The three-fold temptation of Jesus Christ after he was baptised by John and fasted for forty days and forty night is illustrative of not only the temptation of Eve in the third chapter of the book of Genesis by the serpent but also of the three kinds of traps a believer should avoid (Luke 4:1-13).
Temptation means nothing to the unbeliever because according to Jesus they do only what their father, the devil does (John 8:44). There is no temptation for a cheetah when you tell it to run, it was made like that. You can’t “tempt” a bird to fly, since it can’t help it, it was made like that.
Eve was perfect and therefore a ripe choice for temptation from the devil, who wants to create people according to his own image, just as God created man in his own image.
Paul said that we should not be ignorant of the devices of the devil, lest he takes advantage of us (2Corinthians 2:11). If Jesus Christ had not been prepared to differentiate the prompting of God from that of the devil, he would have fallen into at least one of those traps, being God and all. That may offend your theology but remember that the temptation of Jesus Christ was real, it wasn’t playacting. Therefore we must not be ignorant of the wiles of the devil since Jesus Christ is our prime example.
From the three temptations of Jesus, we are made aware of three different ways the devil wants to draw you away, a child of God. Jesus, we were told was tempted on all points yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
One of temptations of Jesus involves turning stone into bread. It was a performance trap, which was to do something that God has not authorised but just to prove yourself. The bible says if any man would boast, let him boast in the Lord (1Corinthians 1:31, 2Corinthians 10:17). You do not need to prove yourself to anybody either by seeking their approval or in an attempt to shore up your image. It’s a trap! It distracts away from the will and ways of God. It is the pursuit of self rather than the pursuit of God.
Saul fell into the performance trap. God did not authorise him to offer sacrifices (1Samuel 13:8-14), which was Samuel’s job but Saul, did the contrary, and sinned against God. To achieve something under pressure he went beyond his bound.
That is a warning to all of us, to not because of a goal, shift the goal-post, refuse to maintain the standard of God. Do not be deceived, God’s ways are as important as his aims. Satan wanted Jesus to yield to pressure in a way that shows his life depends on performance. Instead, Jesus showed that he realised His life depends on knowing God’s instruction and living by it.
The performance trap is the temptation to do something with the arm of the flesh (Jeremiah 17:5). When there is strife in your midst as a church a good number of people have fallen into the performance trap. Paul speaking of the Corinthians church called them carnal, fleshly driven; though they can speak in tongues “till the heavens fall,” because of the competitive spirit among them (1Corinthians 3:1-4).
Another of the temptation of Jesus is the recognition trap. Where Satan told Jesus, if you as a son of God, jump down from this high place, then angelic attention would be attracted to you.
In other words, Satan was saying, “show me who you are, establish your reputation!” When a man seeks revenge in any form, after being wronged, that is the recognition trap. When Jesus and his disciples were refused entry in a place, James and John wanted to call down fire to consume the city (Luke 9:51-55), in a brazen “exhibition”of “who they were”, that nobody should mess with them and go scot-free because of their clout. But Jesus restrained them, refusing to entertain their exhibitionist spirit. Don’t fall into that trap.
Jesus was described as someone whose voice would not be heard in the street (Matthew 12:15-21), meaning he is not loudmouthed.
He did not seek attention to himself; neither did he seek the accolades of men. He even said if they receive the testimony of man, it is not the final conclusion, but the approval of God was all that he needed (John 5:34, 38). Ambition fuels the motion of people into the recognition trap. Jesus warned that if you are invited to a dinner, you should not pick the most important seat to recline, it is better to be called up that to be relegated (Luke 14:7-11). As it is written, God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (1Peter 5:5).
The last of the Jesus’ temptation trio is the acquisition trap, were Satan told Jesus that if He would bow down and worship him, he would give Him all the glory of the world.
The love of money, Paul wrote, is the root of all kinds of evil (1Timothy 6:10). Demas was part of the apostolic ministry of Paul, but along the line he got distracted. He could not live by the restrictions of the ministry, and abandoned his calling for the sake of filthy lucre (2Timothy 4:10-11). Paul said Demas loved this world.
Jesus sounded a word of caution, saying, “beware of covetousness, the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses (Luke 15:12).” The acquisition trap is about “my belly first (Romans 16:18, Philippians 3:19).” And “if there is no financial benefit, there is no benefit at all.” That person is a closed system, living in a perpetual bribe mode, where everything for him has a monetary colouration.
When we are free from the above tendencies then we are free indeed. Eve fell into the performance trap, she felt restricted by God and set out to perform in the “wisdom” that God has not authorised.
She fell into the recognition trap, by desiring to be recognised as being wise, to be like God.
There was also the acquisition trap in Eve acquiring by the simply stretch a hand the fruit that she was told to avoid on the pain of death. However, the pull to acquire that illegality was stronger than the word of God in her. The satanic arguments were so strong that she yielded.
She wanted to attain wisdom by the arm of flesh (performance trap [she just must do it]); she set out to be as wise as God thereby setting up a competition (recognition trap [she just must “be” it]). And she appropriated for her use the forbidden fruit, which was stealing (acquisition trap [she just must have it]).
David said let the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord (Psalm 19:14). All these traps, reveals certain tendencies in the heart. They are tendencies which all of us have, being partakers of the sins of Adam and Eve by natural birth.
In Christ the whole essence of spiritual discipline is to make us less and less susceptible to these traps, to re-prime our mind, to embrace the humility of Christ (Philippians 2:3-11), and His words (Colossians 3:16-17); to be able to live fully His life (Galatians 2:20).
WordFromGod: I am setting up a new kingdom with new principles in your heart.
- “Tempted…God Will Provide A Way Out” (thewordtransforms.wordpress.com)
- Satan Loves Seeking Out Baby Christians Part 1 Of A Mini Series Called Satan’s Hidden Tactics (dailyaspects.wordpress.com)
- How to Resist Temptation Like Jesus (ptl2010.com)
- Overcoming Temptations – Part I (tehgood.wordpress.com)
- Resisting Temptation (dailybibleplan.com)
- Bible Notes: God’s Armor for Us (finalwakeupcall.wordpress.com)
- THE GOSPEL OF JESUS: Swordfight In The Desert (internationalgatheringofchristianyouths.wordpress.com)
- Which way do you run when temptation calls? (examiner.com)