Lust of the Eyes
Eve saw that the food was “pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6). The “lust of the eyes” was the second channel of temptation through which Satan took advantage. Eve’s resolve was weakening. It looks good and I want it. What harm could possibly befall me if I took just one little bite? Seizing the opportunity, Satan said, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). “Don’t listen to God,” he hissed. “He is just trying to deny you some of life’s great pleasures. Do what is right in your own eyes. There are no serious consequences for choices that you make.”
The lust of the eyes subtly draws us away from the Word of God and eats away at our confidence in Him. We see what the world has to offer and desire it above our relationship with God. We begin to place more credence in our perspective of life than in God’s plans and promises. Fueled by the lust for what we see, we grab for all that we can get. Tempting lies have not changed since the original sin. Go ahead and do it. You know you want to. Everyone else is doing it. Why should you be denied? Who would know if you did? You will get away with it.
With Eve, Satan questioned the Word of God. With Jesus, he quoted Scripture, but in a diabolical way. “If you believe God’s Word is true, prove it. Jump off the Temple wall. God will save you by sending His angels to bear you up. You won’t even come close to hitting the rocks below” (see Matthew 4:6). Had Jesus jumped to His death, everyone’s confidence in God have been would be shattered.
However, Jesus was not going to be seduced by a passage taken out of context. He countered the temptation with a passage of Scripture that exposed Satan’s ploy: “Do not put the LORD your God to the test” (Deuteronomy 6:16). That verse follows the Shema (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9), which is still recited daily by orthodox Jews. Shema means “to hear so as to obey.”
The righteous live by faith in the written Word of God and do not demand that God prove Himself in response to our whims or wishes, no matter how noble we think our cause may be. God is under no obligation to us – He is under obligation only to Himself. There is no way that we can cleverly word a prayer so that God must respond to our will. Such thinking distorts the meaning of prayer and puts us in the position of trying to manipulate God.
A beloved man was once dying with cancer. Word spread throughout his church that four independent witnesses had all testified that the man was not going to die. The congregation believed these witnesses had heard from God and rejoiced. Three weeks, later the man died. Either those four “witnesses” were paying attention to a deceiving spirit, or God’s Word can’t be trusted.
Counterfeit gifts of knowledge and prophecy spoken through false prophets and deceived Christians can destroy our confidence in God. If they give us a “word from the Lord” and it doesn’t prove to be true, God can no longer be trusted. The same thing happens if we pay attention to a deceiving spirit and think it is from God. Paul says that we will fall away from the faith if we pay attention to deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (see 1 Timothy 4:1).
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