We all get tempted and the lure for us to step into certain lies is always set. Whispers of distortion cause doubts and insecurity intended for our demise. Most commonly, one of two temptations attempt to degrade our identity so we will stay worried about what we can expect. It robs our faith and exhausts our soul. There is a third temptation that is different from the other two.
The three common paths of temptation are found at the point of testing. We can see them as Jesus faces them in Luke 4 and Matthew 4. He has been fasting in the wilderness when the tempter comes to challenge Him in the following ways:
- Turning a rock into bread so He can feed Himself (provide for yourself)
- Jump off of a building and call down angels to catch you (protect yourself)
- Bow down to the devil and receive authority and glory (promote yourself)
The first two are preceded with “If you are the Son of God . . . ” The question being posed is “do you know who you are and do you trust your Father?” The third temptation regarding promotion to receive authority and glory doesn’t question identity explicitly. That temptation appears to be a little different.
God is Father and Jesus has paid the price for sons and daughters to be adopted by Him. That adoption brings the benefit of protection, provision and a place. The continual temptation, even after adoption, is to forget that He is a faithful Father who will do what He says He will do. The net result is the scrambling of an orphan to do it for ourselves.
That third temptation, however, has an extra twist to it. It isn’t a question of being a son of God, it is a question with being satisfied with that place. The temptation is for more beyond sonship to become primary. It is the temptation to reject the need for the Father because you can be God all by yourself.
This third temptation is the one that cause Lucifer to fall and become Satan. It’s the temptation of the American Dream. It’s achievement to the point of no need for adoption as sons. When the first two don’t work to set a person off the course of their intended destiny, the third is intended as the nuclear option which can cause them to implode.
Each of the temptations bring a result which can appear satisfying for a season. We generally are able to provide for ourselves to some measure and protect ourselves to some degree. We can also accomplish things to a point which makes us feel capable beyond the need for God. The weight of the place that only He is intended to fill, however, eventually crushes even the seemingly strongest of people. The idol of “me” is destined for destruction.