Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love
Wilderness Temptation

Tempted by Need, Pride, and Desire

Can I Geek Out on You for a Minute?

When the Scripture readings for the week do something really cool.

Genesis and Matthew have three parallel references to sin & temptation

Lust of the Flesh / Need Temptation

Lust of Life / Pride Temptation

Lust of the Eyes / Desire Temptation

Two books, written many generations apart with parallel narratives!

& one thing I’ve been taught; when Scripture repeats itself – pay attention

 

The Lust of the Flesh – Tempted by Need

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die;

for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that

the tree was good for food, …

she took of its fruit and ate;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

 

Then the devil said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The Pride of Life – Tempted by Pride

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die;

for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that …

[the tree] was a delight to the eyes,

she took of its fruit and ate;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

 

Then the devil took him to the holy city
and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down;

for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

But Jesus said to him, “Again it is written,
‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

 

The Lust of the Eyes – Tempted by Desire

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die;

for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw …

the tree was to be desired to make one wise,
she took of its fruit and ate;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him
all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him,
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

 

What’s the Point:

Half of this job is spending time with the Scriptures & prayer hearing God

The other half is spending time listening to our world & all of you here.

And then looking for the common areas of overlap; like a Venn Diagram

What I’ve been sensing as an overlapping area has to do with

Our Own Personal Preferences v. Other People’s Needs

Adam & Eve represent preferences, Jesus represents other’s needs

Jesus’ whole life, ministry, & teaching are about sacrificing self for others

Consider 1 John 3:16-17 (as just one possible summary):

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

The Good News:

Thankfully, Jesus took up the needs of others; otherwise we’re sunk

Jesus talked of putting others first

and treating them as we want to be treated

Jesus lived a life that is an example of submission & service others’ needs

OUR NEEDS!

& following his example is more liberating than we usually imagine.

The world tells us to hang onto what we’ve got; to protect it from others

Jesus tells us that only by losing our lives will we gain life.

He shows us –

through his wilderness temptations,

through his death on a cross,

through his entire incarnation here on earth among us

That abdicating (or sacrificing) our personal preferences & privileges for the sake of the needs of others touches on the greatest commandment:

[Jesus] said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40 (remember last week with “the law & the prophets?”)

He said laying down our lives is the greatest love we can show another:

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13

 

We really can do this,

every day,

w/simple little examples of laying down our lives for another;

letting someone else go first;

letting go of something we’re clinging to, etc…

We don’t actually have to die in the literal sense.

We can only do that once, after all.

But we can lay down our lives,

or a little piece of it,

Sacrificed for another.

 

If we can pause long enough

and wake up enough to see the needs of others

the vulnerable, the ashamed, the persecuted, the struggling

and if we can let go of the personal preferences & privileges

that can make someone else’s needs more able to be met.

Well then, maybe we can be less like Adam & Eve, who consented to the

lust of the Flesh/Need lust of Life/Pride lust of the Eyes/Desire

& more like Jesus, who resisted the temptation to restore life to others

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