Chapter 12: The Temptation (Part 2)

February 1, 2007

What are we up against and how do we do this?

“That the Son of God should come to this earth as a man filled him [Satan] with amazement and with apprehension. He could not fathom the mystery of this great sacrifice. His selfish soul could not understand such love for the deceived race.” DA108

I’m guessing Satan still does not understand God’s love. Can a heart wholly given to evil fathom Love? Reguardless, it must be disconcerting to Satan that God can take up residence in our hearts. I’m sure this just burns him, and so he will do everything to taint our understanding of the Love of God.

“Since he had lost heaven, he was determined to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he would do by causing them to undervalue heavenly things, and to set the heart upon things of earth. DA108

Love of God vs. love of _________.” Things? Admiration? Feeling good? Feeling right? Entertainment? Surely, we might all fill the blank with “self.” Only continual dependence of Jesus can satisfy a heart set on heavenly things.

I am struck by the picture that Ellen goes on to paint. Satan and his council determined that Christ must fall–that none on earth can escape his power. I wonder if Satan believes the same about me?

That’s what we are up against. Here is the practical outcome:

“From the time of Adam to that of Christ, self-indulgence had increased the power of appetites and passions, until they had almost unlimited control.” DA110.

How do you think we are doing on this? This type of quote concerns me and I think to myself, “that’s why folks don’t like prophets.” But as unpleasant as it is, I know there is something there. Consider this:

“Of all the lessons to be learned from our Lord’s first great temptation none is more important than that bearing upon the control of the appetites and passions.”

“Through sensual indulgence, Satan seeks to blot from the soul every trace of likeness to God.” DA115

“Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.”

Is this good news? I think George Gainer said: “The good news is, bad news is good news.” And this is the crux of the matter: We must do it. We can’t do it. And that is good news.

“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature.” DA115-116.

Pull any of these quotations out of the greater context of Christ’s action for us and I can see why conservative seekers might become self-abasing behaviorists who distrust pleasure as intrinsically evil. Such a focus, however, is still on self. It is pinnacle in importance that Jesus weilded the Word of God as the source of his personal power over temptation. The power was not based in Himself, and it is not based in myself. The Word of God did become flesh, and man did not live by bread alone.

“When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the word. All its strength is yours. ‘Your word,’says the psalmist, ‘I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.’

I love this Word.

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One Response to “Chapter 12: The Temptation (Part 2)”

  1. Jan said

    I reread this chapter last night; what struck me was this thought: Imagine the extent of the temptation to Christ..because He was perfect, the temptations had to be ever so much more powerful than what would tempt you or I. The conflict was so horrendous, He was close to death at the end..(You will read that in the next chapter).

    Yet he waited on God, and He overcame in that wait and gained the victory for me. Already, those thoughts have sustained me when tempted. But even more so, when I read how Satan delights to find our weak points; and attack because of his hatred of God; it makes me more determined to submit to God’s power, out of love to God for what He has done.

    By the way: in the chapter about Lazarus, it talks about how when Jesus wept; those tears were because of the years of sadness and heartache man must yet indure; tears for Marty and his family; tears for those left behind to face a difficult future. I will be praying for you tomorrow that you will find the right actions to comfort.

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