I was talking last week in my blog about the love that God hates. We saw that God hates for us as believers to fall in love with the worldly system. In the verse we covered in John’s 1st epistle in chapter 2 we saw that we are not to love the worldly system. The next verse explains to us how the worldly system appeals to us. We began reading in verse 15, “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (v.15-16 NKJV). In verse 16 Johns shares all the ways Satan tempts us to fall in love with the world. I believe all the possible sins we could ever commit are included in these 3 temptations. Satan has no new tricks. Let us consider for a moment how these temptations work.
First “the lust of the flesh” is mentioned. This is our physical gratification. These can be many times genuine, legitimate needs and desires that Satan endeavors to cause us to express in evil ways. One of the areas I struggle with in my personal life is the area of overeating. The need to eat is a natural physical appetite that all of us have. But when I am tempted to practice gluttony (like when I stand at a buffet counter) than that appetite becomes an illegitimate expression of a legitimate physical need.
The 2nd attraction that is mentioned is the “lust of the eyes”. This reveals our tendency to be captivated by the outward show of the things. One of Satan’s main strategic is the appeal to our eyes. That is why pornography is such a problem for many today. We can seek mental pictures that stimulate physical reactions. Every once in a while I will hear a song from the 70’s and the words instantly come back to me. Today’s young people have not only the words coming back to them but the mental pictures from MTV and videos. Satan is constantly trying to capture our mental focus with physical images through the “lust of the eyes”.
The 3rd area of attraction is “pride of life”. The Greek word for life is bios from which we get our English world biology which is the study of living organisms. Satan loves to give us a sense of our superiority over others. Satan loves for us to be impressed with our own self-importance. That is why it is so important for us to never forget Jesus’ words in John’s gospel where he says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing”, (15:5 NKJV). Many today have a sense of security based on material possessions or fame. Many are willing to sacrifice their own honesty and integrity in order to win at all cost. But remember it was pride that caused Satan’s fall. So beware because worldliness creeps up on the believer as a very gradual process.
I think all 3 of these temptations are seen in the 1st sin in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis. Remember after being tempted by Satan we read, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for good (the lust of the flesh), that is was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eye), and a tree desirable to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate”, (3:6 NKJV- emphasis added). What a warning for us to keep abiding every closely into the hands and heart of Jesus, for apart from Him we can really do nothing.
For God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo