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Temptation Comes In Three Forms

The book of John tells us that in this world, there are three categories of temptation:

  • The desire of the flesh (the things our physical body craves)

  • The desire of the eyes (the things that look good or that we think make us look good)

  • The pride of life (the things that give us status)

We see that Adam and Eve were tempted in these three categories. The fruit was good for food (the desire of the flesh), it was pleasant to look at (the desire of the eye) and it had promise to make them wise (the pride of life).  When Jesus was tempted on the mount, he too went through these temptations. (Matthew 4).  Our own temptations in life come in these three forms. Overcoming them requires that, like Jesus, we lean on the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, and the spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, serving, sacrifice, giving and so forth.  But these are not magic potions that ward off evil.  This is the very stuff of which the Kingdom of God is made.  The Holy Spirit gives us insight and wisdom and exposes the real nature of our temptation.  He is our comforter and our very present guide through the troubled times. Scripture is our rock, our foundation, our insight into the goodness and essence of God.  It is the light that shines into the dark, insidious corners of our temptation.  The spiritual disciplines strengthen us in our inner man, giving us fortitude and courage and, quite practically, a holy task that keeps us occupied. (As my grandmother used to say, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”.) The work of Orchard: Africa falls very much into this last category – the spiritual disciplines.  In caring for the vulnerable, we serve, we give, we sacrifice. Our work is a holy task, bringing relief to the distressed and development to the underserved.  We see that in his time on earth, Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. This then, is our task too.   In sacrifice and serving, in prayer and fasting, in giving and going, we are about our Father’s business.  Temptation will come to care for our own body a little too much, or to try to look good once too often or to work on our position in life far too hard.  When these enticements come and we are found elbows deep in the Father’s work, the enemy of our soul will discover, once more, that greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.   (1 John 2:16) May we think on these things!

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