Are you aware that the enemy is coming after you in full force? Do you know that he has three tactics that he always uses? Do you understand how to overcome those three threats? Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
”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.” - 1 John 2:16
This question is often asked, “How was the Devil able to cause Adam and Eve to fall? How could they have been so stupid to give up intimacy with God, a perfect home in the garden, and eternal life for temporary pleasure?” Before passing too much judgement on them, let’s consider the fact that today we are in a better position than they were. But yet, we make the same mistake over and over again. Adam and Eve had no understanding of the consequence of sin. Though they were eternal, they were not omniscient. They did not have complete and unlimited knowledge. Their obedience to God had to be solely based on faith in God and nothing else since they had no way of truly knowing if the consequences of God’s instruction would be as severe as God said it would be or even what it meant. They were the first victims of the Devil’s triple threats; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. These triple threats are the basic way that the Devil tempts all of us, especially when we are facing spiritual warfare. He may use different tactics, but he always uses one of these three methods or all three. He used them with Adam and Eve, with Jesus, and with every human being that has ever lived. These triple threats are found in 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.”
The lust of the eyes — the illegal or immoral, intense and unrestrained look at something or someone that does not belong to you. This look feeds the imagination and fosters internal pleasure. This could be for a man or a woman, displayed in reality or through media tools like magazines, TV, movies, internet. This could also be for property that does not belong to you. The lust of the eyes says, “That looks good.”
The lust of the flesh— the illegal or immoral desire for physical pleasure. This could be for sex with someone you are not married to or same sex attraction. This could also be to eat or consume something that you are not supposed to have, such as foods with excessive calories. The lust of the flesh says, “I want to feel good.”
The pride of life — an obsession with yourself, derived from one’s personal achievements or associations. This leads to boasting about one’s personal accomplishments and/or feeling entitled to certain benefits, due to one’s achievements. This could be a desire to get certain things due to your status in life or wanting to be treated a certain way because of your accomplishments. Pride says, “I deserve this.”
So as you can see, the Devil carefully convinces us that something we should not have looks good, then he makes us want to feel good, and then brings us to the place where we feel we deserve it. So the next time you think you deserve something, ask yourself these questions: How would God feel about that? Do I feel I deserve it because I want to feel good? Do I think I deserve because it looks good? Is this illegal or immoral? Even if I deserve it, should I have it? Do I really need it?
Though it is clear that the Devil is the source of all temptation, he cannot tempt us without our cooperation. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14). So the next time the Devil tempts you, let him know that you are not going to cooperate and, trust me, he can never force you to do so. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). In addition, when you do resist the Devil, there are great rewards for you. “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). The question now is, how do you resist the Devils’ triple threats? James tells us in James 4:7a, “You must submit to God. This is what Jesus did when He was tempted.” No matter what the Devil said, Jesus kept repeating the Word of God in return. No matter how the Devil tried, Jesus would not move from God’s word (Luke 4:1-13). He submitted to God by knowing God’s word and, of course, by spending time in prayer. You cannot overcome temptations in the midst of spiritual warfare by an act of your will; it must be an act of the Spirit.
You must study the Word of God and seek Him in prayer so that God may reveal to you the internal void or issue that the Devil is using to lure you. You must pray that God fills that void or heals you of that issue, so that the Devil will have nothing to tempt you with, because remember, temptation is due to an internal desire.
What if you already yielded to the temptation? Repent. “My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Once you repent, do not walk in condemnation. Remember that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Repentance is a chance to start over. Condemnation is the Devil’s tool to hinder you from starting over. It keeps you burdened by the weight of your mistakes, which causes you to be continually enslaved by them. Whatever you are going through right now, seek God in prayer, pronounce the word on the situation and resist the Devil. Remember, unlike Adam and Eve, you know the consequences of your actions. You have seen many witnesses who have suffered from them and you have been a victim of it yourself. So go ahead and resist him and like a coward, he will flee.
My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the grace to identify the internal void or issue that is causing you to yield to temptations in the midst of spiritual warfare and that He will empower you by the Spirit and His Word so that you can resist the Devil.
Reflection: Do you know that the enemy has no authority unless you allow it?
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