He will protect His Son. This is a test of pride. However, Jesus refused this temptation.
Desires of the eyes.
Jesus was taken high enough to see all of the earthly kingdoms he could possess. He could have power and glory on earth; He could have it all. But only on earth and only if He bowed down to satan. But, Jesus refused this temptation. He will only serve God!
Satan will try this with you.
Satan will come at us with everything he can to get us to bow down and worship him. You may have your fulfillment on earth, the fame and the power, but at what cost? It’s only temporary. Look at the people who’ve fallen for this. You see, time and time again, the fallout from desiring the things of this earth.
When satan comes to you offering his weak trappings, remember the response of Jesus. In His weakened state, he refused the temptations of satan. Man cannot live by bread alone but by the Word of God. Do not tempt the Lord your God and worship God alone.
Pray and study God’s word. He will keep you strong.
Prayer for today.
Our Father, evil comes for us, knowing our weaknesses. I pray that we keep Your words in our heart. Please give us your wisdom when we are tempted. Thank You for showing us the way.
In Jesus’ name.