The Lord seems to teach me about His word by giving me a “ponderable” (as opposed to an imponderable). One ponderable I’ve contemplated is Jesus’ temptation after His baptism. I had heard a radio evangelist preach about that once and he said that Jesus’ temptations represent the same kinds of temptations that we all experience. When one looks at the three of them (Matthew 4:1-10) they seem to be the temptation to let ourselves be driven by our physical appetites, by the lure of the pleasure of materialism/ accumulation of wealth and worldly power, and by the temptation to test our status or value to God, others, or ourselves (ego fulfillment). Recently for a Disciple I class I was reading the Genesis account of satan’s temptation of Eve. Genesis 3:7 says that she saw that it was good for food (physical appetite), was pleasant to the eyes (appeal to pleasure/materialism/covetousness/accumulation) and would make one wise (ego self gratification, to become like God). I had pondered the similarity between the types of the temptations in these two scriptures. Then this past week I was reading Robert Munger’s “My Heart, Christ’s Home” and I saw this quote from 1 John 2:16 “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.” It seems to me that, in this scripture, John is recapping and characterizing the three types of temptations that mankind faced in the Garden of Eden and Christ, too, experienced in the wilderness. Seeing this same triad of temptations in these three locations suggests to me that it is worthy of note. In fact, my experience has taught me that anytime I observe God repeating something three times, it is definitely noteworthy. The question becomes, are the temptations that we experience all reducable to these three categories? I suspect that fundamentally, they are. If so, what do we learn from Christ’s response compared to Eve’s? Obviously, Christ 1.)knew the source of the temptations and 2.) rejected them using God’s Word. Eve didn’t. We, too, should grow spiritually to the point that we can recognize the temptations that beset us, knowing their source. Our knowledge of the Word should be thorough enough to give us all the defense we need when faced with the temptations.
I’ll be aware of the temptations that I experience and those that I see in Scripture from now on, pondering which category they seem to fit.