There are more important things than what we can see and feel and touch. Eternal things. Things we cannot necessarily see, but which have a far more lasting impact than those things we can see.
In the First Epistle of John, we read,
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. I John 2:15-17
The middle verse gives three things that are in the world, things we are not to love or serve:
- the lust of the flesh
- the lust of the eyes
- the pride of life
These things of the world pass away, but he that does the will of God abides forever.
When the devil tempted Christ after Christ had fasted forty days and forty nights, the devil tempted Christ with these same three things. Christ defeated the devil by the word of God.
The lust of the flesh
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:1-4
Jesus was certainly hungry–he hadn’t eaten in forty days. So the devil suggested to him that if he was the Son of God, he could change those stones into bread and satisfy his hunger. Jesus knew he could change the stones into bread, but God had not told him to do so. To do so without God’s blessing would be to serve the lust of the flesh rather than God. So he answered, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
God’s word is more important than food. God’s word keeps us alive. God’s word spoke us into existence and God’s word sustains us.
The lust of the eyes
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Matthew 4:5-7
Trying a different tactic, the devil took Jesus, who was probably feeling pretty faint and perhaps not in the most cheerful of moods since he hadn’t had a bite to eat in forty days, to the top of a high place on the roof of the temple in the city. The devil quoted scripture to Jesus, from Psalms, and suggested that Jesus jump off the building, since God’s angels ought to catch him.
Jesus knew the scripture the devil was quoting, and Jesus also knew another scripture: Thou shalt not tempt [or test] the Lord thy God.
God keeps his word. Jesus did not need to see it to believe it. The lust of the eyes is the desire to see something. The lust of the eyes says, Can you really do this, Lord? If so, prove it. But God’s word says, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
It is more important that we walk by faith, not by sight.
The pride of life
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. Matthew 4:8-11
This time, the devil tried to tempt Jesus to take what would rightfully belong to Jesus, but before God’s timing. All the kingdoms of the world do belong to Christ, but he was not to experience it yet. The pride of life would jump at the chance to have all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. But Jesus said, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
It is more important to stay faithful and worship God and serve only him, than to have any worldly prize, or any gifts God has given you or will give you.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. I John 2:17
The more important things, eternal things, are what we live and hope for.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2
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