The big three

After 40 days in the wilderness praying and fasting Satan shows up to temp Jesus with food, safety and possessions (Matthew 4). None of those is inherently evil so what was the temptation?

The test was whether Jesus would take matters into His own hands and grab those three things RIGHT THEN or wait on God the Father to provide them at the appropriate time.

Jesus waited! We often don’t!

We crave and pursue all kinds of things that fall into one of those three areas; often more than we crave or pursue intimacy with our Creator. That’s when food and security and possessions become sinful. That’s why John gives us this warning…

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. ~ 1 John 3:15-17

  • Lust of the flesh… food
  • Lust of the eyes… possessions
  • Pride of life… that feeling of being invincible

All sin finds it’s roots in one of these three areas. And the real danger of sin is not merely the activity itself, but how it interupts our intimacy with God. 

Recognizing the potential danger of the big three is good but it’s not enough. We need to go on the offensive; we need to live intentionally in ways that counteract these three areas. That’s what Jesus taught in Matthew 6.

  • Verse 2 – When you give… giving is the antidote to the lust of the flesh – possessions
  • Verse 5 – When you pray… praying counteracts our pride of life because it requires humility
  • Verse 16 – When you fast… giving up food helps us confront the lust of the flesh

So let’s make it personal.

  • What will we give? Perhaps a prized possession or our time to listen better.
  • Who will we pray for? How about that person you struggle with? Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
  • What will we give up in order to spend more time with God? Food, sweets, social media, TV, shopping, gossip, complaining…?

The big three give us not only the potential problem areas but also the kinds of habits we need to pursue!



Filed under intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Lent, Money, Morphing, Prayer, Sin, Temptation

3 responses to “The big three

  1. internet elias

    Good post. Good points. Christ’s temptation was for our example…a reminder to serve ‘spirit’ rather than ‘flesh.’ Christ ‘chose’ to remain faithful to the Spirit connection in God. We have the exact same ‘choice’ every second of every day. And I’ve not been faithful in my choices. God is seriously squeezing my heart in that area. That faithfulness to following Christ is called ‘righteousness.’ But our christian traditions do not allow for committing ‘righteousness’. It basically only allows that we claim His righteouness without committing any of our own through regeneration…through being conformed into His image…through becoming ‘perfect as He is perfect’ through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Food, safety, and possessions are all the things crucially important to the ‘flesh.’ Gluttany, fear, and greed rule the All three are deadly to the soul of man. Fat-fearful-selfish professing christians are everywhere…dishonoring God in their gluttany-faithlessness-materialistic hoarding. NOW THERE’S A SCARY PICTURE. God through Isaiah equates ‘fat’ with deaf-blind-unbelief (Isaiah 6:10 discusses God’s casting-off and later restoration of the ‘remnant’).

    Again, good post. Timely.

  2. Pingback: How Can I be Intentional About Helping Others? | Leadership, Behaviors, and Success

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