Page 9 - August 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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relate His all-important responses to   separately in more detail in the future.
        temptation’s unsuccessful assaults on His   Though we will see the three for what they
        heart’s desires. The call to turn stones into   are and how they will operate distinctly,
        bread is an attempt to appeal to “the lust of   we should be clear that they don’t neces-
        the flesh”; the challenge from the pinnacle   sarily, or even usually, operate separately.
        of the temple to hurl Himself down and be   Most often, we can likely identify elements
        saved by angels is reminiscent of the pride   of two or even all three in any given temp-
        of the tempter himself, “the pride of life”;   tation that we face. The fisherman cares
        the offer of the kingdoms of the world and   not which prong or prongs of the hook
        their glory is designed to speak to “the lust   the fish bites – only that it does!
        of the eyes,” which the world promises to   Though temptation is never beyond
        indulge to the fullest. In the face of each   inciting a full-throated rebellion against
        threat, the Lord counters temptation with   God within the human heart, it usually
        relevant Scripture, teaching us that we   aims not for a blatant rejection of His
        have a higher calling and that true human
        fulfilment comes not in satisfying our own   Person but a blurred recognition of His
        desires but by pursuing God’s glory.  presence. Slowly but surely it lulls us into
                                              a condition in which “God is quite unreal
          In the parable of the Sower, the Lord
        identifies the three threats relative to the   to us, He loses all reality … Satan does not
                                              here fill us with hatred of God, but with
        reception of the good seed of the Word.                  4
        The birds which snatch away the seed   forgetfulness of God.”
        by the path are “the evil one,” the devil.   We would do well to heed the instruc-
        Though he cannot read our minds, he   tions of Paul, Peter and James: “Do not
        has access to them and is skilled at intro-  be conformed to this world, but be trans-
        ducing harmful thoughts while snatch-  formed by the renewal of your mind, that
        ing away that which is wholesome. As   by testing you may discern what is the
        seen both in Eden and in the wilderness   will of God, what is good and acceptable
        temptation, his only interest in the Word   and perfect” (Rom 12:2). “Once you had
        is to challenge and twist it for our harm.   not received mercy, but now you have
        The rocky ground heart, on which seed   received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as
        sprouts and then withers due to the lack of   sojourners and exiles to abstain from
        a root in the hearer, represents the effects   the passions of the flesh, which wage war
        of the flesh. In contrast to divine life and   against your soul” (1Pe 2:10-11). “But he
        its resulting fruit by the Holy Spirit, the   gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God
        flesh has no such life and only produces   opposes the proud but gives grace to the
        sinful works (Gal 5). Those in whom the   humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to
        thorns choke out the Word and who prove   God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from
        unfruitful are affected by the distractions   you” (Jas 4:6-7).
        of the world and the seduction of wealth.   Combatting temptation, then, has a
        The world will do all that is possible to   great deal to do with not forgetting the
        convince us that its tantalizing offerings   will, the mercy and the grace of God.
        are to be more prized than the very Word
        of God itself.                        ⁴ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall /
                                              Temptation: Two Biblical Studies (New York, NY:
          We hope to look at the three enemies   Touchstone, 1997), 132.

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