December 20 I Thursday
“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.” —1 John 2:16
In the opening verse, we are introduced to three natural human appetites that are often areas of vulnerability. These are the same three appetites that caused Eve to give in to temptation in the Garden of Eden. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6). We see in this a pattern of satanic attack.
Firstly, Eve gave in to the lusts of the flesh. The fruit was “good for food,” which means it was good to satisfy her physical hunger. Many Christians assume the biggest lust of the flesh involves sex, but the physical lust that Scripture draws the most attention to is hunger. If the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness had been a democracy, they would have been on their way back to the land of their slavery in no time because the food was better there. Food is the most easily accessible physical appetite, and if we struggle to control that, the other lusts of the flesh can more easily follow.
Secondly, Satan appealed to the lust of the eyes with a fruit that looked pleasing. Like an advertiser who sells a product with flashy ads and attractive models, Satan appealed to the human sense of desire and greed. Thirdly, and the attitude behind Satan’s offer, was the pride of life. Pride appeals to our ego, falsely claiming we can be more and know more than God has created us to be. This was the sin that made the devil fall—“I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14)—and is what Satan tempted Eve with: “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). He offered in the fruit something he claimed God had not: independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency and the ability to make a choice beyond what God had permitted.
When our focus in any way becomes physical and egotistical, everything is never enough. Adam and Eve had everything—God’s good creation, all the food they would ever need, meaningful work, healthy companionship and intimate relationship with God—but when their focus turned to lust and pride, they wanted more. We can temporarily fulfill the lusts of the flesh, drink in the lusts of our eyes and pridefully try to make ourselves better than God, but these pursuits will ultimately leave us empty. True satisfaction, beauty and wisdom are found not in what God has given us but in our Creator Himself and our relationship with Him.
Prayer: Gracious God, You know which lusts I am tempted by most and where I struggle with pride. Help me to seek for satisfaction not in them but in You. Thank You, Lord.