Overcoming Satan's Temptation- Lesson 3
Eve was tempted by Satan and gave in to the flesh, separating mankind from God. Genesis 3:6:
“6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
She gave in to the desires of the flesh in three ways. This gives a roadmap of how Satan leads us from God and his amazing blessings and plans for us:
Desire of the flesh: Doubting God’s provision. Wanting more than God has given us.
Pleasing to the eye: Doubting God’s love. Wanting something to make us more loved.
The Pride of Life: Doubting God’s plan. Desire for knowledge and control.
The third and final temptation is the desire for knowledge and control. Seeking knowledge in itself is not a sin, but when we seek to use that knowledge to elevate ourselves and control our destiny and others, we have given into the sin of Pride. God’s perfect plan was for mankind to rule over the earth. Genesis 1:28:
“28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
When Eve gave into the temptation of needing more knowledge to gain control of her own destiny by desiring knowledge, she made Satan her god by following him rather than obeying God. The result was a constant struggle between Satan and God’s children. When rely on our knowledge and not God, we will suffer lack of peace and struggle to gain control. God reveals this consequence in when he tells Satan in Genesis 3:15:
“15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Satan will continue to nip at our heals to bring death to us. Not only that, but those “children” or the people who follow Satan will come at us, ready to destroy us. The good news is that God also revealed that we would be able to “crush your head.” Jesus faced this same temptation and shows us how to do just that in Luke 4:5-7:
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
This passage shows that Satan was in control of this world and was offering Jesus a shortcut around the cross. Jesus knew his road would be painful eventually leading to the cross, but he chose to follow God’s plan instead. Satan acknowledged that he needed Jesus to worship him to come under his authority, but Jesus refused giving that authority to God alone. Luke 4:8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
Many people fall into this trap of Satan. For me it became apparent in 2008. At this time, I was using my own will and knowledge instead of seeking God’s. My investments and income were based in real estate, and I could see the inflated prices of the real estate bubble and knew that it would come crashing down. Because I was not walking with God and submitting to his will, I did what I thought would shelter me from the crash. My plan failed and in 2009 I lost my home and another investment property. At 38, I had a 2-year-old son and we became homeless. This was a turning point in my life. I realized that no matter how much I thought I knew, without God it was worthless. Until this point, I had placed my own knowledge and will for my life in my own hands, confident I knew how to handle it. I served myself, and allowed the worldly knowledge to replace God’s direction in my life. As I turned back to God, and allowed Him to direct my path over the next 8 years, He taught me how to rely on Him instead of my own will. It was not an easy road, but God was such a gentle teacher always patient and allowing me to see the choice to follow Him. As I allowed Him to direct me, he provided a home in Port Aransas, a loving Christian husband and a desire to do all I can for Him every day.
When we admit that we do not have the answers but instead submit to God’s plan, we crush the head of Satan. While on earth, Jesus was our example as he gave up His will and submitted to the will of the Father. John 5:19:
“19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
To be successful, we must not try to use our own power, but do what God wants us to do. In return, for Jesus’ obedience even to take the cross, God gave Jesus the authority here on earth and it was removed from Satan when he was resurrected. Matthew 28:18:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Prior to his death and resurrection, he began to train his followers how to use the authority of God. In Luke 10:1 Jesus sends out not just the 12 disciples, but 72 others and the demons submit in the name of Jesus.
“1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.”
Notice that he sent out his followers to “go ahead of him”. God asks us to use the authority he gives us to prepare others for Jesus. It is important the we realize that God has a plan for us. He wants to give us the authority so that we may pave the way for people to receive Jesus. After his resurrection, Jesus gives a direct order to his followers. As he was preparing the disciples for his death, he told them about the authority we will have after he leaves. John 16:23:
“23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
Some people misinterpret this as a blank check to receive anything they want like a new car, a larger house and all the desires of the flesh. But if you look more closely at the scripture, “in my name” had a meaning that has been lost in time and translation. Names were important in the time of Jesus. Jesus renamed Simon, “Peter”, meaning rock when he acknowledged him as the son of God. The name of Jesus is Yeshua in Hebrew and means “God Saves”. The disciples would know this and know that what Jesus was saying is “Ask in the name of salvation.” Therefore, what we are asking for needs to be in the name of, or for the purpose of salvation. Does this mean that God’s children should live in poverty and never receive anything for themselves? Absolutely NOT! Jesus taught that the Father wants to give us good gifts in Matthew 7:7-11:
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
The key here is to allow God to bring them to you. Ask him for what you want and trust that if it is a good gift, he will give it. Let Him use his knowledge and wisdom instead of you forcing yours. Remember He knows all, both present and future. Trust Him to know what is best. John explains this further in 1 John 3:21-24:
“21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them.”
When we are in God’s will, our hearts will be free of condemnation and guilt. It is a relationship with God that we should seek where we love him, keep his commands and ask him for anything without guilt. Which bring us to how we can know if we are walking in God’s will, or seeking to please the desires of the flesh. Jesus promised his believers the power to do all he did and more. Every miracle Jesus did and more is available you us not for our glory, but for the glory of the Father and Son. John 14: 12-14:
“12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it”.
To help us, God sent us the Holy Spirit. We need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us. If you desire something and ask God for it, the Holy Spirit will let you know if it's part of God's will. In my experience, a feeling of peace will enter in if it is part of God's will. If it's not of God, I feel anxious, uncertain, or guilty. Jesus promises the help of the Holy Spirit in John 14: 15-17:
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth”.
Notice, there is a condition to this awesome power and authority. We need to “keep my commands”. Jesus taught that there is no middle ground. He explains further, you either love him and keep his commandments, or you don’t. John 14:23-24:
“23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
Jesus had said the same thing earlier in stronger more definite way. Matthew 12:30:
“’Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.’”
When we fail to see God’s blessing in our lives, we need to ask God if we are failing to keep Jesus’ commands. Ask Him to direct you so that you may see the abundance that God offers His children. What are the commandments? Jesus said if we do two “love God and love others” all the other commandments will take care of themselves. Matthew 22:37-40:
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
When we act in love instead of our own best interest, we are keeping his commandments. Jesus’ last instruction to his followers should never be forgotten. Matthew 28:19-20:
“19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
As you receive God's blessing and gifts, to keep the flow going, we need to use the gifts to bring others to Him. To teach people to obey Jesus, we must know him. As you seek to follow him, spend time in the word of God to get to know who he is so that we can make disciples.