In Luke’s version of the wilderness temptations of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13), Satan tempted our Lord in three ways. But don’t let the small number fool you. Virtually every conceivable temptation has its roots in those three enticements. John summarizes them as follows, “...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).
Below is a breakdown of the three temptations Jesus faced, followed by a correlation to our temptations.
1. The Lust of the Flesh
- After fasting 40 days in the wilderness Jesus was on the verge of starvation. Satan challenged Him to demonstrate His divinity by turning stones to bread and satisfying His hunger. But Jesus refused, citing a greater need for His Father's word (Luke 4:3-4).
- Satan is keenly familiar with our fleshly appetites, and would have us seek to satisfy them first and foremost. Although certain physical needs should be met, none compares to our need for God’s word.
2. The Lust of the Eyes
- In a moment of time, Satan showed Jesus all the world’s kingdoms and offered Him full control in exchange for worshipping the tempter. It must have been genuinely tempting, for Jesus could have literally ruled the world! But worshipping Satan was out of the question!
- Although our eyes are crucial for safely navigating this world, Satan temps us to look at things that hinder spiritual growth or pollute our souls. But we must control what we see, regardless of Satan's allurements and enticing promises.
3. The Pride of Life
- Satan dared Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple to prove His identity and substantiate God’s promise to protect Him. Pride could have prompted Jesus to jump, but He refused. Testing God’s promises would violate His Father's will - Deut. 6:16.
- Pride has caused countless problems for people, including Christians. Sometimes we are tempted to believe that we are a “bit better than others”. Such feelings, however, inevitably lead to haughtiness, a judgmental spirit, anger, bitter words and grudges. Remember - “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
Jesus forever proved that temptations can be overcome by using God's word. In fact, He was "in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). It all began when He resisted the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
May God help us to follow in His steps – 1 Pet. 2:21.
A Recommitted Me in 2023!