Satan targets ministers of the gospel. Part of spiritual leadership is leading yourself in guarding against temptation. God has been most helpful in this regard by telling us in advance where Satan will try and trip us up. When Satan tempts us it will be in one of three areas: 1) Pleasure, 2) Possessions or 3) Pride or some combination of the three. In this post I want to show you that all temptation comes from one (or a combination) of these three sources, and to do that I’ll give you four examples:
- Genesis 3:6, When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Good for food = pleasure. Pleasing to the eye = possessions. Desirable for gaining wisdom = pride.
- Deuteronomy 17:16-17, The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself… 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. Many wives = pleasure. Large amounts of silver and gold = possessions. Great numbers of horses = pride (horses were used in war so this is pride in military might).
- Matthew 4:1-10, Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Tell these stones to become bread = pleasure. All this I will give you…if you bow down and worship me = possessions. Throw yourself down and the angels will rescue you = pride.
- 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 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.” Lust of the flesh = pleasure. Lust of the eyes = possessions. The pride of life = you guessed it! Pride! 🙂
Be on guard in these three areas and you’ll do well to avoid the many temptations that are common to us all (1 Corinthians 10:13).