Satan Tempted Jesus with Wordliness

I blogged a few days ago about worldliness, and mentioned the definition of worldliness in 1 John 5:16-17: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Today I read Matthew 4, where Satan tempts Jesus. It seems like Satan’s temptation of Christ follows the same pattern as the definition of wordliness.

First, Satan tempts Christ with the lust of the flesh. Turn these stones into bread. Feed your hunger. Satisfy what your flesh wants and needs.

Second, Satan tempts Christ with the pride of life. Throw yourself from the temple. Everyone will see you! You will prove that you are the Messiah.

Third, he tempted Christ with the lust of the eyes. Here’s the whole world, “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”. You can have it, just worship me.

And, like wordliness, none of this was intrinsically bad. There’s nothing wrong with food, or with worldly success or material gain. Those are generally good things. Except, like so many good things, when they get in the way of worshipping “the Lord your God, and serv[ing] Him only”.

Satan did not tempt Jesus with simply abandoning or rejecting the kingdom of heaven. He tempted Christ with _exchanging_ the kingdom of heaven for “the kingdo9ms of the world and their glory”.

Satan undoubtedly used his best weapons against Jesus. That weapon was wordliness – the temptation to exchange the spiritual for the carnal and temporal. He did not tempt Jesus with illicit sex, or with anger, or gossip, or theft, or anything like that. But don’t we usually think of those as our more serious temptations? I know I do. I’m generally oblivious to wordliness. If these temptations were the ones Satan selected to use against Christ, if they are Satan’s atomic bombs, then I should be more on guard against them.

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3 Responses to Satan Tempted Jesus with Wordliness

  1. Tony Rosen says:

    I was just reading this as well. How it struck me:

    Satan tempted Jesus to act for himself, seperately from God …

    When we act seperately from God, we are treading on some very dangerous ground.

  2. Mike says:

    Satan also approached Eve with the same scheme:
    good for food (flesh) good to look at (eyes) power to make them wise (pride) Genesis 3:6

  3. Steve Simon says:

    This was part of my devotional yesterday with my teenage kids: how Satan constantly entices them (us!) with worldly tempations. I had them list five things that they are constantly tempted by and how they are tempted to do those things, point being now that these temptations are identified, they can be countered.

    And here’s a “joke” I heard a long time ago concerning Satan’s temptation of Jesus: Jesus beat Satan by quoting His memory verses!

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