December 3: “Gaining Mastery Over the 3 Categories of Temptation”

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Chronicles 2
1 John 2
Nahum 1
Luke 17

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

1 John 2:15–16 (CSB): “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

As we read through the three categories of temptations in 1 John 2:16, we come across something that requires us to dig a little bit. Sure, we could read right over it without giving it a second thought. However, doing so would cause us to miss an incredible principle.

Before we briefly investigate those categories, though, let’s look at 1 John 2:15.

1 John 2:15 (CSB): “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The “love of the Father” is God’s paternal love for His children. It refers to the fact that someone is saved and has entered into a relationship with the Heavenly Father.

So, 1 John 2:15 warns us that if someone loves the world or the things in the world, that’s a tell-tell sign that they don’t have God’s love residing in them. They aren’t saved.

It’s not that we have to DO or NOT DO something in order to be saved. This verse is consistent with every other verse in the Bible that speaks of how we can know that we truly belong to God. In this verse, we are told that someone who truly belongs to God (they are saved) will evidence the fact that they have been born into God’s family by losing their love for the temporal, sinful world system.

So, how is a love for the world manifested? How do we know if we love the world or the things in the world? Just look at the very next verse.

1 John 2:15–16 (CSB): “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

The love of the world is manifested in three categories.

  • “the lust of the flesh”
  • “the lust of the eyes”
  • “the pride in one’s possessions”

In the following chart, I list the sin category on the far left.

Second, I give a very basic clarification of the temptation.

Third, I show how Eve, along with Adam, fell into sin by way of each of the three temptations.

Finally, I show how Jesus demonstrated that He was sinlessly perfect as He overcame each of those three categories of temptation to sin that Satan lobbed at Him. (And notice that Satan knew God’s Word but didn’t get the temptations in the order they are listed in Genesis 3 and 1 John 2. He knows God’s Words but handles it carelessly.)

List of primary temptation categories in 1 John 2:16Clarification of the temptationMankind’s yielding to the temptationJesus’ victory over the temptation
“Lust of the flesh”My body wants something that it’s not supposed to have.“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…” (Genesis 3:6)Jesus didn’t turn stones to bread so He could eat even though He was starving (Matthew 4:3-4)
“Lust of the eyes”My mind wants something that it’s not supposed to have.“So when the woman saw that the tree … was a delight to the eyes,” (Genesis 3:6)Jesus didn’t take the shortcut to His future reign over the world after viewing the impressive kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-10)
“Pride of life”My ego wants something that it’s not supposed to have.“So when the woman saw … that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,” (Genesis 3:6)Jesus didn’t think too much of Himself by presuming upon God’s watchful care (Matthew 4:5-8)
The result…“… she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6). The further result was God’s disapproval and separation from mankind.“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” (Matthew 4:11). This was a demonstration of Jesus’ sinless perfection as He would go to the cross and take our place bearing God’s punishment on our behalf.

As we place our trust in Jesus to forgive and save us, in that moment God declares us not only forgiven … He declares us righteous! Jesus takes our sin and credits us with His righteousness.

So, if we are saved, when God looks at us He sees Jesus – someone who has stood against the weight of the 3 categories of temptation and defeated them. It’s only because of Jesus that we are not found guilty of the love of the world. He has made us righteous in God’s eyes.

However, this is absolutely no excuse for allowing ourselves to experience defeat in the three temptation categories. Because we have been declared righteous, and have defeated each of the three categories of temptation because of Jesus, we need to gain the mastery over sin. We need to kill the love of the world in our hearts and act like who we are!

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, I am saved. Thank You for forgiving me and declaring me righteous. But I also pray that You would empower me to gain the mastery over sin, particularly over any sin that could be categorized as a love for the world. I want to acknowledge who I am in Your eyes and then live in such a way that I’m walking worthy of my calling. I pray this in Your Name. Amen.

Photo by Japheth Mast on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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